A protest organised by Lasair Dhearg, and involving representatives from People Before Profit and Academics Against Apartheid, gathered on University Road in Belfast on the morning of September 24th, 2021 as Hillary Rodham Clinton posed for journalists and television crews covering her inauguration as the first female Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast.
Chants of ‘shame on Queen’s’, and ‘Hillary you should be at the Hague’, rang through the air as Clinton walked the short distance from the campus entrance to nearby Whitla Hall for the inauguration.
Several speakers addressed the assembled protestors calling into question her record as U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, including support for intervention in Libya that has brought anarchic conditions, illegal drone strikes over western Asia and Africa, and unequivocal support for Israel.
The promotion of Clinton to a seat of learning must surely be, at the very least, controversial. In a televised interview Clinton once joked about the brutal murder of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, the leader of Libya, saying, “We came, we saw, he died,” before laughing.
Considering her apparent heartless disregard for human life, why would Queen’s University offer Clinton such a prestigious post as Chancellor?
In October, 2018, the University invited Mark Regev, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom to speak, which drew a protest of hundreds of students. This was followed by a visit from Hilary Clinton, coinciding with the establishment of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award in Peace and Reconciliation studies bursary at Queen’s. She also received an honorary doctorate for her ‘exceptional public service in the US and globally, and for her contribution to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.’ This appears to have been a precursor to her instalment as Chancellor.
Modern universities are no longer only seats of learning, but are businesses run for profit, with huge salaries for those running the organisations, and significant grants available, especially from technology and pharmaceutical companies.
In order to benefit from research and development grants and encourage greater ties between American corporations and the University, Queen’s seem to be whitewashing Clinton’s record.
Hillary Clinton has history in Ireland. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited Belfast and is seen as a central figure in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
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She is now milking this for all it’s worth, portraying herself as a mentor, who still has something to offer the youth of Ireland. Yet she has blood on her hands, and an unhealthy disregard for democracy, human rights and the sanctity of life.
Students across the Western hemisphere are increasingly calling for Justice for Palestine, even as the Israeli lobby works hard to censor and dismiss academics who call Israel an Apartheid state. Indeed, writer Sally Rooney recently declined to have her new novel translated into Hebrew in protest against the conduct of Israel. Queen’s University Belfast now appears to be on the wrong side of history in appointing Hilary Clinton.
Lasair Dhearg’s Pól Torbóid, who helped organise and also spoke at the event, said,
Queen’s University’s complicity in the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton and her war crimes further epitomises the university’s role in an international framework of imperialism that sees it not only glorify warmongers like Clinton, but have immense financial investment in military contracts and companies guilty of immense environmental destruction.
As US secretary for war, she authorised over 400 drone strikes across multiple nations, which overwhelmingly killed civilians and even children at a proportion of almost 90%.
She labelled black men ‘super-predators’ when she helped lobby for the 1994 US Clinton Crime Bill, which was immensely important in creating the mass incarceration levels that exists today in the US to benefit the prison-industrial complex – which is a system of slavery by new means.
A Zionist, Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be an enemy of Palestinian liberation, siding with the oppressor every time it mattered, like during the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign of Gaza. She increased annual US funding to Israel from 2.5billion, to 3.1 billion US dollars whilst she was US Secretary of State, and she stated that countering the BDS movement globally should be a priority for Israel’s defence.
Unfortunately all these arguments are falling on deaf ears as Queen’s University appears to have entered into a Faustian pact with corporate America in appointing Hillary Clinton as Chancellor.
Feature Image: Clinton, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on Operation Neptune Spear in the White House Situation Room on May 1, 2011. Everyone in the room is watching a live feed from drones operating over the Osama bin Laden complex.
An earlier version of this article appeared in Al Mayadeen.