By Linda Bentley | MARCH 2, 2016

What does 2016 herald for DFL and censorship?

CAVE CREEK – On Jan. 14, Dr. Steve Carol, author and retired professor with a Ph.D. in history specializing in the Middle East, held a speaking engagement at Desert Foothills Library (DFL) titled “What does 2016 Herald for the Middle East and for the United States?” as a tie-in with the release of his newest book: “Understanding the Volatile and Dangerous Middle East.

The 998-page paperback book is available on for just under $60 or $27.99 for the Kindle version.

According to a reviewer, who gave it a five-star out of five star rating, “This is a truly comprehensive, readable reference on the history, geography, and politics of the Middle East. It covers the entire region and the full timeline beginning around 1400 BCE (Israel’s earliest days) with the heaviest emphasis on modern times, right up through 2015. There is excellent coverage, for example, of all the wars involving Israel.”

The reviewer goes on to say, “Some history books can be a real chore to read, but Dr. Carol has taught high-school through college-level courses, and he knows how to write for those readers, not just his fellow researchers. Any student or author preparing a term paper, article, presentation, or book on the Middle East would do well have this text as a prime source. So would anyone traveling to the Middle East on business or diplomacy. The bibliography, end notes, timeline tables, and maps are thorough.”

Before retiring from teaching, Carol spent about four decades in the classroom.

Dr. Steve Carol

Carol is also the official historian and most frequent guest on “Middle East Radio Forum” on KKNT 960 AM, now in its 13th year of broadcast.

Carol was invited to speak at DFL back in 2008 about an earlier book of his about the Middle East and said the executive director at the time, told him the well over 100 people in attendance was the second largest turnout in the library’s history.

To help DFL promote the speaking event on the library’s flyer, Carol provided a short blurb about his book along with a photo.

Carol thought it was interesting that the library did not use the photo Carol provided and instead used an image of a crescent moon and star, indicating the subject was about Islam, which it was not.

The event was also promoted on the library calendar as the book title rather than the event title.

When Carol pointed this out to DFL Marketing and Program Manager Dereth Dehaan, he said she told him she didn’t proof the insert for the library’s flyer.

Because the library has since divided up its conference rooms, his January event was limited to 66 persons.

Pre-enrollment filled up in less than a week, so, at Carol’s suggestion, a second session was added the same day, consecutive to the first session.

Total attendance was 130, while others interested in attending had to be turned away.
According to Carol, only two people during both sessions got up and left and there were no hostile or argumentative questions from the audience.

Carol said afterwards the library agreed, in order to accommodate those who could not attend, he would return to do another double-header on March 31 with the topic adjusted to reflect the most current state of the Middle East.

However, about a week later, Carol said he received a call from the library, which abruptly cancelled his March 31 appearance, claiming the subject was not suitable and they had received some negative feedback.

Instead, they offered to rent him a conference room for $75 and informed him his appearance would not be sponsored by or receive any publicity from the library.

David Court

Carol said after looking into the cancelation, it was revealed only 10 people complained about the event, including Executive Director David Court, who didn’t attend, and Dehaan, whom Carol said attended for a very brief period of time.

Carol urged Sonoran News to watch the video of the event, which can be found on YouTube (, and said it seemed to him the library was engaging in censorship, whereas, “if you don’t like the message, ban the messenger.”

Carol said it is virtually impossible to speak about the Middle East without presenting factual evidence, stating, “For example, it was the Obama administration that brought about the vacuum and mess that Libya is in today.”

He said, “One can’t be ‘PC’ and try to talk about the Middle East objectively.”

Carol didn’t simply single out the Obama administration either, he also spoke about events that took place during the Nixon, Carter and Bush administrations.

Carol said his main concern is that the town’s library, which is supposed to serve the public, has opted instead to ban a topic that is at the forefront of American security.

He called the library’s decision “an affront to liberty and, specifically, freedom of speech.”

When Sonoran News spoke to Court, he said the March 31 event was canceled due to a “number of observations” from 10 different people.

Although Court admitted he didn’t attend either event, he claimed the complaints were about the content being “political in nature rather than factual.”

Despite only two people getting up and leaving, it seemed odd those complaining would choose to remain so they could become offended.

When asked if he believed that was a good reason for the library to invoke censorship, Court said, “That’s your word, not mine.”

Court defended the cancelation by saying they instead offered to rent Carol a room to hold his speaking engagements.

According to Court, they rent rooms to people who are holding private or commercial events.

Court then stated the library has another program: “Fundamentalism in the Middle East” scheduled for Feb. 29, which he said was already scheduled in advance.

When reminded Carol’s March 31 event was also scheduled in advanced but subsequently canceled, Court stated they will be monitoring the Feb. 29 event “very carefully.”

Considering Court neither attended Carol’s events nor watched the video prior to canceling his March engagement, it will be interesting to know what “monitoring very carefully” means.

After watching the video of Carol’s January event, Sonoran News found Carol to be extremely knowledgeable, factual and passionate about the subject.

Although politics have, no doubt, played a large role in the current state of affairs in the Middle East, Carol only incorporated politics from a historical standpoint and as necessary to present the facts.