North Texas Daily

Rice talks 9/11, other crises

Rice talks 9/11, other crises

April 17
11:25 2013

Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice spoke about the fabric of the U.S. and international crises at the UNT Coliseum to about 3,500 people last night as part of UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Rice began her speech with a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, and then spoke about three shocks to international politics in the last few years— the Sept. 11 attacks, the 2008 economic crisis and the Arab Spring.

“If you were in a position of power on Sept. 11, it felt like every day afterward was Sept. 12,” Rice said.

Rice said that while all three events will keep global events in a state of flux, she said the Arab Spring made her reflect most on what it means to be American.

“Make no mistake about it, we were once those people in Tahrir Square,” she said.

Rice went on to speak about what she said makes America what it is—the fact that being born into one class of society doesn’t bind Americans to that class. She said that the crises in elementary and primary schools were “the greatest threat to national security in our nation.”

She said the key to keeping social status flexible was education, and if she was able to know by a child’s zip code whether or not they were going to get a good education, then class really did bind Americans from birth.

Rice had spoken for a little more than 20 minutes when protestors from both sides of the auditorium began chanting “No blood for oil.”

“You’re in a university, and in a university we listen to different views,” Rice said in response.

Student protestors also lined the south entrances of the gymnasium. The International Socialist Organization, Denton Anti-War Network and Radical Alliance for Gender Equality were all represented.

“She’s been responsible for the deaths of millions of people,” said International Socialist Organization member and anthropology senior Elizabeth Clinton. “She was part of the push behind the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. She was part of the upper echelon of the U.S. state when protestors were being suppressed. She doesn’t care about the suffering of other human beings.”

Clinton also said the $165,000 she believes UNT paid Rice to speak spurred some of the protest. UNT did not disclose the actual amount the university paid Rice to the  North Texas Daily, but a Freedom of Information Act request has been filed with the Attorney General seeking the amount.

Other members of the Bush administration have spoken at the Distinguished Lecture Series in the past couple years. In 2010, Bush was paid $100,000 to speak and in 2011 former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was paid $108,000 to speak.

Undeclared freshman Brandon Sheehy said the protestors were ill-informed and naïve.

“I think war is a very complicated thing,” he said. “Violence sometimes has to be answered with violence. I would say, given the information [the Bush Administration] had, they made the smartest decisions.”

Rice closed with this advice to students: to find a passion and to not get surrounded by people with the same viewpoint.

“If you find yourself in the company of people who say ‘amen’ to everything you say, find other company,” Rice said.

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