Oct 022006
 
Authors: KEVIN JOHNSON The Rocky Mountain Collegian

A left-wing radio host is set to speak at CSU tonight.

David Barsamian, who is featured on KRFC 88.9FM, based out of Boulder, has been a staple in the world of Alternative Radio since 1978 when he moved to Boulder from New York City.

Barsamian’s talk – titled “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” – will focus on the war in Iraq, other conflicts in the Middle East and the possibility of an American attack against Iran.

“The Bush administration claims that it wants peace, but its actions are the exact opposite,” Barsamian said in a telephone interview Sunday night.

“They are using 9/11 to justify everything from torture to warrantless wire tapping to illegal searches. This is a rogue regime.”

Barsamian is set to appear at 7 p.m. in room 100 of the Engineering Building.

“I’m entirely self-taught, I have no background in radio or journalism, all on-the-job training,” he said.

Barsamian has done extensive interviews with several prominent leftist intellectuals, including Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, with whom Barsamian collaborated on a book of interviews, “Imperial Ambitions.”

Thanks to recent comments by Hugo Chavez at the United Nations Summit praising Chomsky, sales of “Imperial Ambitions” have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

Chomsky and Barsamian have a solid friendship that started when Barsamian read one of Chomsky’s books in the late ’70s and wrote the author a letter.

“I just said, ‘I really liked your book, it was excellent, thank you for writing it,’ and he wrote back. I was surprised; with a lot of famous people you don’t really expect a reply. so I wrote him another letter and he wrote back and we started this correspondence and then I asked if we could do an interview and we did, and that was the beginning.”

This interview-interviewee relationship developed into a friendship that includes regular correspondence, dinners and even sailing.

“The first time I ever went sailing, Noam Chomsky took me on Cape Cod on his sail boat,” Barsamian said.

“He is a very unassuming guy, there are no power plays and you never feel like you are inferior or a lesser person. He is very humble.”

Ian Overton, vice president of Finding Racial and Economic Equality, the group that helped sponsor the event, said that Barsamian will present a unique perspective.

“Barsamian will offer a different point of view that is not just Democrat or Republican, which is what you are normally exposed to on a college campus,” said Overton, a junior political science major.

Tonight’s scheduled talk is based off an interview Barsamian had with iconic author Gore Vidal.

“We wanted David to speak because of his experience with community radio and because he is a wonderful, dynamic speaker,” said Cheryl DiStaso, coordinator of the Center for Justice, Peace and Environment.

Barsamian also addressed an issue on the minds of lots of college students: pot legislation.

The talk show host said recreational pot should be legalized.

“I think there are way too many people in jail who are not criminals who have smoked,” he said. “It is something that is going to take some time to change the culture because I think right now the U.S. is in a grip of Taliban-like fundamentalism.”

Staff writer Kevin Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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David Barsamian is set to speak at 7 p.m. in room 100 of the Engineering Building.

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