Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.
Category Archives: taking the piss
A Letter on Justice and Open Debate …. Harpers’ Magazine, July 7, 2020 ……………..
……… The letter below will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at email@example.com
Anonymous Oriel College Collective …….The letter (below) is a response from [one part of] Oxford University to black students attending as Rhodes Scholars who demand the university removes the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.
Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”. Lord Patten commented: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice.”
Gurminder K. Bhambra, in New York Times, 12 June 2020, with this title “A statue was toppled. Can we talk about the British Empire? “
BRIGHTON, England — Tens of thousands of people protested in British cities in solidarity with those rising up against police brutality against black Americans in the past week. They highlighted similar injustices in Britain. Protesters in the city of Bristol drew connections between a white police officer’s killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, and the histories of colonialism and the slave trade. On Sunday, they toppled the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader, trampled over it and rolled it into Bristol Harbor.
The universe today has been bombarded by medical expertise from every which way pontificating on “solutions” to a covid-pandemic of an extremely complex and varied character. Chandini Liyanagama, a senior Sri Lankan Australian medic, has essayed criticisms of the processes in Sri Lanka on the basis of a webinar broadcast from the island. It is, of course, best to respond to this appraisal on the foundations of the webinar sessions that provoked this assessment. So, I sent it to a few Sri Lankan medicoes within the island for their appraisals.
Daily News Editorial, 4 May 2020