UC Berkeley Near Eastern studies lecturer and adjunct professor at Boalt Hall School of Law Hatem Bazian is back in the headlines. Campus Watch readers will no doubt recall Bazian's infamous call for an "intifada in this country" at a 2004 anti-war protest in San Francisco, not to mention the numerous examples of his participation in radical, and, ostensibly, pro-Palestinian activities across the nation.
The latest case being Bazian's lecture at UC Berkeley on October 6, given as part of a series hosted by a student group called Islamic Awareness of Berkeley. The lecture was attended by Ethan Strauss, a student who wrote about the experience at The Daily Clog, the blog for the student publication The Daily Californian. As Strauss describes it:
At the event's conclusion, two men approached me. One grabbed my dysfunctional digital camera, and the other demanded to know "who I was working for." They asked to "erase what's on the camera." I explained that the cam was broken and proceeded to demand its return in a politely profanity-laced manner…The contested object was returned after much squabbling.
In the comments section accompanying Strauss' blog post, Islamic Awareness denies any responsibility for the incident. They also deny that anyone "from any sponsoring organization was responsible….nor [was it] the fault of our speakers." And Hatem Bazian himself chimes in with the following comment:
I don't know where the idea that I don't want my pictures taken at a public event. If anyone looked through the web one for sure would find many photos taken at public events with more tension than the event last night on campus. I hope that in the future communication with the person in question can be undertaken before such a headline.
The Daily Clog headline he is referring to is "No Pictures Taken & None Allowed at the Hatem Bazian Lecture," which, apparently, didn't go over very well with Bazian. But, more importantly, Bazian does nothing to condemn the intimidation tactics and thuggish behavior on the part of the mysterious perpetrators, just the blog post calling attention to the matter.
One would think Bazian would take the opportunity to show some leadership, but he seems more concerned with his reputation than with the rights of journalists to cover campus news. So much for all the hoopla about free speech.