More Grand Jury BS

Amplify’d from

Occupy UCI!


Carol Sobel, an NLG attorney representing the Irvine 11, has told the press that 6 Muslim students have been summoned to testify before a Grand Jury.  It is still unclear whether these 6 are part of the group of 11 that were arrested for heckling Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech at UCI on February 8, 2010, or if they are other students connected to the Muslim Student Union.

A rally outside the Orange County District Attorney’s office in Santa Ana February 1 drew about 40-50 UCI students, faculty, and alumni, and community members including Christian and Muslim religious leaders and Jewish activists.  Student organizers called on the District Attorney to end criminal proceedings against the 11, and warned that charges would set new precedents for the criminalization of dissent.

The question of whether the protest is “free speech” is moot.  Free speech at UCI is so limited that numerous campus rules must be broken to enter one’s views into the public form, and clearly any speech that challenges the dynamic and asymmetry of power on campus can result in arrest if not criminal charges.  Especially in this case, when we take into consideration the aerial assaults on Gaza, the innumerable arrests of Palestinian children, and the widespread but concealed rounding up of Israeli leftists and anti-Zionists, it is clear that the Palestinian voice is muted, while Israeli speech is hegemonic.  Not only was Michael Oren’s voice NOT silenced February 8, he is paid to speak, and he has the power to directly implement policy related to his speech without grovelling at the feet of power just to be heard.  On the other hand, for the 11–as representatives of Palestinian and Arab students at UCI, and of the Palestinian people as a whole–interrupting Oren’s speech (which, it should be reiterated, he WAS allowed to finish) was the ONLY way for their voice to be raised without a stream of bullets or extended jail sentence to follow.



~ by Vanzetti on February 4, 2011.

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