Re: speaking out

From: David Daniel Preiss Contreras (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2005 - 12:18:54 PST

What a distrubing article, Tony! Thanks for sharing!


Tony Whitson writes:

> This is by no means just a cultural legacy. There is a concerted political
> effort underway, as celebrated in this January 14 opinion piece in the
> Wall Street Journal:
> On Tue, 1 Feb 2005, David Daniel Preiss Contreras wrote:
>> For what is worth, and making clear that I am a relative outsider in the
>> academic community of the USA, studying there my experience was that
>> speaking aloud about so-called political issues was judged inadequate for
>> some student colleagues around, who did not want to bring this issues to
>> their jobs or to their email inboxes. The problem is, of course, that
>> some of those so-called political issues are ethical issues. Torture is
>> wrong. Preventive wars are wrong. Killing tens of civilians is wrong.
>> Hiding the American casualties from the public view is wrong. Making
>> death and genocide relative is wrong. And it is totally right to say that
>> they are wrong. What is wrong is to keep silence.
>> I remember being bitten for raising the issue of Abu Graib when sending a
>> link to the torture pics by a student who thought I was taking an
>> inadequate stand. What was my right to judge these soldiers, this guy
>> implied. I assume he was mad at the fact that I was not American as well
>> and was judging American actions. I did not want to enter into a
>> discussion about how commonly the USA judge the practices of others and
>> how I had a right to openly criticize torture and how relevant it was to
>> do that in an academic context. I just asserted my right to criticize
>> torture everywhere it happens. Unfortunately, during all my years at the
>> USA, I never heard any graduate student talking aloud against the Iraqi
>> war or against the militrary practices of the government but in some
>> local issues that are politically correct. I heard them too much talking
>> about their academic work as if that work happened in a miracolous
>> vacuum. If the students don't speak out, who does? I remember that during
>> those days an email written by Zimbardo talking about students' apathy
>> circulated. I wonder how students apathy has been build and fostered by
>> the academic community. Do students feel afraid that they might not get a
>> job if they come out and talk? Or they do not feel an ethical concern
>> about what is going on? I assume that some people don;t speak out by
>> academic politeness. But, when does academic politenness turn out to be
>> ethically dangerous? David D. Preiss
>> home page:
> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

David D. Preiss
home page:

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