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On November 12, a talk show host of a powerful radio station in Sacramento, California wrote the following as his grand finale punch line about the passing of Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat:
"The appropriate headstone over the stiff would be a working urinal."
In the same Sacramento Union article, Williams wrote: “Get this straight: Yasser Arafat was a blood-soaked, sub-human, vile, reprehensible, murderous animal". And added: "If there is a crueler pile of camel manure than Palestine, then it has got to be the total fiction of a Palestinian 'people' ... "
There is much more.
But Williams, who is a repeat offender of hate and bigotry against many people for many years, does not only express irrational and extreme hate verbally, he very often translates his bigotry into street confrontations. Williams uses the public airwaves to rally extremists to target peace demonstrations and Arab-American and Muslim community events.
This is always dangerous. But in a time of war and conflict, when emotions are charged to a breaking point, his sort of extreme abuse of the public airwaves is even more problematic and irresponsible as it sets the ground for institutionalizing hate, while simultaneously inviting and inciting violence against communities.
The 50,000-watt clear channel radio station of KFBK 1530 in northern California, where Williams goes on the air between 7-10 PM every weekday, reaches over 100-Million people in the western third of North and Central America. According to KFBK, their signal “covers an area from the northern most points of Alaska to the southern most point of Mexico, and east beyond the Rockies to Montana.”
Can you then imagine the extent of the damage?
As a result of normalizing and accepting this behavior, hate and hysterical inciting language against Arab Americans, Palestinians, and Muslims is now considered acceptable mainstream discourse and a legitimate _expression of free speech. In fact it is often emulated and copied. Consider the following example.
Not too long ago during an anti-war rally at the University of California, Davis (UCD), located in the greater Sacramento area and considered one of the flagships of the University of California system, Arab-Americans and Muslim students were taunted by extremists for the entirety of the noon rally: "Kill them all", in reference to Arabs, "kill them terrorist babies. A baby today is a terrorist tomorrow." These extremists wore t-shirts with the same message, physically charged students at the rally for the entire duration, and dangled a large lynched effigy of Yasser Arafat. Anti-Arab hate is so high, normalized and accepted that this occurred as UCD administrators and police watched as they refused to interfere, citing first amendment rights. Under the watchful eyes of the administration, our community members and students had to experience extreme hate and imminent danger while feeling completely humiliated.
Now imagine if the target was not Arab American or Muslim students. Try to place another ethnic group or community in this position to feel the full effect of what took place at UCD. But why must we ask that you place others in our position? Because anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism is almost fully normalized and, thus, goes unchallenged, even by chancellors of prestigious universities.
There are great many other examples of outright bigotry, hate, and normalized racism throughout media outlets, academic institutions, and thought police entities such as that of Daniel Pipes. Students and professors are constantly under attack, shop owners are fearful for their lives, and places of worship and community centers are always on the alert. Hate crimes against Arab Americans and Muslims remains an all time high, worse yet, it has been so normalized that it now passes without notice.
Such hysteria and normalized hate are the prelude and prerequisites to legalized censorship through legislations, infringement of constitutional rights, and the positioning of an entire community as conspirators. Increasingly, and if this hate is allowed to continue and expand, particularly during a time of war, the results are inevitable. The internment of Japanese Americans, the Counter Intelligence Program, the fearful years of the McCarthy era, and the schisms and ruptures within the American society are only examples from yester years of what potentially awaits us should this course continues.
>What can you do in this particular case?
1) Please write or call the Sacramento Union to express your opinion about Mark Williams.
Kenneth E. Grubbs Jr, Editor
The Sacramento Union
P.O. Box 1120
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Phone: (916) 966-9700
Fax: (916) 966-6309
2) Write or call KFBK 1530 and demand that Mark Williams is taken off the air:
NewsTalk 1530 KFBK
1440 Ethan Way, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
3) Use the following link to write to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about your concerns:
4) The website of Mark Williams, http://www.marktalk.com/, identifies some of his sponsors, should you wish to contact them.
To join or contact the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), please write to: [email protected]