In the documentary Shouting Fire, the last clip questions about the right to protest. The constitution clearly states in the first amendment that gives “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The protest that took place in in New York during the Republican Convention in 2004 was not harming to anyone. I think the NY police force took it too far because they worsened the situation by arresting the protests, who were protesting peacefully. 1801 protestors were arrested for expressing their freedom of speech. The documentary make an important point that in midst of war people’s rights tend to shrink.
After watching the entire documentary, what surprises me is how people allow the government to get away with this. We should understand by now that in order to have complete freedom of speech we would have to allow people to express their freedom any way they want as long as it doesn’t break any laws. This could mean that we would have to tolerate people like Chase Harper to express their opinion, even if their opinion wrong. Taking away rights from people like Ward Churchill, Martin Garbus, Debbie Almontaser, and Daniel Ellsburg was very wrong because the government fired them for expressing what they believe in. When the government takes such a drastic measure, it puts fear in people that they can’t chose to believe in something that goes against what the government believes in.
I agree with Garbus when he says in the end of the documentary that if you don’t fight for your freedom every day that you’re going to lose it. It is the citizens’ job to stand up against the unfair treatments the people in the documentary faced. The documentary really changed the way I look at our freedom of speech and how we might actually not be able to say anything we want. Before we make accusations we should know about the entire situation first. Everyone treated Churchill and the other like they committed a huge crime, when they were simply just expressing their belief.
In the story about Martin Garbus, Garbus thought that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) should take the case of the Nazi march in Chicago. This story shows the down side of freedom of speech because Garbus knew that if the ACLU didn’t take the case than our freedom of speech is opposing a certain group of people. Like Garbus said, “If you are going to defend free speech, you also have to defend the freedom of speech of people you hate.” Even though you’re personal belief might not be the same as the other party but they still have the right to have their own beliefs. I think it was wrong of people to show hatred towards Garbus because I don’t think that he would personally favor what the Nazis were doing but he did it for the sake of our freedom. He had family members who died in the Holocaust, so that shows that he knew how the Jews felt about the situation.
In the story about Chase Harper relates to the other story that deals with freedom of speech. It raises the issue of whether there should a limit of on it. I think at freedom of speech should not be allowed when it jeopardizes someone’s life. When Harper wrote that message on his shirt, the message makes others who are gay or lesbian feel like they are doing something wrong. There is also the point of how our freedom of speech is limited in schools. If you were caught using foul language in school you would get in trouble, but don’t we have the right to say what we want. School is a place where kids learn to behave a certain way so when Harper wears his t-shirt, it shouldn’t be in a place where is kids are learning.
The documentary Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers was a very insightful film. In my AP U.S. history class we barely have the time to cover anything after World War II and the only way we learned about history after WWII was by reading All the Presidents Men, which only covered the Watergate Scandal. I knew that the Vietnam War was wrong but I never learned the details behind why it was wrong because some people justified it by stating that the war helped suppress communism. This film reveals what really happened in Vietnam.
This film sheds light on how the public has the right to know what is going on. Out of all the men working in Washington who were involved in the Vietnam War only one man had the guts to come out and tell the truth. Daniel Ellsberg was that man; he put his career and life on the line when he decided to release the Pentagon Papers. One of the things that shocked me was how four of the presidents knew how bad the war was going yet they continued lying to the public about the U.S. winning the war. They were also responsible for ruining South Vietnam by preventing free elections and supported corrupt regimes.
The film was narrated by Ellsberg and it included actual footage from the event and it also has animation that showed what was happening in the scene. The film was easy to understand and it helped me realize that it is the job of the pubic to bring down the corruption in our government and that we can’t just hope for someone like Daniel Ellsberg to always come out and reveal to us the truth.
One of the other things I liked was the side story of how Daniel Ellsberg and his wife meet. That side of the story kind of cools us down when the story gets too serious. This documentary seems like a regular movie because of the variety of plots it includes like romance, action and lots of drama.
I think that Daniel Ellsberg should be considered a hero because without his help there would have been so many more lives ended. He was the right person to reveal the truth because he actually went to Vietnam to see how America was doing in the war. One of my favorite the part of the film was when he realized that he had to reveal the papers when his friend Randy Kehler was going to jail and he said he was happy to join his friends and that people will continue to resist the war. That part was made me realize how serious the situation was because so many people were willing to go to prison for many years as along as the war is ended.
This film also made me thankful of the first amendment that says freedom of press. So many newspapers were willing to put their newspaper company on the line to publish the Pentagon Papers even when the government had forbidden it. This demonstrates the importance of truth and why we should allow everyone to know what is happening to their country. I think that it was wrong of people to call Ellsberg a “whistle blower” because it is clear that he did the right thing even when no one else had the guts to do it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The controversy involving Debbie Almontaser was about a word that was written on the t-shirts of the group Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media (AWAAM), where she worked at. She was forced to resign because in the interview with the New York Post she talked about the t-shirts which the board of education told her not to. This entire situation I think shows how since the 9/11 situation Arabs and Muslims were looked upon differently. Debbie Almontaser had a history of working in a lot of organizations where she had helped people of different religion come together. Everyone seemed to have turned on her even though it was clear how innocent she was. I was surprised that Mayor Bloomberg had asked her to resign even though he knew her and awarded her for a lot of things. Her son was a national guardsman and reporters asked if she didn’t believe 9/11 happened.
This situation is kind of similar to the Ward Churchill controversy because it relates to how after 9/11 people had to be more mindful of what they were saying. Both of them didn’t deserve what happened to them. The price they had to pay was to resign from their jobs. I think that both were put in a situation where they were helpless because 9/11 is fresh in peoples mind and they wanted to project their hate somewhere. In the end Debbie Almontaser filed a law suit for being forced to resign and she ended up winning up to $300,000, which I think is fair.
I believe that it was wrong of the University of Colorado to fire Ward Churchill. The way the University charged Churchill on charges that doesn’t relate to what Churchill wrote about on the 9/11 attack. It proves the violation of his freedom of speech. Churchill wrote in his essay of how it was America’s fault that the 9/11 attack happened. When the right-wing Republicans found out about it they didn’t want Churchill to teach stuff like that to the students. I think that his view of the 9/11 attack shouldn’t be the reason why he should be fired from teaching since he is the professor of ethnic studies. He mentioned in the documentary of America’s bloody history like in the Contra War, No Gun Ri, Indochina, and Wounded Knee Massacre, so I understand why he thinks that because of America’s bad history with foreign countries why he blames America for the 9/11 attack.
I agree with Churchill that this controversy is like McCarthyism because during that time a lot of people were accused of being a communist when they spoke out against the government. Like the McCarthyism era the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) made a list called “How Many Ward Churchills?” where they charged professors who taught the similar stuff that Churchill taught which was over 60,000 professors. This shows how the people are putting this situation out of proportion. Near the end of the video when Churchill was being dismissed for academic misconduct there were students who were booing, this shows how the students also believed that it was wrong to fired Churchill.
Even though I think that Churchill shouldn’t have been fired but I do think that he shouldn’t have said in his lectures that the people who worked in the World Trade Center deserved what happened to them. Because of that reason he probably caused everyone to make this a big deal. Especially since it was after a few years from the 9/11 attack, where more Americans thought that the first amendment is not restricted enough. We as the citizens of the United States have the right to express our beliefs even if those beliefs don’t always please everyone.