Wednesday, October 31, 2007

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TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: My conversation with Ward Churchill

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Ward Churchill
is often described as being controversial and confrontational. He’s also often described as accomplished and brilliant. Although his commentaries and speeches are nuanced, historically detailed and requiring sober reflection, audiences not ready for them often react with emotion and even invective.


Churchill is a prolific writer and scholar. He’s been co-director of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, Vice Chairperson of the American Anti-Defamation Council, and a National Spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. Churchill, who is of Creek/Cherokee extraction, describes himself as an American Indian. He was an associate professor of American Indian Studies and Communications at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Until he was recently forced to resign from the position, he had served as Associate Director of the Center for Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America at U.C. Boulder.
Churchill resigned following a media firestorm led by right-wing stormtroopers such as Bill O’Reilly of the FOX network, after a post-911 essay Churchill had penned returned to light. In that piece, Churchill compared the World Trade Centre-housed technocrats who managed the US imperial economy to Adolph Eichmann. Eichmann was the operations manager whose mastery of logistics sent millions to their deaths in Nazi slave camps.

Hannah Arendt, who interviewed Eichmann, concluded the mass-murderer was in fact not much of an anti-Semite, but rather a diligent worker entirely divorced from human feeling or reflection upon the horror of his actions. Arendt coined the expression “the banality of evil” to discuss such behaviour and mind-set. By referring to American technocrats as little Eichmanns, Ward Churchill drew a connection to modern evil banality which has sent millions to their deaths. Yet Churchill was accused of having slandered all 911 victims—regardless of their work at the World Trade Centre--as being equivalent to Nazis.

Churchill’s supporters have not stopped fighting, and neither has he; he may indeed return to his position at his former university. As well, his student supporters organised in September a lecture series provided for free by Churchill as a type of non-credit course.

Ward Churchill is the author of many books, including:

A Little Matter of Genocide – Holocaust and Denial in the Americas – 1492 to Present

Pacifism as Pathology - Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America,

Islands in Captivity - The Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States Government,

and with Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression - The FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement.

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