An Inclusive Litany

10/17/01

San Diego State's Daily Aztec reports that Zewdalem Kebede, a native Ethiopian student and naturalized American citizen, was accused of "verbal harassment" after he criticized four Saudi students he overheard speaking in their native Arabic, gleeful about the September 11 attack and voicing regret it missed the White House. Kebede says he approached the Saudis and replied, in Arabic: "Guys, what you are talking is unfair. How do you feel happy when those 5,000 to 6,000 people are buried in two or three buildings? They are under the rubble or they became ash. And you are talking about the action of bin Laden and his group. You are proud of them. You should have to feel shame."

The Saudi students, who were not named because they are considered victims of a crime, filed a police complaint for harassment. Kebede was summoned before the Center for Student Rights where, after recounting the exchange, he was told "that future involvement in confronting members of the campus community in a manner that is found to be aggressive or abusive will result in severe disciplinary sanctions," also warning him to conduct himself "as a responsible member of the campus community in the future." Kebede was placed on probation.

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