For the last ten years a 144-flag display has hung in the atrium of the student center of the Irvine Valley College without incident.Ã‚Â However according to an articleÃ‚Â written by Marla Jo Fisher in yesterday’s Orange County Register school officials have removed the display after threats from radical anti-communist activistsÃ‚Â in the local Vietnamese community.Ã‚Â
The display represented the flags of the nations of the world “in a gesture designed to symbolize the diversity ofÃ‚Â the college’sÃ‚Â student body”.Ã‚Â It was the fact that a flag depicting the Socialist Republic of VietnamÃ‚Â was displayed that drew the ire of the activists.Ã‚Â The activists threatened mass protests with busloads of protestors if the flag was not removed.Ã‚Â Fearing this, school officials caved and removed the entire display.
Leading the charge for the radical activists were Van Tran allies Westminster Councilman Andy Quach and Garden Grove Councilwoman Dina Nguyen.Ã‚Â Quach and Nguyen essentially threatened and coerced school officials by reminding them of what happened during the 1999 protests in Little Saigon over a shop owner displaying the Vietnam flag and a photo of Ho Chi Minh.Ã‚Â During those protests some 50,000 people showed up and at times turned violent, going as far as attacking an American veteran of the Vietnam War who spoke in favor of the shop owners right to free speech.
It is time that this thuggery and intimidation by the radicals in Little Saigon comes to an end.Ã‚Â These folks believe in the right of free speech.Ã‚Â Theirs.Ã‚Â They wrap themselves in the Constitution to protect their rights, and step on it when it comes to the rights and beliefs of the people who disagree with them.Ã‚Â They left Vietnam in search of freedom and yet they act not too much different from those in charge of the country they fled.
Shame on Irvine Valley College officials for bowing to their threats and shame on those issuing those threats.Ã‚Â If you believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression you must be willing to defend things that may be offensive to you.Ã‚Â That is the beauty of America, or at least that used to be the beauty of America.Ã‚Â Clearly we have allowed the threats of a radical mob to determine what can be said or expressed.
This leaves me to ask should Cuban-Americans be able to demand the removal of the Cuban flag because they don’t agree with the government there?Ã‚Â What about Persian-Americans and the Iranian flag?Ã‚Â Should we only allow the display of flags of countries we like?Ã‚Â Should we ban the display of all flags except the American flag?
So much for the freedom of expression.