By Luke Lavender
Before I begin this article, written below is entirely my own opinion and is open to complete debate. In fact, I welcome and invite all debates and opinions. The purpose of the article is not an acceptance of the hate but a denunciation of it, a welcoming of voice and a reconciliation between all.
Fear and division. These are words that no one, student or not, wants to live by. This article is not an attempt to reinforce this fear and division, it is an attempt to quell these uproars and reconcile the divide. Falmouth is a town that should not be a ‘no-go zone’ for anyone and attempts to shut down this debate in the name of ‘us’ against ‘them’ is not fruitful for anyone now or in the future.
If it has not become clear, this article is a direct address to the fear, division and tensions sparked by a letter sent to the university addressing students and the so-called ‘Nazis’ at Falmouth University.
This anonymous hate group named FHS (Falmouth Hates Students) which sent the letter has to continue to be seen as a threat. This call to vigilance does not mean that we, however, need to reinforce the divide and fuel the pyre of hate and division kindled by a dissenting minority. It means that we the ‘students’ should not retaliate to this with scorn, anger and malaise but react with an understanding that reconciles these concerns.
The preface of this ‘hate group’ is to establish students as a homogenous block of misery. Any attempts to fuel this perception are not only untrue but also dangerous – not only for students but all within our lovely town.
My paramount concern is that not all within Falmouth hate students; it is a very vocal and extreme minority. This is a fact that must be reiterated repeatedly not by ‘students’ alone but all who do not wish to hide behind hate.
There may be concerns raised that I am providing FHS with a voice and platform. To this I say yes, yes, of course I am. Why would I not give them a platform, remove their anonymity and allow a discussion to erode this hate and division they wish to fuel.
My provision of a platform is not to accept or condone the actions. The purpose is quite the opposite – it is to denounce the hate and open the discussion. The question all must ask is, Why the damage? Why the hate? Why now? Moreover, to what end? I cannot over-state that, in my opinion, these acts of aggression are far from any reasonable behaviour. For me, writing this article comes from a privilege of not being a receiver of this hate, I cannot however speak for those who have. There can be no disagreement that you reading this and I writing this should have to accept this division, this hatred and this fear.
We, whoever we are, cannot fool ourselves into thinking this hate is inevitable. In my opinion, it is not. The divide, antagonism and damage of this hate cannot be overstated. We cannot let hate take the place of words, dialogue and cooperation. We cannot allow this to happen; not only due to our own concerns – but also due to very concern we must show for all we live with in this world, whether they be students, anonymous or voiceless.
To this affect, I say, give the voiceless a voice, give the anonymous a face and give all a chance to understand, talk and cooperate in order to overcome this division and end this hatred and harm. It is imperative all demonstrate that violence and other extreme measures to snatch attention do not reconcile hate but engulf hate in a fire of misperception.
We as students need to break a misperception that we do not listen; we are not ‘Nazis’. We need to make sure there are options beyond that of a ‘no go area’ of violence and escalation. I write this as clearly as I can, we need to listen, talk and act not for the sake of hate but for cooperation and reconciliation in ‘having our lovely town back.’
Before I close, I am one of the most happy to be wrong. If this ‘extreme minority’, as I have called FHS, it is not a minority then my concerns cannot be disregarded but must be addressed with further urgency. We, all of us, are in no war, we are in Falmouth and the least anyone can expect is to talk. No matter how large the minority may be, we have no reason not to listen. In fact all must listen all must talk and none must hate.
To deny this is to do a disservice not only to the reputation of the lovely little town we are in, but also of all people within this town.