This is what I had to say at the protest against Condoleezza Rice who was invited by The University of Calgary to open its new school of public policy...
A couple of weeks ago, I began a petition asking The University of Calgary to rescind its invitation to Dr. Condoleezza Rice to be the keynote speaker at tonight's gala.
I'm happy to say that, to date, we have collected over 250 signatures online and more in hard copy. The petition was signed by faculty and students at The U of C and members of local and international communities.
The Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were launched using the rhetoric of freedoms and rights. And yet, over the past couple of weeks, I have become more aware than ever of the efforts that are made in North America to curb our freedom of speech.
Unfortunately for Dr. Mintz - the chair of the new school of public policy - we will not all be silenced.
The chair of the school of public policy - Dr. Jack Mintz - who incidentally sits on the board of Imperial Oil - celebrates Dr. Rice as "a good example of what a school of public policy can achieve."
Let us consider what the policies of the Bush administration - including those formulated and implemented by Condoleezza Rice - have achieved:
- The illegal invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan
- The deaths of over a million Iraqi people
- The worsening of violence against women in both Iraq and Afghanistan despite the sickening use of the rhetoric of women's rights that was employed by people such as Rice while at the same time the Bush administration launched an aggressive campaign to undermine the rights of women in America
- These invasions were accompanied by racist propaganda and the militarization of borders which undoubtedly heightened racism in the world - most notably Islamaphobia
- What is estimated to be a trillion dollar war has resulted in cutbacks to education, health care and other critical domestic arenas in the United States
- Finally, the Iraq invasion is considered to be one of the key contributing factors to current global economic recession
So, I would like to ask Dr. Mintz - again the chair of The U of C's new school of public policy - when you say that Rice offers a good example of what can be achieved, good for whom? Who benefits? Who loses?
I my eyes, the policies that Dr. Mintz celebrates come at the cost to millions of people including myself and all of you standing in this crowd.
I believe the news has reported that tonight's gala is a $500 plate affair. How many of us here can afford a $500 for a meal?
I think we can safely say that this public policy institute has invited local elites and plans to serve up policies in their interests while the rest of us - the majority - are left scrounging for scraps.
We are not just angry that The University of Calgary has invited a war criminal to our campus and our city. We are angry because of the underlying values of the policies that Dr. rice represents. And, be certain that academic freedom and integrity are not among them!
To use a favourite phrase of Bush and company, I say MAKE NO MISTAKE that we will not accept imperialism of any kind.
We are through with illegal invasions that secure the interests of global elites while killing millions. We will not fund invasions that take from the public coffers and leave us with crises of education, child care and housing.
And be sure that we will not settle for Imperialism Lite. We will not turn a blind eye because some administrations limit torture to the bombing of those on the streets. What is imperialist war other than mass torture and mass murder?!
Condoleezza Rice's policies are not good in any way, shape or form. Indeed, the outcomes of Dr. Rice's policies should be held up and identified as an example of the horrors that result when policy is made at the service of the military industrial complex, oil corporations and geopolitical gain.
Canada can no longer be the United State's Imperial puppet.
Canada must get out of Afghanistan.
'Contentious Condi Visits Calgary' by Katy Anderson, The Gauntlet
Online petition 'Illegal War is Not Good Policy'
Pictures of the Calgary protest of Condi's visit by local photographer Robert Thivierge