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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Courage of Ward Churchill

Ghali Hassan • 18 February 2005

I first heard of Ward Churchill in 2001 when a friend e-mailed me his essay, "'Some People Push Back': On the Justice of Roosting Chickens". It was the first time I felt that; here is an honest and courageous American. Ward Churchill is the only American who asked the question: Why have we been attacked? And his answer is: We are responsible for our crimes. Americans are not immune.

Very few scholars had the courage of Ward Churchill. He accurately relates the crimes of the US government against defenceless people like the Iraqi people to the crimes of the 9/11 attacks. Churchill has exposed US countless acts of aggression as crimes against humanity that have negative consequences for US citizens. History shows that all US crimes are perpetrated against innocent civilians of other nations.

It is true, that US foreign policy and US crimes have been supported by a large majority of US citizens. The latest US poll conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and the Ohio University reveals that 47 percent of US citizens approved of the war against the Iraqi people compared to 44 percent. In other words, US citizens bear collective responsibility for those crimes. The recent US elections result was interpreted as "endorsement" for the policy of war and terror against defenceless nations. There are no reasons for US citizens not to know that US foreign policy is plain terrorism masked as diplomacy.

Since 1990, the US and Britain have imposed 'genocidal' economic sanctions against the Iraqi people. Reliable estimates from humanitarian aid organisations and UN officials estimated that the total number of Iraqi deaths caused by the sanctions' impact on food, medicines, water treatment and other health-related factors is about 1.5 million, a third of them children under the age of 5 years. It was a deliberate mass atrocity.

The killing of more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children, and the destruction of the vibrant city of Fallujah "is terrorism, not a war on terrorism". The bombing of al-Amiriyah civilian bomb shelter in Baghdad in January 1991, and the killing of 400 identified women and children "is terrorism, not a war on terrorism". These acts of terrorism had nothing to do with "defending America" or the interests of the American peoples. It is the duty of US citizens to stop these crimes, because they are committed in their name.

It is a delusion to think only America has the right to destroy hospitals, bridges, water treatment plants, factories (including milk factories), sewage plants, electricity grids, civilian bomb shelters and every infrastructure that is vital to a functioning civil society. America has no right to destroy the only pharmaceutical plant producing vital medicines to tens of thousands of Africans. America has no right to kill in millions and pretends its action is 'humanitarian'. "America's indiscriminately lethal arrogance and psychotic sense of self-entitlement have long since given the great majority of the world's peoples ample cause to be at war with it". Of course, "some people push back", Ward Churchill is right; America has no monopoly right on war.

So, although I do not know Churchill very well, and I only read few of his vast work, I find his analysis very accurate and credible. The reason Ward Churchill was attacked and vilified is because Ward Churchill is a proud Native American. Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky made similar criticism of US foreign policy, but they have much less intense vilifications and attacks.

What is surprising are the attacks on Churchill from US leftists and pundits who found Churchill a good scapegoat. It is typical behaviour of the left ranting about free speech: They just move with the wind. Remember Christopher Hitchens? With the exception of CounterPunch , I am yet to read others who supported the right and views of Ward Churchill.

There is nothing inherently wrong with what Ward Churchill writes. He is just much more courageous and honest. Churchill tries to connect one atrocity at home, to many other atrocities somewhere else. Innocent civilians are the same whether they are Iraqis, Palestinians or Americans. Churchill is within his rights to speak his mind and should be defended.

It is sad to see the University of Colorado distances itself from Ward Churchill. The University of Colorado should be proud to have a scholar of Ward Churchill calibre, scholarship and integrity.



Ghali Hassan lives in Perth Western Australia. He can be reached at via e-mail.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

21 February 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Time to Go
Anthony McIntyre

Stand Together in Pursuit of Justice for Robert
Catherine McCartney

The Murder of Eoin Morely
Ivan Morely

Exclusion Orders
Brian Mór

The 'Gud Auld' Days
Dr John Coulter

The Courage of Ward Churchill
Ghali Hassan

Awaiting the Prisoner of Zion From Within Israel's First Circle
Mary La Rosa

18 February 2005

"Death by Suicide"
Margaret Quinn

But Will Anyone Object
Brian Mór

Seeking Justice for a Brother
Davy Adams

Perspective and Perception
Eamonn McCann

Only One Option Left, Really
Mick Hall

Trust Your Leaders!
James Connolly

A perfect 10 for Bertie's volte-face on the peace process
Anthony McIntyre

Distress vs Illness: Social Control
Sean Fleming

Double Visions Conference
Seaghan O Murchu

No More Lies



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