Letter to the Editor: Protestor’s response


    Dear Editor,

    I received a piece of fan mail, recently, concerning my (evidently) disturbing quote in The Universe on Thursday, July 5, which covered the recent Provo book burning. After the tongue lashing I got in that email, I think I should publicly respond to the author’s comments and others who may be angry about the incident.

    First, I must assure everyone that I, as well as many others involved in the book burning, fully appreciate the irony of the actions we took. Though we may not possess a sense of history our elders would hold in awe, we know who the Nazis were.

    Our little bonfire was highly symbolic, not of our wish to destroy others’ freedom, but of our frustration at freedom we believe has been taken away.

    None of us, whether student, professor or city council member, can honestly be compared with the image of a Nazi. That’s hardly the point.

    However, individuals and groups seeking to draw the public’s attention to an injustice often draw upon powerful, popular symbolism to convey their message. Conscientious objectors, suffragettes, Ghandi and Jesus Christ were all masters of this art.

    Second, I would like to respond to those who argue that we disgruntled students should have used legal or regular political means to do something about the ordinance we were protesting. We did. It just didn’t make the headlines.

    Our event on June 28 was just a frustrated outgrowth of several months of unproductive meetings. Civil disobedience has also been mentioned as an option. In some non-eloquent but characteristic words of my generation, “Been there, done that.” At this point, lots of normal college-kid things we do are considered civil disobedience.

    Third, I must thank Mr. Gutenberg for making possible the mindless destruction of textbooks by protesters far and wide. Instead of extinguishing the flame of political inquiry, my act of burning “Theories of War and Peace” has encouraged further discussion and, for all you capitalists, stimulated the economy.

    I’ll probably have to buy another copy of the book in graduate school.

    Rachel Kirkland

    Sylacauga, Alaska

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