Letter: A challenge to debate

Editor, the Gauntlet,

By now, professor Flanagan’s comments on the CBC have achieved infamy and offended citizens across this country. More importantly, they have sullied the name of our university. Flanagan’s joke or call [about] Julian Assange was serious. As he will soon discover, it is a criminal offence to incite violence.

The morality of a public call for assassination is the type of thing one would expect from a Jim Crow lynch mob rather than a Canadian university professor. His mealy-mouthed statement of regret was beyond useless. Nowhere did he apologize and nowhere did he express genuine contrition for words he clearly means. It is frightening to hear a political science professor say he would have no problem if Assange “disappeared,” especially after the CBC host gave Flanagan a chance to correct himself.

Moreover, his most recent statement that WikiLeaks and Assange should be prosecuted through the fullest extent of the law is laughable in its legal illiteracy. WikiLeaks has never been charged with a crime, nor will it, given it has done nothing illegal under any legal regime under which it can be charged (unless America manages to rendition Assange to an Egyptian kangaroo courthouse or something).

It is staggering to see the broadcast of such callous ignorance from a university professor (especially one with Flanagan’s academic pedigree). It truly besmirches the academic reputation of this university. How this state of affairs can stand, as is, within the university, is beyond my comprehension. It is especially revealing that the university will fight tooth and nail to prevent the pro-life group from expressing political dissent, yet stand idly by while a professor publicly broadcasts a wish for murder of a man who is widely revered among respected circles as the new Daniel Ellsberg.

So my solution to this predicament is this: public civil discourse where the ideas can be expressed and rebutted before a forum of our colleagues and peers. I hereby challenge Flanagan to debate me about the legality/morality of WikiLeaks. The venue is immaterial, although I think the school of public policy or faculty of law would be good venues.


John Baharustani

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