Fitna kijken in Berkeley

Nieuws | de redactie
8 april 2008 | Een erg dure CvB-voorzitter, discussies over Fitna met je medestudenten. Belevenissen in Calfornia lijken voor columnist Jonathan Mijs soms verrassend dicht bij huis. 'During Spring Break, our tree-sitter stepped down. From the tree, that is. But not long after, a new protest arose. This protest has to do with the appointment of the new UC President: the current Chancellor of the University of Texas, Mark Yudof.

At first, his appointment was celebrated and his personaappraised – Yudof is a distinguished researcher and fits the UCprofile in his preoccupation with issues such as free speech andgender discrimination. Controversy arose when the financial aspectsof his appointment were made public: Yudof will be earning $828,084annually in wage and compensations. In the words of Richard Blum,chair of the Board of Regents who appointed him: “He’s expensive,but he’s worth it”. Others, however, have not been sogenerous.

Meanwhile, (the city of) Berkeley witnesses another form ofprotest. Yesterday a local software company announced it willrelocate outside of the city as a protest against the Berkeleypolice department and, consequently, the city’s mayor. The police,the company’s CEO argues, is failing to guarantee safety andorderliness in downtown Berkeley as too large a share of thedepartment’s officers are caught up dealing with yet anotherprotest: that of the anti-war protesters, surrounding the US Marinerecruitment center. The mayor’s decision to allow these protestersthe space and time to voice their opinion, it is argued, has beendetrimental to the business climate – eventually resulting in thecompany’s drastic step.

At our house, we decided to have a discussion session of our ownregarding the Fitna-movie release. We watched the movie in a quitediverse group of people (i.e. of Iranian, German, Chinese,American and of course Dutch origin), but were unified in ourperception of the movie: we all accepted the right of someone,anyone, to make a movie like this and we all agreed that itprobably wouldn’t be very beneficial to the ‘problems’ Wilders isaddressing. We exchanged opinions, rather, on issues such as thepossible differences, when it comes to freedom of speech, betweenpolitician and civilians; and the frictionbetween accepting dominant ideology and respecting dissent.

All in all an enlightening experience for me to get a glance ofwhat other people think of the things that I accept as ‘normal’.Now the waiting is for a translation of Rita’s maidenspeech to appear online, so we can complete the ‘introductionto Dutch politics’.

Jonathan Mijs

Schrijf je in voor onze nieuwsbrief
ScienceGuide is bij wet verplicht je toestemming te vragen voor het gebruik van cookies.
Lees hier over ons cookiebeleid en klik op OK om akkoord te gaan