Opinions

Re: " Universal freedoms," Oct. 18, 2001,

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

     A controversial and inflammatory exhibition of photographs appeared in the north courtyard of the MacEwan Student Centre Fri., Oct. 12. It portrayed Chinese-occupied Tibet in a most "flattering" manner.

There were several reasons for the strong and emotional reaction expressed in response to the display. The blatantly unjust and one-sided representation of the situation in Tibet provoked outrage in anyone who possesses a broader understanding of the events that have occurred following the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

The unexpected appearance of the exhibit, in addition to the lack of personnel available to explain it and the failure of its supporters to clearly indicate who had sponsored the display, were occurrences that should trouble any supporter of liberty and justice. No one explained that the Calgary Chinese Students' and Scholars' Association had sponsored it or that it presented the Chinese government's perspective. To the uninformed passer-by, it may have even seemed as though the Students' Union had given its support to the display, or that the CCSSA had somehow managed to bypass the usual process for setting up a display through the SU. This, of course, couldn't be true.

The heart of the matter however, is freedom of speech and the necessity for ideas to be given the opportunity to compete in a democratic society. In the Oct. 18 editorial, those seeking to dismantle the one-sided exhibit were accused of failing to recognize the importance of freedom of speech. However, this editorial neglected to consider how the supporters of Tibetan independence had already been thwarted in their attempts to invoke their freedom of speech. Not only were they denied the ability to set up a rival display nearby, but the editorial specifically discouraged them from using the Gauntlet to voice their views.

Students at the University of Calgary have not received a democratic presentation of all relevant viewpoints and facts concerning Chinese-occupied Tibet. Students for a Free Tibet guarantee they will make a wider scope of information available on campus as soon as possible--for all those who are interested and in the interest of democracy.

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