imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Do We Really Have Free Speech?

by Charlotte Aldebron Monday, May. 05, 2003 at 8:24 PM

The following is a transcript of a speech given by 13-year-old Charlotte Aldebron in Augusta, Maine on April 19, 2003.

Do We Really Have Free Speech?

Charlotte Aldebron, WireTap

April 25, 2003



The invasion of Afghanistan, and now Iraq, has given me a big lesson in freedom of speech -- or, should I say, the difference between the idea of free speech and the reality of free speech. Yes, I can speak. But what does it matter if I have no place to speak? Or if I am ostracized? Or no one listens?



In early March, my social studies teacher switched the class topic to Iraq. He said Saddam Hussein's time to disarm was up. We had to get rid of him -- he was a brutal dictator who gassed his own people. I raised my hand. I said that the U.S. gave Saddam Hussein chemical weapons, and the CIA helped him find the targets to use them on. My teacher snapped back, "Actually, Charlotte, you're wrong." Then he turned away and refused to call on me again.



After the invasion, our class focused on combat. It was like a game: we got a hand-out on the Persian Gulf countries, called "The Players," we were given photos with short bios of top Iraqis, the team we had to beat. We got a map of the Gulf region with the size and location of all the armies, and the weapons each possessed; we read an article about the threat of Iraq using chemical weapons against our troops.



My mother complained to the principal and the Commissioner of Education that we were being taught to glorify war, admire military strategy, and objectify the killing and maiming of human beings. The Commissioner responded that each school's curriculum was its own business. The principal answered that he thought the social studies lesson plan was "balanced and comprehensive." Yes, my mom was free to speak -- in fact, she could scream her head off for all they cared. It wouldn't change a thing.



Meanwhile, in science, we had to answer questions like, "what are the advantages of biological weapons?" I said there weren't any advantages because biological weapons kill people. How can death be an advantage? I was asked to give two examples of biological weapons. I said one was the smallpox on blankets we gave to Native Americans to kill them. The other was E coli bacteria that have been found in McDonald's hamburgers. I said we could close the gap between the threat and the capability of biological weapons by signing the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention, and by hiring more meat inspectors. Somehow, our assignments never got corrected.



I should tell you that I am famous in some countries. My anti-war speeches have been translated into French, Spanish, Norwegian, Danish, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Urdu, Bengali, and who knows what else. I have been featured in newspapers and on television and radio. A popular singer in Bombay read my speech at his sold-out concert. I've received over 3,000 emails.



But in my own community, I am invisible. The principal won't let me read my speeches in school. The local papers won't print them. When a Japanese TV crew came to do a story on me, the principal barred them from the school. When they interviewed my classmates on the street after school, the principal came running and angrily demanded that they not use the footage. Of course, they were filming when he did this and, of course, they used the footage. The Japanese know what a bad idea war is because they have suffered the horrible consequences of our nuclear bombs. 



I get encouraging emails from around the world telling me not to despair even if my own town and teachers and friends ignore me.  Many say that I am very brave to speak out "in a country like the United States!" One such email was from a Japanese man who, at age 9, saw the two friends he was walking with in Honshu, on July 20, 1945, buried beneath the rubble of a building bombed by a P-51 Mustang fighter. He and his mother were miraculously spared. And there was the email from the Jordanian mother duct taping her windows with plastic sheeting to protect her children from possible chemical attack. And the Greek man whose parents were scarred for life by the Nazi occupation. And the Canadian who cannot understand calling human beings "collateral damage." And the man from Calcutta who hopes the warriors will come to their senses and put away their weapons. And the South Korean student who thinks it is wrong to sit at his desk and study when there are terrible crimes taking place. And the Iranian who cannot sanction the harming of innocents, even if they are the people of an "enemy" nation.



Because I am free to speak, these people have heard my voice and we have been able to share our desire for peace. Some of them live in countries where protesting is against the law. In the U.S., we are more subtle, we are more sophisticated. In the U.S., we can allow people to talk freely. We don't need to stifle speech to stifle dissent. We just have to block our ears. 

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
This is why... Diogenes Monday, May. 05, 2003 at 8:30 PM
FofS gavin Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 3:03 AM
Indeed, gavin daveman Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 3:32 AM
Five Reasons Why You have the Right to Not Remain Silent Diogenes Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 8:21 AM
Encouraging... Old European Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 9:22 AM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy