These photos were taken outside the auditorium where Michelle Malkin was giving a lecture in Dwinelle Hall on the U.C. Berkeley campus on Wednesday, September 8, 2004.
With very little advance notice, the Berkeley Campus Republicans -- one of the few conservative student groups at U.C. Berkeley -- announced a lecture by bestselling author and Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin. The Asian-American Malkin was on tour to promote her new book In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War On Terror, in which she presents new evidence that FDR's detention of all West Coast Japanese-Americans during WWII was justified because there were real spies and saboteurs among the Japanese-American population. She further argues that similar vigilance may be necessary during the current War on Terror.
Needless to say, her appearance on campus was not going to go unnoticed. Several different groups convened on Dwinelle Hall before the lecture was to begin, determined to make their opinions heard and to do their best to make sure Malkin's opinions were not heard. Among the protesters were the children and grandchildren of internees; Muslim groups (who feel targeted by proposed "racial profiling" policies); and the usual assortment of Berkeley Marxists, Maoists, and Communists.
The very first sign I encountered as I approached the lecture had the word "Socialist" on it. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.
A self-proclaimed member of the Muslim Students Association picked up a bullhorn and started inciting the crowd to action.
A line of protesters formed in front of the entrance.
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of the protesters chanting "Arabs, Muslims under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!" (QuickTime, 2.5mb)
Just a few yards from the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement there were signs telling someone to "stop talkin'."
John Sasaki of KTVU Channel 2 news showed up and interviewed a Japanese-American who as a child had been detained in an internment camp with his family.
Sasaki made a point of ignoring the Maoist groups and their signs standing right next to his interview subject; he wanted to paint the protest in a positive light.
This grinning surfer dude held a sign written in English and Arabic.
I decided it was time to head into the auditorium for the lecture itself. Posted near the building entrance was this sarcastic sign attacking the lecture's sponsors, the Berkeley Campus Republicans.
Inside, all was chaos. Despite a feeble notice on the door declaring that protesters and signs were not allowed in the building, the crowd had burst inside anyway. A pair of event organizers climbed on a table and strategized about how to control the situation.
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of the protesters chanting "Arabs, Latinos, Asian, Black and White! Stop the war, stop the hate, defend our civil rights!" (QuickTime, 3mb).
As the crowd was chanting, a line of people in the foreground were still trying to file into the auditorium, which was nearing capacity.
One of the most interesting signs showed a hand-drawn portrait of the Filipina-American Michelle Malkin, overlaid with Hitler-style hair and mustache, along with a swastika necklace and the Tagalog slang term for "kiss ass."
Baby Jesus cries at the thought of Michelle Malkin.
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of the protesters chanting "The War on Terror's got to go! Racist roundups -- we say no!" (QuickTime, 2.7mb) while one of the event organizers tries in vain to announce that the lecture hall is full and that the entrance foyer must be cleared for safety reasons.
"Save America -- become a Nazi" says the sign.
Hundreds of people (myself included) who wanted to see the lecture were unable to get a seat. This typical Berkeley couple hung around for a while anyway to watch the action. Skinny white guy -- check. "People's Republic of Berkeley" t-shirt worn half seriously, half in jest -- check. Nerdy Asian girlfriend -- check. All systems go!
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of one of the event organizers shouting "You're gonna have to leave the building now" (QuickTime, 5.3mb) as the protesters scream "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!" The situation was rapidly deteriorating as the inexperienced Berkeley Campus Republicans were completely incapable of calming the crowd.
So, despite the fire safety regulations, they decided to let the lecture begin anyway.
The people in the hallway couldn't see into the lecture room, but near the door Michelle Malkin's face appeared on a small TV screen being monitored by a technician who was recording the event on videotape.
Word quickly spread that Malkin had started her lecture anyway, despite all attempts to shut her down. Outraged, the crowd converged on the door and tried to force their way in. They were rebuffed by guards and a handful of campus police.
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of the protesters screaming, "Racist roundups -- we say no! Michelle Malkin's got to go!" (QuickTime, 2mb) in an attempt to disrupt the lecture, having been rebuffed in their rush on the lecture hall.
Undeterred, Malkin kept right on speaking. I struggled my way to the front, took up a position right next to the video technician, and snapped a shot of Malkin in action. A lot of male protesters were jockeying for position in front of the monitor, unable to tear their eyes off Malkin's face.
Having foreseen such an eventuality, a senior protestor unveiled a sign saying "A Fox(y) Fascist is Still a Fascist!," a warning to his fellow male protesters to not be influenced by Malkin's famously good looks.
Forced by the throng of rubberneckers away from the screen, I wandered through the crowd to find Marxists...
and the usual collection of conspiracy theorists. (The sign reads, "What about WTC7 where the Enron documents mysteriously burned?", referring to a far-left conspiracy theory that one of the smaller buildings in the Word Trade Center complex, called WTC7, was not destroyed by the collapse of the towers but instead was blown up by US government agents on 9/11 in order to destroy documents related to the Enron scandal that were stored inside.)
But Malkin just couldn't be stopped. Her image on the screen continued to infuriate the protesters who tried to drown her out with chants of ever-increasing volume.
Click on the screenshot above to see and hear a video clip of the protesters screaming, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" at top volume (QuickTime, 2.8mb).
Despite all the ruckus, the lecture went off without a hitch. When it was over, the doors opened and the crowd filed out into the night. As we all left, I snapped one last picture of a sign on the wall that pretty much summed up the evening.