The peers that I interact with, across the political spectrum and with a varying breakdown of identities and backgrounds, are more concerned with being normal college students than political actors in both an academic and social setting. Within a classroom setting, an academic and intellectual stance is taken on most issues, more aligned with a sophisticated conversation than a partisan talking point.
There is hardly an accusation more damning in American political discourse than to be declared a “sponsor of terrorism.” We are used to certain countries, primarily Iran, being labeled by government officials and media outlets as state sponsors of terrorism. In the case of Iran, this claim is certainly true. But Sun columnist Michael Johns ’20, echoing a statement by former President George W. Bush, takes this accusation to the extreme by claiming that Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The recent historical record, however, shows that this is far from true: It is the United States that routinely tops the list of rogue states with little regard for international law and diplomatic norms.
To make such an accusation against a country merits an investigation into its veracity. Johns references Iranian support for violent non-governmental actors such as the Lebanese militant-political party Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias in Iraq, as well as its ties to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as proof that Iran reigns world champion of terrorism.
The most alarming thing I’ve heard since coming to America is, “Since when were you so anti-China?” This came from my brother, who can tell me the angles six different international news agencies take on various issues, while I — reliant on my free student subscription of The New York Times — could reference only one. I decided that my brother’s balance on issues is something I need to learn from, as shown when he responded on what he thought a friend’s stance on Hong Kong was with: “Pro-stability.”
The tendency of American college activism to personify governments and populations into single entities with moral character is something I’ve since tried to distance myself from. In particular, the way this habit voids “the enemy’s” perspective. When I juxtapose this tendency with our campus climate’s simultaneous desire to give her diverse student body equal cultural voice, I am puzzled by the contradiction and cognizant of the way it politicizes aspects of culture that I grew up believing are better unpoliticized. Yet, reflecting on recent Rosh Hashanah and Mid-Autumn Festival festivities, I realize I too am homogenizing cultural expression when I carry this belief.