Thursday, March 15, 2007

Erasing History, One Objection at a Time

Does objecting to history because it hurts your feelings make it go away?

The University of Leeds was accused of infringing free speech last night when it cancelled a lecture on 'Islamic anti-Semitism' by a German academic.

Matthias Kontzel arrived at the university yesterday morning to begin a three-day programme of lectures and seminars, but was told that it had been called off on 'security grounds'.
For security grounds, read "insecurity grounds." Namely, the fact that some Muslims can't deal with the free discussion of history. And some academics in the west seem eager to pander to their every insecurity.

Dr Kontzel ... said: 'I have lectured in lots of countries on this subject. I gave the same talk at Yale University recently, and this is the first time I have been invited to lecture in the UK. Nothing like this has ever happened before – this is censorship.

'It is a controversial area but I am accustomed to debate. I value the integrity of academic debate and I feel that it really is in danger here. This is a very important subject and if you cannot address it on university property, then what is a university for?'
What is a university for?

Why, to pander to feelings, of course.
Dr Kontzel ... said that he had been shown two e-mails that had been received, which objected to his lecture.

One, apparently written by a student, said: 'As a Muslim and an Arab this has come to me as a great shock. The only intention that you have for doing this is to increase hatred as I clearly regard it as an open racist attack.'

Ahmed Sawalem, president of the university's student Islamic Society, confirmed that he had contacted the office of Professor Michael Arthur, the Vice-Chancellor, to register an official complaint.

'The title of the talk is provocative and I have searched the internet to read his writings and they are not very pleasant,' Mr Sawalem said. “We are not opposed to freedom of expression. We just sent a complaint, we did not ask for the talk to be cancelled.”
No, but don't be shy there. You are delighted at your victory. And at how easy it was to impose your will and your ideology on the the Dhimmi Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University to sway him to do your bidding simply at the drop of the word racism.

Sad times for the academic world. What is academic freedom if not to resist this?

Or was there someone behind this decision who was delighted to suppress the lecture and hid his actions by claiming it was the result of bureacracy?

Here is the lecture that Professor Kontzel was going to present.

UPDATE: Other articles by Kuntzel can be found here.

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