We are currently living in a period of history that one may call frightening, if not downright terrifying. In that vein, I would like to submit for your perusal this poem from George Orwell’s book 1984:
“Under the spreading Chestnut tree/I sold you, and you sold me/There they lie, and there lies we/Under the spreading Chestnut tree.”
This quote is used in the novel, to illustrate the power of oppressive regimes to undermine even our most precious relationships. The true strength of such groups stems from the weakness inherent in all of us when we follow the path of least resistance and do not stand together in times of extraordinary duress.
Our university community has recently come under attack: islamophobia, racism and support of extremist politicians have infiltrated our beautiful community. This perversion of our most basic values has, in turn, led to divisiveness and disrespect, an unacceptable state of affairs indeed.
All hope need not be abandoned, however, for it is precisely this environment which can foster opportunities to renew our commitment to love and respect. Can we all find the courage and strength to resist the synonymous forces of hatred and fear?
We most certainly can. There are numerous organizations at our university which operate on the precepts of intersectionality, safer space and anti-oppression.
This letter is intended to be an open invitation for all students to protest injustice by joining or volunteering with one of the many clubs and organizations at the university such as the Women’s Resource Centre, the Q Centre, the Faith and Spirituality Centre and the Women’s Studies and Feminist Club — to name a few- — and to reject the political movements that favour exclusion and distrust in favor of that most essential aspect of humanity: love.
Hamish A.W.K. Tregarthen
Second-year anthropology and