UNM STUDENTS ASSUALTED AT PUBLIC EVENT ON CAMPUS
On February 23rd during a public lecture by Nonie Darwish, members of the audience assaulted a number of UNM students. The public lecture, which began at 7PM in the Anthropology lecture hall, was attend by some UNM students who exercised their right to freedom of speech by vocally protesting the against the opinions put forward by Darwish. When the students raised their voices a number of audience members proceeded to get out of their seats and use force against the students. One of the students was hit in the face, another had her hair pulled, and many were pushed and shoved. One of the students caught much of these events on film before another audience member forcibly pushed down her camera. The students were then forced out of the auditorium and quickly called the UNM police who arrived and filed a report.
These students were assaulted on UNM campus for simply trying to make their voices heard and it is a shock that a non-violent action was met with such aggression.
STATEMENT FROM (Un)Occupy Albuquerque: Three people, including UNM students, were attacked by pro-Israeli members on Wednesday night for mic-checking Nonie Darwish, a self-proclaimed human rights activist who was on UNM campus to deliver a talk on the Arab Springs.
Darwish cast the Arab Spring in a bad light. She argued that democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, such as those in Egypt and Tunisia, would not succeed as long as Islamists controlled them.
A group of people, who were acting in solidarity with the Palestinian people, questioned Darwish’s fear-mongering and her unqualified support for Israel. They were shouted down by pro-Israel members in the audience, who assaulted a woman, pulled her hair, and forcibly pushed another person over a row of seats. A third person was punched in the face. Pro-Israel members also destroyed a phone that was used to record the assault.
The protestors, some of whom are UNM students and affiliated with the (Un)Occupy Albuquerque movement, used “mic-checking” as a nonviolent tactic to voice their concern against the Islamophobic content of Darwish’s talk. However, they were met with outright violence by members of the audience, who did not want to hear what the protestors had to say. Rather than simply wait for the protestors to deliver their message and leave, as has been the case at similar actions in other parts of the country, the pro-Israel audience members physically forced the protestors out of the auditorium.
It is interesting that the audience members who assaulted the protestors were acting in support of Israel, which claims to be the “most-democratic state” in the Middle East. Freedom of speech is an important part of being democratic, and it is a tragedy that the pro-Israel members did not want to hear what the protestors had to say.