Howard Zinn High School Speech Raises Ire

School officials are being asked to justify a
recent speech given by peace activist Howard Zinn
at Newton North High School [ of Newtonville, MA ]
in which he equated the U.S. military strikes in
Afghanistan with the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks…"The terrorists of Sept. 11 did a
horrible thing to us, so we do terrible things to
the people of Afghanistan. That is immoral and
puts us on the same level as a terrorist,"
Zinn was quoted as saying in a report in the
school newspaper.

School officials are being asked to justify a
recent speech given by peace activist Howard Zinn
at Newton North High School [ of Newtonville, MA ]
in which he equated the U.S. military strikes in
Afghanistan with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


The controversial historian and former Boston
University professor stressed that the U.S.
bombing raids aimed at toppling the Taliban and
hunting down fugitive terror boss Osama bin Laden
were killing children and innocent civilians.


"The terrorists of Sept. 11 did a horrible
thing to us, so we do terrible things to the
people of Afghanistan. That is immoral and puts us
on the same level as a terrorist," Zinn was
quoted as saying in a report in the school
newspaper.


Parents questioned exposing young teens to Zinn’s
opinions.


"It’s unbelievable what this guy did,"
said Tom Mountain, a parent of three Newton
students who are not yet in high school.
"It’s horrifying. He told these things to an
entire school audience of kids 13 to 17 who don’t
know any better."


Mountain said he has disagreed with Zinn for more
than 20 years, dating back to the 1980s when
Mountain was a student at Brandeis University
rallying in support of Israel. Zinn was out of
town and could not be reached for comment,
according to his wife.


Jim Marini, Newton’s associate superintendent for
secondary schools, agreed that Zinn’s views are
"radically different" than those of most
Americans and U.S. political leaders. Still, he
defended the campus-run speakers program and said
he had not received any complaints from parents.


"I think the schools bring in speakers who
are not always non-controversial," said
Marini. "That’s what happens in the schools.
That’s what happened in this case. That’s part of
what, I suppose, education is all about."


Officials at Newton North could not be reached for
comment. A message for Newton Mayor David Cohen,
who sits on the School Committee, was not
returned.


The school paper, Newtonite, said the speech was
sponsored by the school’s Human Rights Board as
the first in a series of forums after Sept. 11.


In a "packed Lesker Auditorium" Zinn
questioned the effectiveness of the bombing
campaign.


"What happens if we do capture Osama bin
Laden? Will we be safe then?" he asked.


"The death of 6,000 New Yorkers is very real
to us," the paper quoted Zinn. "The
death of thousands of Iraqi children is not. Until
the death of children in other countries is as
real to us as the death of our children, we will
continue to have a real problem."


Zinn warned the students that war ultimately curbs
civil liberties in America.


"In a war situation there is always an
attempt to suppress free speech," the school
paper quoted Zinn. "People who disagree with
the war are looked at as unpatriotic, but in a
democracy you must think for yourself about what
is right and wrong and speak your mind."


[ also see related items:

Rabid Journalists and Pundits Push Bush to Extremes – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1575

Special: Commentary: Howard Zinn; “Unsung Heroes” – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=570

Rising Fears That What We Do Know Can Hurt Us – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1566

Burying the Lead: Democracy Denied by Jim Naureckas – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1560

Al-Jazeera TV Leads the New Arab Free Press – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1555

Civilian Casualties We’re Not Hearing About in the U.S. – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1554

Alarm Grows Over Scale of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1521

Coming This Fall … More Media Deregulation – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1546

ACTION ALERT: Op-Ed Echo Chamber: Little space for dissent to the military line – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1543

ACTION ALERT: CNN Says Focus on Civilian Casualties Would Be “Perverse” – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1541

US Buys Up All Satellite War Images – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1523

MEDIA ADVISORY: Networks Accept Government “Guidance” – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1519

One Big Happy Channel: Media Consolidation and the Homogenization of the Public Mindshare – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1398

The War in Afghanistan 101: 47 Questions and Answers – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1539 ]

Author: Ed Hayward

News Service: Boston Herald – November 20, 2001

URL: http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos07945.html