FIGHTING WORDS (INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY EDITION)

Jon Stewart: “And let me say to you, Bill O’Reilly, and the entire O’Reilly clan, Feliz Navidad to you. Although I’m sure you’re concerned that that’s getting too prevalent as well in this country.”

Gordon Lafer: “By cutting back on tenured positions while refusing to recognize teachers’ unions, NYU is undermining both pillars of academic freedom. In this way, academic managers are pushing a new vision of higher education – not a community of independent scholars freed to boldly pursue their notions of truth, but a place of permanent insecurity, where everyone is afraid to speak out against those in power. Universities were supposed to be model citizens of the community, but no longer.”

Kenneth Roth: “In a one-party system intolerant of dissent, petitioning is one of the only ways that ordinary Chinese have to air their grievances. By using or allowing violence to squelch grievances, the authorities are effectively closing off some of the only political space in the country. They should realize that this endangers the very thing they are trying to protect—social stability.”

Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Jody Williams et al:”Protecting the right to form unions is not only required by the Universal Declaration but also is vital to promoting broadly shared economic prosperity, social justice and strong democracies…Even the wealthiest nation in the world–the United States of America–fails to adequately protect workers’ rights to form unions and bargain collectively. Millions of U.S. workers lack any legal protection to form unions and thousands are discriminated against every year for trying to exercise these rights. We cannot remain silent in the face of these and other serious abuses of workers’ rights.”

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