:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 ::

Bringing Out The Crazies

So yesterday there was a peaceful protest against the Muhammad cartoons and other assorted expressions of Islamophobia and, surprise, surprise, some Islamophobics showed up.
In addition to the crowd of supporters there were neutral University administrators who refused to comment and outspoken protesters against the demonstration.

Leo Buchignani, senior in Communications, acting privately, read from the Quran translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, "The Sword of the Prophet" by Serge Trifkovic and "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam" by Robert Spencer, projecting loudly from the patio to be heard over the speakers.

"A bunch of people gathered to protest against free expression of the truth about Islam," Buchignani said, who said he had been extensively researching Islam. "So I arrived to express the truth about Islam, lest otherwise people think the Muslims were right, and nobody dared contradict them."
Alright, let's get this straight, people. Leo Buchignani is the Editor-in-Chief of the campus right-wing hate rag, the Orange and Blue Observer, the exact same person who, through that publication, has organized gun raffles (one of which was a handgun raffle restricted to women and gays), anti-affirmitive action rallies, and the farce that was "Conservative Coming Out Day." Nothing that Leo does publicly is "acting privately." He just didn't want his publication's name out in the "respectible" media so that regular people associate his vileness with the filth and nonsense that is published in the OBO. I would also wonder where Leo gets off saying he knows the truth about Islam, but that'd require me to believe that Leo would know the truth if it hit him upside the head with a 2x4, which I don't.

But wait, there's more!
Buchignani was joined by friend Marcin Kulis, junior in LAS, who held up a blown-up cartoon of Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.
Can we say, "Inciting to riot," ladies and gentlemen? While the protesters were nice people who behaved themselves, getting people upset was surely the aim of this particular stunt. Continuing on:
Kulis said the best way to protest was showing the cartoons, and he chose the particular one because it was the specific cartoon that Muslims worldwide took offense to.

"Muslims are trying to intimidate us into not expressing our natural rights," Kulis said. "That is why the New York Times and the Washington Post decided not to publish the articles, because the reaction worldwide has been so extreme, even deadly, that they have silenced our presses. As long as I live, I will never be silenced."
Kulis, who is also on staff at the Orange and Blue Observer (see, I'm not just barking up a tree here), seems to think its his "natural right" to hurt "libruls," "brown people," or anyone else who isn't the unnatural offspring of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. As my few readers should well know by now, my stance is that "just because you can" is never a good enough reason to do something that is guranteed to hurt people - but hurting people is what the OBO is about. That publication, and the actions associated with it, are not intended to engage in a greater dialogue, convince mass numbers of people of the worthiness of the extremist right's cause, or to even accurately represent reality. Instead, the Orange and Blue Observer exists as a publication and political organization to do two things: the rag itself supports and reinforces the viewpoints of those in the far-right while the political actions and the general outrage they cause reinforce the pariah status the OBO has among those who travel in such circles.

Does this mean that the OBO should be ignored? Definitely not, especially due to its first aim - reinforcing the far-right viewpoint. How, then, should we deal with it? Confronting the OBO's editors with equal levels of hate doesn't work - anyone who does so lowers themselves to the OBO's level, which is what they want. Instead, I think the watergun raffle offers an instructive example - the OBO and its viewpoint wasn't directly opposed. Instead, it was belittled. The watergun raffle demonstrated that the whacko-emperor has no clothes and gave him some major shrinkage to boot. I'm not sure how to belittle the OBO's actions in this instance, but it needs to be done. I'm sure someone out there could figure it out.

:: The Squire 1:31 PM :: email this post :: ::


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