Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blair Heckled At Graduation Story Goes Viral Globally

Source: photo by David Leaming "Choose A Cause" Waterville Morning Sentinel 5/21/12

Tony Blair, the British PM who lied his country and NATO into attacking Iraq in 2003, was in Maine May 20, 2012. A group of us confronted him at Colby College's graduation.
Source: "Tony Blair At Colby College: 'Are We An Empire That's Fading'" Hunter Stuart Huffington Post
Links to the news coverage:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2147568/Tony-Blair-heckled-gives-graduation-speech-US-college.html “But, while he has long been dogged by demonstrations in Britain carrying out stunts like trying to arrest him, it is the first time his appearances in the U.S. have been hijacked by protesters.” [My note: Actually, Blair was protested at Stanford University on May 18.]

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Tony Blair Topics Page - USATODAY.com

Heckled: Four protestors shouted at former Prime Minister Tony Blair as he delivered the graduation speech at Colby College in Maine Other protestors stood by ...


best tv coverage

Maine Public radio uses the pejorative term marred:

Several people took exception to our disturbance of commencement ceremonies at Colby, including the brother of one of the graduates. Here was my reply to his thoughtful and civil response to my blog post about the action:

Thank you for your critique of the disruption I helped cause at Colby College when Tony Blair spoke at your brother's graduation. I gave considerable thought to whether I was comfortable with intruding rudeness into a well-earned celebration for the graduates and their families and friends. I was not entirely comfortable doing it, but I do not regret the decision I made.

It's interesting that your criticism centers on concluding that I wanted to draw attention to myself, personally. For more on how much I have had to overcome my upbringing in order to do the political advocacy work that I now do, you could read my short statement about that on the Smithsonian Institution's website: http://click.si.edu/VisitorStory.aspx?story=485

It was very tempting to stay at the lake with my family and not make the effort. In the end, seven of us did, and it resulted in press coverage far beyond my wildest dreams. Getting the message that we must hold those who wage wars of aggression accountable out all over Europe, Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, and to scores of U.S. media outlets was the goal. It wasn't about me at all.

What I particularly liked was that there was mention made of war crimes, globalization, the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, the Occupy movement, and environmental and economic concerns in one or more of the articles. These issues are all connected, and we ignore them at our peril.

Sometimes it isn't nice to protest, or to hear protests; probably institutions should give more careful thought to what kind of public figures they chose to showcase, their moral character and their track record presumably standing as a role model to the young being educated at college.

A woman I respect very much contacted me after Sunday's disruption and said, “Thanks for being the voice for the voiceless.” R.I.P. the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died because of Blair's lies.

Lisa Savage

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