- Two days ago, on February 17, I delivered a keynote address
at the University of Colorado, Boulder, at the invitation of Student Advocates
for Free Expression (SAFE) and the Coalition for Palestinian Justice, briefly
co-sponsored by the local chapter of Amnesty International, glib folks
who know how to toe a smooth line - but who predictably, at the last minute,
willy-nilly, withdrew their sponsorship.
- We sallied forth, regardless! It was quite an experience
- another Zundel-First!
- Here is how this event came about:
- During the aborted and hastily restructured International
Revisionist Conference last year in Sacramento, a young CU-Boulder student,
Joshua, learned about Ernst Zundel's kidnapping and illegal incarceration
at the behest of the Canadian Holocaust Lobby and decided to do something
about it. I was contacted shortly thereafter and asked if I would speak
at an event that would highlight the importance of Freedom of Speech.
- I said I would and asked to be kept "in the loop"
as to planning speakers, preparations etc., but my request fell through
the cracks, and therefore I had nothing to do with either pre-publicity
or final choice of speakers. This turned out to be just as well, because
I thought that if controversial co-speakers were invited, who might help
or hurt Ernst's cause, I would have nothing to do with it either way. Frankly,
I did not even think that I would be permitted to speak, because ever since
I have been associated with the Zundel name, I have had my share of last-minute,
ADL-inspired cancellations - usually after I bought a flight ticket and
had my suitcase packed.
- I fully expected this to happen this time as well. I
didn't really care. It still was nice to claim I had been asked. It makes
all kinds of folks prick up their eager ears.
- Shortly thereafter, I was told that one important speaker,
described to me as a "Black Muslim" and a feature/op ed writer
of the Los Angeles Times, had agreed to accept a co-invitation to speak.
When I asked what the slant of his presentation would be, it was explained
to me that he fully understood Ernst's situation and intended to address
the foolishness of the politically untutored Arab community in not including
Ernst in their protest publications and events about secret hearings and
- That sounded promising to me. Besides, I felt a certain
writer's kinship, for once upon a time I had been a grass-green freelance
book reviewer for that huge, leftist daily paper, and two of my reviews
had even been anthologized in a separate LA Times publication. I had fond
memories of writing for that paper in my politically oblivious days, and
I certainly looked forward to meeting this man and learning more about
his take on secret trials and security certificate issues in democratic
countries always so eager to lord it over others they call derisively "dictatorships."
- Finding a third speaker turned out to be somewhat of
a problem, because of what I call the "Zundel Taint" - the fear
of rubbing shoulders with a "Nazi" and catching the effect.
I was told that more than 50 name recognition speakers had been approached,
and not one of them presumably concerned with the erosion of Freedom in
the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave could work up enough gumption
to accept the invitation.
- Now what? The date of the forum moved closer and closer
- no Speaker Number Three!
- Virtually at the last minute, fate seemed to favor us.
A huge free speech controversy had broken out on the CU-Boulder campus
involving a tenured professor by the name of Ward Churchill who had misspoken
himself in the politically incorrect vein. I had never before heard the
name, but I did a quick Google search and found out that this tenured professor
had made a rather insensitive comment in an article of his published several
years ago about the 9/11 victims being "little Eichmanns." You
can read up on the Ward Churchill controversy by yourself - just search
for his name on the Net. There is plenty of heated argument about whether
or not to censor the guy for his slur - after all, he is a tenured professor,
and a "protected minority" (American Indian?) to boot.
- Joshua went and asked him to speak - and Professor Churchill
promised he would!
- I was speechless when I heard about it. I didn't think
he could afford to add to his woes, or we to ours, by appearing in the
very same forum. As it turned out, at the last moment, the good professor
got cold feet and simply didn't show up. Phew! What a shock! And here
I thought, green ignoramus that I was, that Free Speech was an absolute!
I was all set to invite the gentleman for breakfast to give him a quick
Zundel Taint Detoxification Treatment over omelette and coffee, but no
such luck! It just shows up the magnitude of the problems we have - not
even a tenured professor, himself on the hot seat for politically incorrect
speech and loudly pleading First Amendment Rights, is willing to give
us a break!
- However, to the last minute of our scheduled forum, I
did not know that he had backed out, nor did I know that my other co-speaker,
the Black Muslim/LAT writer, was nowhere to be seen.
- Panic-stricken also, not to my great surprise, was the
local representative of Amnesty International, an overweight young girl
but with a pleasant, friendly face and the prettiest long, black curls
that I had ever seen. I asked if they were natural - they were! Further,
judged by her name and looks, I pegged her to be Jewish. Somebody introduced
us and I shook hands with her, wondering what she might say to the Zundel
demo clip and to the story I was about to tell. After a few pleasantries,
during which I shook hands with a few other students who welcomed me to
their campus, she went to her seat and sat down, looking a bit thrown off
balance. After a decent interval to give her a chance to regroup, I joined
her there and intended to have a small chat.
- Originally there had been a promise of Amnesty International
sponsorship as well as a promise of token financial support, which surprised
me, given the blatant hostility of Amnesty International/Canada who had
refused to include Ernst in their intervention program for Prisoners of
Conscience. I had been told this campus sponsorship was genuine - in fact,
their original token offer of $200 had been increased to a hefty $1,000
- and that AI would have a table with literature in one of the main student
traffic areas to help to publicize the forum. When I expressed my doubts
that they would carry through, given that the ADL thumbscrews would be
applied the moment news leaked out that I would be the speaker, I was told
this student AI representative was a "pretty level-headed girl"
- that she knew who I was, that she was thoroughly familiar with the Zundel
Case, it being controversial. Absolutely!
- Well, no such luck! I sat down next to her. She shifted
a bit and avoided my glance. But then she took a strangled breath and
told me that she had been up 'til 2 A.M. and to her great dismay had found
"such hate, such hate" (big gasp!) in cyberspace that she simply
couldn't handle it, it was too traumatizing!
- I said, "Hate? On my site?" and she said,
yes, but "not only" on my site. She had consulted "other"
websites. (Nizkor?) And there she found that Mr. Zundel had been quoted,
to her great distress and utter horror, " that Hitler was a great
man." It was too much! She had no choice but to withdraw the AI
- I looked at her and almost laughed. She so reminded
me that, several years ago, in one of the more memorable moments in the
grindingly dull Human Rights Tribunal Hearings in Toronto, the one-time
Mayor of Toronto had claimed that she had spotted Zundel "hate"
as well. When prodded by Zundel Defense Attorney, Doug Christie, to point
to the document allegedly containing "hate," she sat there with
a beet-race face and simply couldn't find it! She cut such a pitiful swath
in her desperate search that even the Zundel Defense Team felt sorry for
her! Even the judge took mercy and called a quick recess to give her time
to find the "hate" she claimed she knew she had spotted. Somewhere!
Not even a coffee break helped kick-start her memory, and when this Hate
Detector VIP of the Great City of Toronto left the witness chair, she left
behind the very clear impression that she had not even looked at anybody's
website. She had simply taken someone's word for it that there was "hate"
- So here was this girl who went by selfsame smear-sheet
"evidence," having no qualms of conscience to prejudge an innocent
- I likewise took mercy on her and told her that I merely
wished that she might want to listen carefully and then make up her mind
if Mr. Zundel really was a hateful man as claimed so fervently by all and
sundry of her tribe.
- She did do the dutiful thing. She stepped up to the
microphone, sputtered that she didn't think Ernst Zundel was a Prisoner
of Conscience, gave no clue how she had come to that conclusion, and took
a hasty exit.
- I had asked my U.S. immigration attorney, Bruce Leichty,
to be at my side as a back-up in case there would be hassle from censorship
quarters. To my great relief, he agreed. I didn't tell him this, but being
the consummate lady I am, I intended to wear a white linen suit, and in
my darker moments I could already see it spattered with rotten tomatoes
and such. Bruce's presence was a big comfort to me - just knowing that
he was there. I didn't know what to expect, and I thought I might need
legal help if worst came to worst, as often it does where Revisionists
- After Joshua spoke a few opening words, Bruce Leichty
stepped forward and graciously introduced to one of the biggest state university
campuses in the entire country a large-screen 14 minute demo of our Zundel
documentary-to-be. The screen lit up. A truly historical moment!
- There was stunned silence after the 14 minutes were over.
The kids just sat there, not saying a word. Nobody stomped out of the
chapel in protest. There were no hoots, no catcalls, no spitballs, no
JDL punks throwing eggs at their favorite targets of hate. Just silence.
- Then I stepped up to the podium and started to speak.
I was amazed at the calm in my heart. I felt no hostile vibes at all
from the audience. This is something that every professional speaker intuitively
feels - whether an audience is "with us or against us." This
young audience was "with us" - they were eager to learn something
- It was easy to address them, and I felt that I did well.
I recounted simple vignettes from the long and bitter struggle that led
to several "Great Holocaust Trials" because the Canadian Holocaust
Lobby had targeted Ernst, wouldn't leave him alone, hated his truth campaign,
hated his gutsy energy - just plain all-around hated his guts. I told
how again and again they had tormented him in various open terror campaigns,
unleashed even arson on him - and when I told of the murderous complicity
of CSIS, the very spy agency that now keeps him in chains with secret evidence
he can't inspect and faceless witnesses he can't dispute, you could have
heard the proverbial pin drop in that audience.
- As I spoke, I kept the Amnesty International girl in
the corner of my eye. She stayed to the end of our program, which oddly
even touched me because I knew that she would learn a thing or two and
think about some principles such as Free Speech, allegedly championed by
outfits such as AI that batten on taxpayers' largesse. She even had a
question afterwards, asking why Ernst had taken up his Cause against the
Holocaust - the answer to which she should have been able to deduce, after
I had spoken of the many years of vicious persecution at the hands of his
Jewish opponents. She spoke so softly that I had to ask twice just what
it was that she wanted to know. I then told her that through more than
half a century's worth of incessant Holocaust anti-German hate campaigns
via media and in schools, not only grown-ups felt abused - even young German-descent
children were being abused. German-Canadian parents, I told her, had sought
out Ernst Zundel, then a young ethnic activist speaking up for his demonized
people. It was the vicious hate of his opponents that make him start investigating
the so-called Holocaust - and did not find it to be what it purported to
- I ended my presentation by throwing out an activist's
idea to the kids. While on the plane to Colorado, thinking how I might
involve the youngsters in the audience in the campaign to free my love,
I had come upon a plan. There is on one hand, so I reasoned, the widely
lauded liberal hero named Martin Luther King who, once maligned, had fought
so bitterly for his own kin - and on the other hand, there is the still
maligned Ernst Zundel who still fights for his people. What is the difference,
I would ask, between the ethnic persecution then - and now?
- I didn't say it quite as well as I can formulate it now,
but I believe I said enough. "How would it be," I asked the
youngsters in so many words, "if I were to charter a bus, load some
of you up on that bus and take you on a Freedom Ride to Canada?" This
could be, with a little work and dedication, become a ready-made analogy
to the Selma Freedom Riders almost two generations ago. These kids who
might not even have been born when Ernst fought his first Holocaust Trial,
might see this as their chance to become today's Freedom Riders. Only this
time they would be heading North instead of South. Was that a good idea?
- When I was finished, their was a pleasantly hearty applause
- not the kind of applause I was accustomed to as a professional convention
speaker before I knew Ernst Zundel, but still - there was genuine, respectful
applause. Nobody fainted or turned into a frog. I believe that I touched
many young hearts.
- Our documentary film maker was there and taped the entire
event. He, too, spoke a few words and told about the stresses of working
in his censored industry on a politically incorrect film. The program
was further enhanced by a brief synopsis of the Zundel Case by my talented,
hard-working immigration attorney. Bruce explained the difficulties from
a legal point of view at a time where a government can seize, deport, and
imprison anyone - without accountability. This was followed by a short
speech by a local attorney, whose name escapes me now, who specializes
in Constitutional Law. Then followed a Q/A period during which the questions,
almost exclusively, dealt with the Patriot Act and its destructive impact
on the erosion of Freedom of Speech.
- I am very pleased with the outcome of this event held
in the Old Main Chapel, CU Boulder Campus, and want to thank the CU-Boulder
students who didn't look over their shoulder, who stuck out their necks
and worked very hard to show that, as far as they are concerned, freedom
of speech IS freedom of speech - "indivisible", so they assume,
"with liberty and justice for all!"