Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Letter From the Editor (Right World View Vol. I, No. 6)

Let me start this letter by sending my sincere condolences to Joseph Zahornacky's friends and family. Though I did not know him well, based on the many stories circulated after the tragedy, it is regrettable that I did not get to spend more time with him. If you read nothing else in this issue, I would encourage you to turn to pages 4 and 5 for a tribute to Joseph Zahornacky by some of his close friends here at Manhattanville.

It is notable the way the entire campus came together in the wake of the tragedy. Here at Manhattanville, there was a massive outpouring of sympathy and support from both the student body and the administration. Despite our relatively small population, enough people cancelled their previous plans to fill a significant portion of the O'Byrne Chapel during the memorial service.

The beginning of this semester has also seen the administration and student body getting along in other matters. Though it started out a bit rocky, on the two major issues thus far into the semester, notably 100 Nights and the finals week schedule, we have managed to come to amicable solutions before it was too late for both issues.

Changing topics, hearing people "trash talk" our country lately has led me to compare our country to others. Perhaps the most striking difference between our country and the so called "better country" (from the perspective of some), the USSR under Stalin, is that we are free to voice any of our dislikes of this country. People living under Stalin in the Soviet Union had no such luxury.

Here in America, people of differing view points will ban together to ensure the right to express their differing viewpoints. Free speech is something that nearly all Americans hold dear. Trying the same dissident speech permitted in our country in the USSR under Stalin would have resulted in vastly different outcomes.

Voicing opposition to the government was not permitted. If you were caught speaking out against the country you were likely to disappear. Not only were you picked up in the dead of night never to be seen again (either killed or sent to rot in some prison for the rest of your life), but the Soviets (or "Reds" as they were sometimes referred to) might then set out to erase you from history. It would be as if you never existed. Quite frankly, I'm proud to be an American living in a country where I and everyone else has no need to fear free thought and expression; a place where behavior like that (making people disappear) certainly wouldn't fly.

Andrew Berman

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