While tensions in the Persian Gulf Crisis continue to escalate, a discussion held on campus Monday night sparked bitter debates and protests. Hecklers continually disrupted the two-hour forum at the Christian Association, originally planned as a question-and-answer session on the Persian Gulf Crisis, and demanded that their opinions be heard. Three of the approximately 60 audience members, who identified themselves as followers of radical politician Lyndon LaRouche, called the forum a sham saying that the group coordinating the event -- Act for Peace in the Middle East -- had biased the forum. In one of the evening's heated exchanges, Therese Mallory, who announced her solidarity with LaRouche, blasted panel members' views claiming that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wants to use the hydrogen bomb on Iraq. She went on to add that President Bush's call for a "new order" in the world will result in a "series of colonial wars to grab land and wage war in the Third World and kill black and brown people." Before the disruptions, panel members called for U.S. troops to withdraw from Saudi Arabia with one attacking what she sees as a double standard of U.S. Middle Eastern policy. "[The United States] deals with the Middle East with considerable racism," said Palestinian advocate Judith Chomsky, a member of the National Lawyers' Guild. She added that the Bush administration should apply the "principle of self-determination," which it gives to the Kuwaitis, to the Palestinians as well, by supporting international pressure to remove Israeli troops from the Occupied Territories. Another forum member, Marie Bloom -- a leader of Act For Peace in the Middle East -- advocated a different policy of dealing with the Gulf Crisis. She suggested to audience members that they start a letter-writing campaign adding they can also join weekly vigils in front of City Hall to support bringing U.S. troops home. After the discussion, forum organizer and moderator Lori Anne Salem, said that although the forum was originally planned for a peaceful discussion, she said that overall, "it was a good night." One University student at the forum, College freshman Paul Skeith, said he was not prepared for such loud protest. He added that the hecklers should not have used the discussion as a place for "their propaganda."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.