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Sirhan Sirhan dedication backfires on Bill Ayers 36 years later

September 24th, 2010 - 9:37 am

Zombietime post about Ayers’ book Prairie Fire leads to his denial of Emeritus status

During Barack Obama’s 2008 run for the presidency, I dug up an extremely rare original edition of Prairie Fire, the forgotten communist manifesto co-written by Obama’s friend and colleague William Ayers, and I published excerpts of the book at zombietime.

As I wrote at the time, “This essay only exists to correct and unequivocally debunk claims routinely made by the mainstream media over the last few weeks … that William Ayers wasn’t such a bad guy after all, and that it is no shame to be associated with him.” Read the full essay to see the full extent of the devastating evidence against Ayers.

In my exposé, I highlighted what I thought were the most noteworthy aspects of Prairie Fire, including the part where Ayers brags about and then lists in detail the numerous terrorist bombings he carried out in the 1970s; where he describes himself as a communist, and cites his desire for a communist revolution to overthrow the United States; where he cites the many motivations driving the Weather Underground’s terror campaign, most of which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Vietnam War (as the media endlessly claims to this day); and so on. I also listed the many close links between Ayers and Obama.

Almost as an aside, I pointed out halfway through the report an absurd detail that I noticed by accident when scanning one of the book’s pages — that Ayers and his co-authors had dedicated Prairie Fire to (among dozens of lesser known criminals and radicals) Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin who killed Robert F. Kennedy.

If this had been an isolated fact, it would have been outrageous enough, but compared to the numerous other outrages in the book, it practically didn’t even seem worth mentioning — at least to my mind.

Boy, was I wrong.

As I had hoped, the report did ignite a massive amount of publicity and coverage. But most of that coverage barely mentioned most of the damning facts which I had highlighted; instead, to my astonishment, the blog posts and TV reports and newspaper articles focused almost entirely on the Sirhan Sirhan dedication, which somehow struck a nerve in the national consciousness.

Unfortunately, my Prairie Fire essay failed to derail Obama’s run for the White House, but now two years later it has had an unexpected side effect — a fitting and ironic postscript to the whole affair:

Bill Ayers denied emeritus status at UIC

Son of RFK — now U. of I. board chair — rips prof for dedicating book to his father’s assassin

When retiring University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers co-wrote a book in 1973 [sic], it was dedicated in part to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy.

That came back to haunt Ayers when the U. of I. board, now chaired by Kennedy’s son, considered his request for emeritus status Thursday. It was denied in a unanimous vote.

Before the vote, an emotional Chris Kennedy spoke out against granting the status to Ayers.

“I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy,” he said.

“There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil, or to the hopes of our founding fathers for their great experiment of a self-governing people, than to permanently seal off debate with one’s opponents by killing them.”

Take that, Bill Ayers!


[Scan of part of the dedication page; see the original report for the full-page scan and more details.]

See also Michelle Malkin: Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers denied emeritus status

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