Irvine 11 protester, Osama Shabaik, who had been asked to speak at the upcoming TEDxUC Irvine conference was dropped from the event by its organizers Saturday, February 18. While the event is being held at UC Irvine, the decision was not one made by the UC Irvine administration, but rather UCI students who are organizing the event. After initially being dropped, a few concerned students emailed the organizers expressing their disappointment in the decision and noted that the organizers failed to uphold TED talks values, which propose to believe “in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world,” and claim to be “a global community... welcoming people from every discipline and culture.”
In response to initial pressure, the organizers have said they will revisit the issue and discuss whether or not Osama will be allowed to speak.
To help make their decision easier we are increasing the pressure and are asking everyone to email the TEDx organizers expressing their disappointment with the decision, the organizers’ failure to uphold TED values, and to demand Osama Shabaik be reinstated as a speaker.
- TEDx UC Irvine
As a community member that was excited to attend the upcoming TEDxUC Irvine event, I am gravely disappointed to hear about the organizers’ refusal to allow Osama Shabaik to speak. It is disturbing that the TEDx organizers would censor a person’s right to speak when the TED talks are committed to “the power of ideas.” Voices, especially those not found in the mainstream, must be given an equal opportunity to be heard and discussed. The TED mission statement speaks to this along with the importance of “free knowledge and the exchange of ideas.” By silencing voices, TEDx will fail to live up to it’s own ideals. I urge you to reconsider your decision and to reinstate Osama Shabaik as a speaker. Anything short of this would be an insult and a failure to live up to the values of TED.
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