Thursday, February 24, 2011

Banned in Vancouver?

On March 3, 2009, the president of the University of British Columbia felt compelled to send out the following letter (pdf) to the university community:

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

UBC logo6328 Memorial Road
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z2

Telephone (604) 822-8300
Fax (604) 822-5055

Professor Stephen J. Toope
President and Vice-Chancellor

Respectful Debate
3 March 2009

From: Stephen J. Toope
  President and Vice Chancellor
   
To: Members of the UBC Community:

As a globally influential university, UBC is not, nor could it be, immune from conflicts half a world away, These conflicts are both a reminder of the rare peace we enjoy in Canada and a challenge to community values of respect for human dignity and the special place of free expression that universities protect.

When these external conflicts threaten to divide our own community, we need to pay special attention to the rules that govern our conduct as members of the university and as citizens or residents of Canada.

This week a segment of UBC’s student population has planned events that are being publicized in a manner offensive to another segment. While the locus of attention of these events is the political situation in the Middle East, the means of publicity at UBC and other Canadian universities has created a chilling impact for some members of our own community.

As a university community, we place a paramount value on the free and lawful expression of ideas and viewpoints, As scholars, we believe that discussion across boundaries and across pre-conceptions is a necessary condition for the resolution of even the most intractable conflicts. At the same time, we are a community that values respect for all others, even those with whom we disagree fundamentally.

For a university, anything that detracts from the free expression of ideas is just not acceptable. Robust debate can scarcely occur, for example, when some members of the community are made to feel personally attacked, not for their ideas but for their very identity. When this happens, university disciplinary policies come into play, and there may be recourse to provincial human rights and federal anti-hate legislation,

Forms of speech should not be banned simply on the grounds that they are “offensive,” but if the speech is designed to preclude any speech in response, if it amounts to a threat against a person or an identifiable group, then a line will have been crossed.

As we navigate the shoals of political conflict, I call upon each and every member of our community to display the reason, generosity of spirit and forebearance that must define debate within the University of British Columbia. If these values are threatened, the university will take all necessary action to defend our community life.

When a university president in Canada warns his students that their free speech may have to be abridged, you know that a member of a particularly reviled group has been invited to appear on campus — an Israeli cabinet minister, say, or an American conservative, or an advocate for democracy in Iran, or perhaps an opponent of abortion.

This is what I call the “Free Speech, However…” Syndrome, and it is not confined to Canadian universities. It is endemic across the entire West, in schools, universities, the media, and in general public discourse. The rationale for the syndrome runs something like this:

A university (or school, or news service, or corporation) is a place in which the free market of ideas is crucial. Our society is enriched by the expression of diverse viewpoints, even controversial ones.

HOWEVER…

Expressions that veer into hate speech or tend to exclude will not be tolerated. Opinions which are hateful, and thus will not be permitted, include:

  • Opposition to Multiculturalism
  • Objections to gay marriage
  • Denial that anthropogenic climate change is significant
  • Opposition to abortion
  • Assertion of biological differences between the sexes (or among “genders”)
  • Investigation of biological differences among different ethnic groups
  • Expressions of patriotism and national pride
  • Criticism of Islam
  • Support for the State of Israel

And so on and so forth.

Included in the forbidden categories of speech is any questioning of the received narrative on what happened in Srebrenica in 1995. If you question the Bosniak take on what happened, doubt that a genocide occurred, or point to the evidence of a propaganda hoax by Bosnian Muslims, you are beyond the pale.

With Srebrenica in mind, President Toope’s formula for “respectful debate” was dusted off in anticipation of an event scheduled to take place today on the campus of UBC Vancouver. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, a Serbian-American historian and author, was invited to speak by the Serbian Students Association. This would not do, not at all, at least according to a group known as the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada, which finds “revisionism” on Srebrenica to be completely unacceptable.

Here’s what the IRGC website had to say last week:
The protest letter of the IRGC to the President of the of the University of British Columbia

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011.

Office of the President
The University of British Columbia
6328 Memorial Road [map]
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2
Fax: 604.822.5055
E-mail: presidents.office@ubc.ca

Dear Professor Stephen J. Toope

The Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada {IRGC} was informed that Srdja Trifkovic, a Serbian-American ‘scholar’, will be holding a lecture on Thursday February 24th at 5pm at the University of British Columbia. It is organized by the Serbian Students Association.

IRGC is shocked that the University of British Columbia would allow Srdjan [sic] Trifkovic, who has repeatedly and openly denied the Srebrenica genocide to speak at this respectable academic institution. A historical revisionist like Trifkovic should not be allowed to lecture in an academic context. His version of events in the Balkans is inaccurate (as proven by his denial of the Srebrenica genocide) and the Serbian Students’ Association should not be allowed to pass him off as a reliable source.

Denial of genocide is widely considered to constitute a form of racist hate propaganda that is incompatible with Canadian values. Recently, the Parliament of Canada has recognized the Bosnian Genocide that took place in the enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.

[…]

The Srebrenica Genocide is not a matter of opinion; it is a judicial fact recognized first by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.

IRGC calls on all Canadians, friends of truth and justice to protest against Trifkovic’s lecture at the University of British Columbia.

IRGC will send a request to the Canadian Parliament and Government to ban Trifkovic’s lecture.

On behalf of more than 50.000 Canadians of Bosnian origin, some of whom are victims of the Bosnian genocide and almost all of whom are victims of the war, the IRGC implores you to prevent this lecture from taking place at your University.

Professor Emir Ramic
President of the Congress of North American Bosniaks, Canadian Branch
Director of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada
emir.ramic@instituteforgenocide.ca
7. Southside Place, Unit 6
Hamilton, Ontario, L9C 7W6
905 385 3606

As you can see from its website, the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada, despite its token inclusion of the Holocaust, is really only interested in a single “genocide”: the one that the politically correct histories of Yugoslavia have assigned to the Bosnian Serbs with the Bosnian Muslims as victims. No re-examination of what happened in Bosnia during those years is acceptable. The history of the period is now considered as “settled” as the science of global warming.

James Bissett at the the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies had this to say about the incident:

“The Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada”: Genocide Deniers, Hypocrites, Character Assassins
By James Bissett

A Bosnian-Muslim propaganda front, calling itself The Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada, has tried to have Dr. Srdja Trifkovic “banned” (South African Apartheid-style) from speaking at the University of British Columbia next Thursday, February 24. What is outrageous is that, over the years, the “Institute” has indulged in World War Two genocide denial of the sort that would make David Duke blush. It has also attempted to blacken the reputation of one of Canada’s most highly respected soldiers, and to make patently false claims about its standing in the “Bosnian-Canadian” community.

Genocide Denial — Before the “Institute’s” director, Emir Ramić, and his cohorts remove the incriminating material, please take a look at their featured article “Examination of Serbian Deaths in Jasenovac Camp” — a nauseating piece of Holocaust denial — and then contrast it with an authoritative source, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Contrast the “Institute’s” hate-filled ravings with the entry on “Jasenovac” by Menachem Shelach, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, 1990, p. 739, which says, “Some six hundred thousand people were murdered at Jasenovac.” The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team estimated “that close to 600,000 … mostly Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, were murdered at Jasenovac.”

“A historical revisionist like Trifkovic should not be allowed to lecture in an academic context,” says the “Institute.” This is the moral and intellectual equivalent of David Irving demanding measures against the Yad Vashem Center (at which Dr. Trifkovic, incidentally, delivered the keynote speech at a symposium on the Holocaust in Yugoslavia in June 2006). Historical evidence clearly suggests that the magnitude of the crimes that were committed at the Jasenovac death camp during the Second World War exceed anything that happened at Srebrenica in 1995 by not less than thirtyfold. In nature those crimes were unspeakably more gruesome.

Selective Memory — What happened to the Armenians during the First World War constitutes a genuine case of “genocide,” unlike what happened to any one side during the Bosnian war of 1992-95. Nevertheless, I am not aware of the “Institute” seeking to ban or castigate as “genocide deniers” those Turkish government officials — meaning ALL Turkish government officials, from Prime Minister Erdogan and foreign minister Davutoglu downward — who are adamant that what happened to the Armenians is NOT a genocide.

Character Assassination — An indication of the lengths this disreputable organization will go to misrepresent the facts and slander the name of anyone who might take a different (i.e. more objective) view of the events that took place in Bosnia in the early 1990s is the item posted on their web site on December 26, 2010, entitled “The Shocking Account by Raped Bosniak Women and Criminal Undertakings of Lt. General (Ret.) Lewis Mackenzie.”

During the war in Bosnia, the Muslim leadership in Sarajevo became furious when General Mackenzie — who was representing the United Nations — was not deceived (as many journalists were) by the blatant propaganda generated by the Muslim side and by his insistence at remaining impartial. In an attempt to have him replaced, the Muslims concocted false charges of rape and misconduct against him. These charges were so obviously fabricated they were summarily dismissed by responsible authorities. As the general was able to prove, he was not even in Bosnia when many of the alleged offences took place.

Despite the facts, the “Genocide Institute” continues to slander the good name of General Mackenzie. Its web site contains a long list of so-called rape victims who relate in lurid detail how they were raped — sometimes seven or eight times — by the Canadian officer. They even claim that during some of these rapes the general was “protected” — not by UN troops but by heavily armed “Chetniks.” The stories are so obviously fabricated that to those who know the General personally — as I do — can only wonder at the seriously psychotic nature of individuals who would repeat these lunatic charges.

Misrepresentation — Outrageously, Emir Ramic purports to speak “on behalf of more than 50.000 Canadians of Bosnian origin” when demanding a “ban” on Trifkovic. Bosnia is primarily a geographic term, and people of “Bosnian origin” are in fact Serbs, Croats, or Muslims (who have taken to calling themselves “Bosniaks” in the 1990’s). Statistically, of those 50,000 Canadians some 22,000 are Muslims, 17,000 Serbs, and 9,000 Croats. It is to be hoped that the Bosnian-Muslim community in Canada has enough common sense not to allow Mr. Ramic to claim to speak on its behalf. As for the Serbs and Croats, the claim is patently preposterous. It is the equivalent of the IRA claiming to speak on behalf of all Northern Irishmen, Protestants included. It is the equivalent of Hezbollah claiming the authority to represent all people of “Lebanese origin,” Christians and Druze included.

Hypocrisy — When it suits its peculiar agenda, the “Institute” wants to promote the decisions of international bodies, such as The Hague Tribunal (ICTY), as sacrosanct and final: after the Tribunal’s verdict is pronounced, for instance on Srebrenica, no debate is allowed — the issue is no longer a matter of opinion. At the same time, its activists demand the revision of the 1995 Dayton Accords and in particular they clamor for the abolition of the Republika Srpska established under Dayton. This demand is in clear contravention of a key political decision of the highest international body of them all, the United Nations… the body which is the founder of The Hague Tribunal itself. A subsidiary is to be kowtowed to unthinkingly, but its originator is to be defied, as it suits the political needs of the “Institute” and its abettors.

As for the University of British Columbia, let me note that the UBC powers-that-be have not responded directly to the call for Trifkovic’s “ban,” but rather by re-circulating the 2009 “Respectful Debate” memorandum to students and staff by the University President, Professor Stephen Toope. Written in the context of the controversy surrounding an event related to the Middle East, it reiterated the University’s respect for free speech and its demand for respect for opposing viewpoints. Only indirectly does it address the attempt of one group to prevent another from articulating its views, thus thwarting “discussion across boundaries and across preconceptions” that Professor Toope asserted the UBC favours.

Personally, I would have preferred a more specific answer to this issue. The reaction to a specific wrong should include, but should not be limited to, a blanket condemnation of all similar wrongs. Pope Pius XII has been criticised, rightly, for using oblique and indirect language to condemn real and present wrongs. While not of the same order of moral magnitude, the reaction by USB authorities is not qualitatively different.

Just a Coincidence? — Let it be noted that the “Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada” uses for itself the acronym “IRGC.” That acronym is more commonly associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. While conceivably accidental, the coincidence is not altogether inapt.

The last I heard, Dr. Trifkovic was still scheduled to speak at UBC today. Stay tuned for further reports.

10 comments:

Zenster said...

Per President Troope: At the same time, we are a community that values respect for all others, even those with whom we disagree fundamentally.

Even to the extent of showing regard for those who hold absolutely no respect for your own rights and views?

This horse manure of according Islam all due respect when it routinely withholds even the most basic courtesies has got to stop.

Reciprocity!

babs said...

Assertion of biological differences between the sexes (or among “genders”)

I am the mother of two boys. I was a member of a babysitting co-op. I was amazed by the difference of behavior between the two sexes while in my care. The males were constantly engaged in fighting games while the females engaged in passive persutes. Not a session went by that one of the males went home bleeding while the females drew crayon pictures of their families and were very happy to see them again...
The very idea that male and female children are the same is such hogwash that it defies the imagination...
I came to the conclusion that all the "experts" on the subject had never actually spent time with male and female children!

Kevin Stroup said...

In America we sue them for violating our civil rights. In every case that has been brought to court, the university lost. Every. Single. Time. Start making them explain their hypocracy. Better yet, let your lawyer make them explain.

Gray Falcon said...

I just got word that Dr. Trifkovic was turned back from the border. He wasn't even allowed to enter Canada!

The government's explanation:

‎"Inadmissible on grounds of violating human or international rights for being a prescribed senior official in the service of a government that, in the opinion of the minister, engages or has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity within the meaning of subseqctions 6 (3) to (5) of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act."

Polymath said...

What does Trifkovic say about Srebrenica? I found an article attributed to him herewhich was disappointingly incoherent and shifty. I am prepared to believe that the "massacre" was propaganda but Trifkovic, who in other writings is quite clear, does not impress here.

sheik yer'mami said...

We are so screwed.

Here's the Christian Serbs driven out of their own country by Mohammedan murderers from all over the world, who then impose several Narco- jihad fiefdoms that serves as a bridgehead for the conquest of Europe, and the PC brigades don't allow the truth, or even the faintest doubt on their version of events.

In the years to come we will really see the blood flow in the streets of Europe....

War Blogger said...

As a university community, we place a paramount value on the free and lawful expression of ideas and viewpoints, As scholars, we believe that discussion across boundaries and across pre-conceptions is a necessary condition for the resolution of even the most intractable conflicts. At the same time, we are a community that values respect for all others, even those with whom we disagree fundamentally.

Going by the list posted beneath that statement the margin for debate seems to be rather narrow at THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA. What a bunch of crooks and liars: "You can debate whatever you want, unless the topic is actually meaningful!"

Gray Falcon said...

Polymath, that text is a transcript of a radio interview, so I wouldn't consider it an exemplar of Srdja's writing. But the salient points are there: the official account is filled with internal contradictions, based on testimonies proven to have been false (see "Crown Witness"). Even if the Bosnian Serb army rounded up and shot 8,000 people (which it did not), that would properly be called a massacre; genocide, it is not.

Of course, anyone who says this gets demonized by the Muslims and their allies in the West. I wasn't surprised when I was targeted for demonization, but Srdja is a much more prominent public figure, and that this is happening to him suggests either that the Muslim lobby has grown very influential indeed, or that their appeasers are pulling out all the stops. Or both.

Hesperado said...

Grey Falcon:

"...that this is happening to him suggests either that the Muslim lobby has grown very influential indeed, or that their appeasers are pulling out all the stops. Or both."

You are neglecting to notice just askance of your peripheral vision the massive sociopolitical phenomenon surrounding us on all sides -- the mainstream dominance of PC MC throughout the entire West, from Australia to Europe to the UK to North America. Were PC MC not dominantly mainstream throughout the West, including in its embrace both conservatives and liberals (and the rather large swath of comfortably apolitical bourgeois), the Muslim lobby would have far less traction -- if any at all -- to peddle its apologism.

Homophobic Horse said...

Here is documentary proof of how the Serbs killed the dinosaurs: Here.

Message to lurkers: Notwithstanding efforts to re-write history, you fought dirty and you still lost.