Did Salaita Cross the Line? What About What Mark Twain Said?
from a Labor Day talk by Stanley Heller
One of Professor Salaita's tweets that is being used to justifiy his firing read:
"At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised? "
Did that cross the line?
I want to read what a man wrote in a pre-twitter age about a man whose viewpoint and actions he despised. In his fictional soliloquy the writer has the King of Belgium supposedly complaining about a person who proposes
" to construct a memorial for the perpetuation of my name, out of my 15,000,000 skulls and skeletons,
and is full of vindictive enthusiasm over his strange project. He has it all ciphered out and drawn to scale. Out of
the skulls he will build a combined monument and mausoleum to me which shall exactly duplicate the
Great Pyramid of Cheops…. He desires to stuff me and stand me up in the sky on that apex, robed and crowned, with my 'pirate flag' in one hand and a butcher-knife and pendant handcuffs in the other. "
Pretty nasty stuff, you will admit, You could read it as a call to murder the king and stuff him. Who could have written such "uncivil" words?
It was our own Mark Twain, the beloved humorist, who also was a fierce moralist who was angry that King Leopold presided over an enterprise that had killed millions.
NEW 9/9 Steven Salaita's statement at press conference