Sunday, 29 October 2017

FOR WHOM THE WORDS TOLL


Lucía Martínez Valdivia, Assistant Professor of English at Reed College in Oregon has sounded the alarm about extremism on campus.

In an article titled, "Professors like me can’t stay silent about this extremist moment on campuses" published in the Washington Post on October 28, 2017, Professor Martínez describes how some students have been silencing others.

Her words ring like tolling bells in my mind. Bells that take me back to my college days when the rage in the activists and radicals threatened faculty and students into stunned silence.









‘Introduction to Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean’ 
Students at Reed consider the course 'racist'.

Martínez writes: "The right to speak freely is not the same as the right to rob others of their voices."

Exactly.

When I was in college, the moderate students used to say to the rads that we had our own opinions; we could think for ourselves. But that heightened their efforts to recruit militants. Within three years, Argentina roiled with rage, and the war began. The tsunami of terror the students unleashed was conceived and executed in the halls of academia. Ours was a revolution of the mind.

"At Reed and nationwide, we have largely stayed silent, probably hoping that this extremist moment in campus politics eventually peters out." 

Moment? Read on ...

"But it is wishful thinking to imagine that the conversation will change on its own. It certainly won’t change if more voices representing more positions aren’t added to it."

I agree with Professor Martínez. This is not a moment but a trend, and it will change if we: at home, in school, in government and business, speak out for moderation, encourage discussion, and remember that communication is a two-way street. 

When communication breaks down, violence begins. In Argentina, the death of dialogue sparked a civil war which left thousands dead, maimed, disappeared.

There were no heroes in terrorist Argentina. Only victims.

We cannot let it happen here.