Joshua Blakeny writing at Rabble.ca:
On Nov. 24, 2010 I received notification that I was to be the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship after being nominated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Lethbridge. I was jubilated to be awarded such a prestigious scholarship which has helped to fund my M.A. thesis research, the working title of which is The Origins of the Global War on Terror: Academic Debates and Interpretive Controversies. By Nov. 25, the National Post‘s editor Jonathan Kay was whipping up vigilantism against my funding calling on “the taxpayers of Alberta” to recognize this gross injustice.
Mr. Kay also admonished my thesis supervisor Professor Antony Hall, stating: “as long as he keeps it [9/11 Studies] out of the classroom, he’s free to believe in whatever [. . .] he likes.” This was a curious decree from the editorial offices of the National Post; if the conflicting interpretations of the most seminal event in contemporary history are not to be broached in the classrooms of Canadian universities, where can they be?
History departments dedicate much time and energy to analyzing the origins of historic wars such as WWI and WWII. Why should we shy away from questioning the origins of the Global War on Terror? Mr. Kay’s article backfired. I was actually quite pleased that Mr. Kay cited the passage from my letter of intent which legitimizes rather than discredits the academic field of 9/11 studies.
I don’t think any serious intellectual would join Mr. Kay and his co-thinkers at Maclean’s On Campus — the latter of whom used my scholarship as a case study to argue that universities should be fully privatized — and designate my research proposal unworthy of modest public funding. A key flaw in Mr. Kay’s hit-piece on 9/11 studies was his failure to distinguish between being skeptical about the official story of 9/11 and positing speculative alternative theories — two wholly disparate undertakings. After quoting from my letter ofintent, Mr. Kay spread the falsehood that I had already come to the conclusion that “the 9/11 attacks were staged by Washington.”
To be sure, I could speculate about what I think might have transpired on 9/11, but I would do so outside the parameters of my rather circumscribed graduate thesis and would not invoke “Washington” as the generalized culprit. I think it is more constructive to identify individuals such as Richard Cheney or Larry Silverstein who ought to be brought before a court of law and asked some hard and probing questions…
[continues at at Rabble.ca]
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