The specter of a sinful past

University asylum legislation was introduced to dispel fear. Union members, the rationale was, should be concerned about police officers in their midst. Likewise, no one should fear that the army will ever again invade the Polytechnic building. The post-Civil War state and the junta were supposed to become bad memories. But fears remain, despite the asylum. Professors who played an important role in the history of the leftist movement no longer mince their words. They no longer hesitate to point a finger at the fascism exercised by small (and ostensibly leftist) groups in universities. When expensive computers are stolen from professors’ offices, senior academics say, «Don’t call the police for that will cause a fuss.» They do not want to become targets. Those who were involved in the real Polytechnic uprising in 1973 are left to moan about their lost dreams. They wonder if they have got too old and settled for a comfortable life, hence preventing themselves from grasping the fire of youth. Then they consider the broken labs, the stolen computers – all that violence only for the sake of violence. They see frustrated young people who can aspire to nothing more than a visit to the mall and a frappe at the local coffee shop. The fear eventually turns to anger. And here’s the big dilemma. The law allows the police, if accompanied with the prosecutor, to step in when a crime is committed on university premises. The premier shudders at the thought of a dead student, a tragedy which would unravel his centrist image. The same voters who now want the law change may well reconsider if a student died in an altercation with police. Society is trying to strike a balance between relentless violence and a sinful past. Failure to do so will play into the hands of extreme right-wing politicians. Meanwhile, the elites will send their children to more civilized universities abroad.

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