On Monday evening the Muslim Student Union of UC Irvine culminated its Islam Awareness Week with a speaking appearance by UCI Professor of Film and Media Sohail Daulatzai. His topic was the life of Malcolm X, who is Daulatzai's ultimate hero. It was an hour and a half of a sickening trashing of America by a man who came to this country as a boy from Pakistan. This was the second time I have listened to this man tear apart this country. It is not pleasant listening, but like the previous time in May 2013, I felt it was important to attend, videotape it, and report it. Of course, as always, the MSU tried to prevent me from filming. However, I politely asserted my rights and filmed it anyway.
Prior to the event, I contacted the campus police and advised them I was attending the event. Over the past year, I had been assured by the UCIPD that I had every right to videotape, that they had been in error last year when they prevented me from videotaping a speech per the request of the MSU, and that all student organizations had been advised of the videotaping policy at UCI.
Nevertheless, as Daulatzai was being introduced to the sparse crowd of about 35 MSU students, the young lady moderator announced that recording was not allowed and anyone attempting to record would be asked to leave. I promptly raised my hand and politely informed her that this was a public event and that the right to film was absolute and had been affirmed to me by the campus police with whom I had just(again) consulted. The event began and I commenced to record. If the video shows the back of a head of a student in front of me that's because the young man sat in front of me in an attempt to obstruct my view. He only partially succeeded. However, it is the audio-the words- that matter.
About 30-40 minutes later, a young MSU student approached me and politely asked me to cease recording. I once again explained my right to film and showed him a brochure with the UCI policy that allowed the public to videotape as long as it was in compliance with UCI policy 900.30, of which I also had a copy. The young man said that section 900.30 had a portion which allowed the sponsoring organization to ban videotaping. (If that is in there, I sure can't find it.) At any rate, I politely suggested that he consult with the UCIPD and that if a campus police officer instructed me not to film, I would cease. He agreed and left. No campus police officer ever came into the room. I continued to film assuming that the UCIPD had explained the policy to him. As stated, I have been advised by UCIPD that all student organizations have been advised of the UCI videotaping policy. Either the MSU didn't get the memo or they tried to get around it. On Tuesday, I contacted the UCIPD and related the events. They responded that they would reach out to the MSU.
It is hard to summarize what Daalatzai said over the course of 90 minutes (including q and a) because he rambles on all over the place. He also has a very noticeable verbal tic, in which he ends his sentences with "right?" In 90 minutes, he must have done it over 500 times. He is also a boring speaker in spite of the nasty things he says about this country.
At any rate, Daulatzai took his audience through the life of Malcolm X interspersed with three video clips of Malcolm's public utterances. Here are some notable things Daulatzai had to say: (I will be paraphrasing, but the video is there.)
He said that Martin Luther King was about to leave the civil rights movement when he was assassinated because he had given up on America. He had reportedly stated at some point that he was afraid they were "integrating into Hell". Daulatzai also seemed to imply a connection between King's coming out against the Viet Nam war and his assassination.
Daulatzai spoke of an understanding between civil rights leaders and the government during the Cold War in that they (civil rights leaders) would support the Cold War in exchange for civil rights reforms for American blacks.
He also claimed that Patrice Lamumba, the Congolese leader who was ousted from power and executed in 1961, was murdered and cut into pieces by the CIA. Did you know that?
"Yeh, I did."
Well, perhaps, but even Wikipedia has a more sober account.
Of course, there were the requisite references to Ferguson, Chapel Hill, Eric Garner et al. As to Chapel Hill, Daulatzai proclaimed the murders of three Muslim students as a hate crime. Did you know that?
"Yeh, I did."
He must have an inside source with the police investigating the case.
In reply to a question on how different (ethnic) parts of the Muslim community could come together, Daulatzai again rambled all over the place. He started talking about Iraq!! He talked about how our military killed ("by conservative estimates") 500,000 Iraqis. He quoted other estimates that said 1.2 to 1.3 million Iraqis were killed by our military. Of course he did not qualify that by saying anything about the number of Iraqi troops or later insurgents who were killed in battle, nor did he say anything about Iraqis killed by post-invasion insurgents. The impression left is that the US military killed 500,000-1.3 million Iraqis- period.
I wasn't going to ask any questions during the q and a, but toward the end, he invited comments, so I raised my hand twice. Of course, I was ignored. Here is what I would have said:
"I am old enough to remember Malcolm X and recall when he was assassinated. Malcolm was killed by the Nation of Islam on the orders of Elijah Mohammad because he (Malcolm) had left the NoI, had publicly criticized it and was exposing the corruption and sexual abuses of Elijah Mohammad. (Daulatzai had praised the NoI in his remarks but papered over the fact that they had killed Malcolm.) Furthermore, history has shown that those like King who followed the path of non-violence have been proven correct while those who preached violence have been proven to be wrong. Malcolm X, for his part, did nothing to advance integration in this country. Finally, to the young people in the audience- in spite of all our dark chapters and mistakes in our history, America is still the greatest and freest country in the world, and it does deserve your love and loyalty in spite of what the speaker has told you tonight."
I doubt that would have made much of an impact. As we prepared to leave, the young man who had been sitting in front of me told me I needed to get a life.
This man Daulatzai was probably not even born when Malcolm X died. He didn't live through the civil rights era in America. Yet he implied that the civil rights movement accomplished next to nothing and that the conditions for black Americans have not improved since those days. Not having lived in America through that era what frame of reference does he have other than what he has read in books or been told by others?
It is sad and alarming that our universities have professors like this (of film and media, no,less) who
are putting these ideas into the minds of our young people-especially young Muslim students. Daulatzai, for better or worse, has his right of free speech, and he is entitled to his opinion about America. That right also includes the rights of the public to attend public events and record what is spoken at those events. As a teacher, I do not videotape students or what they say. I only begin my recording when the event's speaker begins. The public has a right to know what is being said in public speaking events on public university campuses.
So here it is. It is long. It is boring. The visual quality is less than optimal.There are a couple of brief snippets missing (at the beginning and end) because the memory card was being changed. But I hope the reader will take the time to listen to it because it is that important to be aware of what our students are being taught in American universities.