As you may have heard, on November 4th I was arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail for posting anti-terror stickers on the George Mason University campus. I was charged with a “class 6 felony for destruction of property,” threatened with five years in prison, and released 14 hours later on $8,000 bail posted by my wife. The court date is now set for February 14th, 2017.
You can read the full description of how it happened in a number of news stories below. Now I’d like to explain why I did it.
George Mason University (GMU) ranks number three in the top 10 most anti-Semitic campuses, with very active, rabidly anti-Israel student groups, who thrive in the school’s politically correct climate. The administrators’ endorsement of pro-terror activism may be explained not only by their “progressive” ideology, but also by large donations from Islamist groups tied to terror finance — two factors that have been increasingly converting American universities into Marxist madrassas. For more background, see a well-researched article about this case by Kyle Shideler.
On the weekend of November 4th, GMU was hosting a two-day national conference held by the Hamas-affiliated hate group, Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP). In this regard, prominent author David Horowitz had addressed the GMU president with an open letter, recommending to conduct an immediate inquiry into the group’s activities and remove their campus privileges and funding, in order to stop harassment and intimidation of Jewish students at George Mason. That letter remained unanswered.
While I’m not Jewish myself, it is self-evident that Jews have been the “canaries in a coal mine,” always targeted first before the rest of us are killed and maimed by totalitarian forces, be it Nazism in the 20th century or Islamofascism in the 21st. Israel is as much a part of Western civilization as Europe and America are. When Jews are targeted, the rest of us eventually fall into the crosshairs as well, as has been proven by multiple terrorist attacks in Europe and America in recent years. Stopping Islamic terrorism, therefore, is not just a matter of someone’s decency or solidarity with the Jews. We’re past the point when that was anyone’s moral choice; it’s now a matter of everyone’s self-preservation.
It’s as simple as that.
As school administrations across America remain comfortably numb to this fact for whatever financial or ideological reasons, all efforts to engage them in a civil discourse have proven futile. George Mason University, in particular, has distinguished itself with examples of enforced unanimity, suppression of free speech, and outright ideological intolerance among its students and faculty.
Therefore, David Horowitz and I teamed up in a campaign that would make GMU leaders uncomfortable enough to pay attention, look outside their ivory towers, and take in the reality. And it worked.
I designed posters that expose the genocidal nature of anti-Israel activism and the deadly consequences of supporting pro-terror groups. On the eve of the SJP gathering at George Mason, I posted stickers with these designs in various conspicuous spots on campus. They were noticed. The GMU authorities became annoyed enough to mobilize their police force to look for the perpetrators.
To admit that they objected to our message would obviously make them look bad. Instead, they charged us with “destruction of property,” claiming that we used “superglue” or “industrial glue” that was impossible to remove. That claim is false. I used standard commercially available stickers similar to mailing labels. Most of them can be removed just by carefully pulling on the edges; the remainder, if any, easily comes off without a trace with the help of Goo Gone or similar household cleaner available in any dollar store.
Did I temporarily deface GMU signs to annoy the authorities in order to deliver a message they otherwise refuse to hear? Yes. Did I permanently destroy any property? Ridiculous. It’s as if we were to write our message on top of the GMU president’s desk after being frustrated that he tossed out all our letters without reading them. That would surely annoy the GMU president, but at least he would read the message before erasing it. Now suppose that we wrote it in chalk, but the GMU president, Dr. Ángel Cabrera, claimed that we used a permanent marker causing irreparable damage, and he had to buy a new desk for $2,500. That would be a lie.
The alleged “destruction of property” is just as much a lie – but that is what has caused me the handcuffs, jail time, felony charges, and the threat of five years in prison: a lie.
What I did was non-violent and non-destructive mischief, exclusively to irritate the powers-that-be and, hopefully to provoke them and others to start talking about our message and thus acknowledging the existence of opposing viewpoints.
After I was brought to jail and put before the magistrate, he asked me how I would feel if someone were to come to my house and post stickers everywhere. I chose not to argue since the magistrate wasn’t the problem. But it was clear in my head that if I were unwittingly giving aid and comfort to terrorist supporters and someone would point it out to me in such a memorable way, then yes, I would probably be annoyed at first, but in the long run, as an honest person, I would most likely be grateful for opening my eyes to my bad judgment.
That said, I extend my apologies to the janitorial staff, hoping they had read my stickers before removing them – but not to the GMU administration unless they admit their bad judgment on issues a lot more horrifying than stickers on their campus.
Some of my friends have since pointed out to me that I did, after all, break the law. Yes, I tell them. And so did Rosa Parks when she broke the law in order to draw attention to the injustice. Her example, followed by many, proved that civil disobedience can be effective in changing unjust laws and customs. I can argue that in our case, we were handcuffed and spent a day in jail not as much for the fact of posting the stickers, but for breaking a much more important, unwritten campus law – we confronted ideological uniformity, also known as political correctness, which in today’s American universities is as oppressive as racism was in Alabama in 1955.
You won’t hear this stuff from the lying mainstream media. Keep the GotNews mission alive: donate at GotNews.com/donate or send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to join our research team, contact email@example.com.
I went to that campus to challenge that uniformity, not to get arrested. But if being thrown in jail will help break the cowardly silence on campus, I will consider it a small price to pay for starting an honest conversation about the festering ideological intolerance, lack of free speech, and totalitarian impulses at GMU and other American universities.
Below is a list of links to media stories about this case. You can help by promoting them in social media, spreading the word, and pressuring GMU to drop the charges:
• GotNews: BREAKING: Ex-Soviet Dissident ARRESTED, JAILED, & CHARGED For 1st Amend.-Protected @GeorgeMasonU Anti-Terror Posters
• FrontPage: Pro-Israel Artist Threatened With 5 Years In Jail For Anti-Terror Posters At GMU
• PJ Media: People’s Cube Artist Faces 5 Years in Jail for Hanging Up Anti-Terror Posters at GMU
• CounterJihad: George Mason University Creates A “Safe Space” for Terror Supporters; Throws Anti-Jihad Activist in Jail
• American Thinker: The totalitarian impulse flourishes at George Mason University
• Western Free Press: Soviet Dissident Arrested at GMU for Protesting Against Murderers of Jews
• Gateway Pundit: Pro-Israel Artist Threatened with 5 Years in Jail for Campus Anti-Terror Posters
• Pamela Geller: Artist Threatened With 5 Years in Jail for Anti-Terror Posters at GMU
• Jihad Watch: Pro-Israel artist threatened with 5 years in jail for anti-terror posters at GMU
• Dr. Rich Swier: Oleg Atbashian arrested, faces five years in prison for supporting Israel
• Conservative Treehouse: We Stand With Oleg – Artist Threatened With 5 Years In Jail For Anti-Terror Posters…
• IOTW Report: Oleg From The People’s Cube threatened with 5 years in jail
• Patriot Retort: The last refuge of the closed mind
Additionally, you are welcome to download, print, and hang these two posters on GMU and other top 10 anti-Semitic and terror-supporting campuses:
Stay tuned for more.
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