Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Juxtaposition

"There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part; and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all."

~ Mario Savio, Free Speech Movement

The Tsunami Relief Coalition, "touted as the largest student coalition since the Free Speech Movement," is near over. We are still awaiting the Greeks' contribution to the cause. The goal for both the Residence Halls and the Greeks was to get 50% of their populations to donate an average of three dollars. For the Greeks, according to Panhellenic sources, this would amount to about $3300.

The deadline for the collection envelopes that have been distributed to the Greek houses was pushed back a week and will be collected on Wednesday's Presidents' Councils.

Results notwithstanding, the Greek community has been receiving pretty favorable press. This is a great development; hopefully philanthropy could continue being a motive force in this system.

Going back to the Free Speech Movement, however, it doesn't seem that there were very many participants or volunteers. The most recent Daily Cal article described 50 runners lacing up their shoes to run in this past Saturday's 5K run/walk.

I don't want to make speculations as to how hard the organizers of the events worked--most likely, they put a lot of dedication and time into the process. However, what does it say when our campus, the flagship of student activism, can only muster up 50 runners, or can only fill part of Upper Sproul for the candlelight vigil, held last Tuesday?

One could argue that the issue of free speech was more salient and had more inspirational leaders. But, how are the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the destruction of huge swathes of coastline not reason enough to go to one single student-run event back at rainy, but safe, Berkeley?

Never mind how much the Greek community raises. A three-dollar donation is a start, but it is not enough. We will be stuck in the same rut of getting busted by police for illegal parties unless we can think along the lines of Savio and his compatriots in the Free Speech Movement.

There is change that needs to be made. What are we doing to effect that change?