A University of California at Berkeley lecturer speaking at an anti-war rally Saturday called for a Palestinian-style intifada, or uprising, against the United States in response to American actions in the Middle East.
Hatem Bazian, a native Palestinian with a Ph.D. in Islamic studies, stirred up the San Francisco crowd, asking three times, to resounding affirmations, “Are you angry?”
U.C. Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian
An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people attended the “emergency” action organized by the radical anti-war group International A.N.S.W.E.R. in response to the increased fighting in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
The International A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition is an umbrella group tied to the World Workers Party, a Marxist organization that supports authoritarian regimes and communist dictatorships.
The lecturer in Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies and Ethnic Studies Departments continued:
“Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?
Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream … giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we’re sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.
And we know every – They’re gonna say some Palestinian being too radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”
On his website, Bazian says he teaches courses on Islam, Islamic law, Sufisim, Arabic, and politics of the Middle East at U.C. Berkeley as well as at San Francisco State University, Berkeley Graduate Theological Union and Diablo Valley College.
He also provides “guidance to the community on issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims in the Bay Area.”
Bazim, his website says, was chairman of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate Assembly and from 1995-1999 was coordinator of the Graduate Minority Students Project of the Graduate Assembly, “through which he spearheaded statewide efforts to defeat proposition 209,” which sought to eliminate affirmative action programs in California.
He is co-host and assistant producer of the radio program “Islam Today” in the Bay Area and was a translation consultant for the San Francisco Chronicle on stories relating to Islam, Muslims and world politics.
Vietnam will be ‘child’s play’
At the rally Saturday, Bazian said the Vietnam War will be regarded as “child’s play” compared to the U.S. experience in Iraq:
“And the people in Iraq understand who’s the foreigner in the country. It’s not the Arabs who are coming to help. Even if more Arabs who come to help, they understand who’s helping and who’s opposing them. The – it took the British three years to unite the Iraqis against them. And it took less than a year for the – for the Bush administration to unite all the Iraqis. And they need to understand: what took place in Vietnam will be child’s play to what will take place in Iraq … .”
A Berkeley student at the rally expressed support for Iraqi attacks on U.S. troops, charging “the occupation is a source of tremendous violence against Iraqis.”
“In light of that, you know, I think we’ve got to support the resistance; we’ve got to say that we support attacks against the occupying forces,” he said. ‘So I mean – and you can imagine what kind of an inspiring thing that is for people in Palestine, for people in Bolivia, for people in Argentina, Colombia, all over the world, facing down the barrel of a US-supplied gun. Seeing the people of Iraq fight back, that’s what we need.”
An unidentified speaker encouraged attacks on U.S. troops worldwide:
“We stand here – we stand here recognizing that the war on Iraq is illegal, that the war on Iraq is illegal, and that resistance, that resistance against this war is protected by international law. It is legitimate, and that we – and we in this movement support the resistance against American imperialism by any means necessary.”
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