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Madeleine Albright at Stanford
Linda Nyquist brings up a delicate point: how should foreign students behave when they feel the host country is unjust toward their own. She writes:
In spite of what you might call my "liberal tendencies," I do find it disheartening for students, and others, to be excessively critical of a host country, especially one from whom one is gaining a world-class education, such as Stanford. I know that during my days in Mexico, at UDLA, I participated in the 1968 strikes and was nearly executed for my efforts. A few days in a Mexican jail (I was bailed out by my politically-attached and wealthy in-laws) made me realize that perhaps my criticism would best be delivered from beyond the borders of the country itself.
My comment: Yes and no. In 1968, UDLA was hit by the violence which shook Mexican universities. I disapprove of such destructive and counter-productive violence. However, I approve of foreign students expressing their viewpoint in a dignified way, as WAISers are expected to.
However, I disapprove of the Mexican constitutional proviso allowing the government to expel anyone guilty of "interfering" in Mexican affairs. Some years ago, a Mexican friend asked me to appear on his TV program. While I was waiting to go on stage, a nasty-looking man appeared and demanded to know what I was going to say. I was offended, but my friend said I must answer, otherwise his program would be banned. I told the censor that I was simply going to say how much I loved Mexico and the Mexicans. He gave his approval, and on the air I just said that.
As for the United States, Americans have so little interest in international affairs and so little understanding of the worldview of foreigners that I think foreign students have a right to explain their country's position in an academic fashion. Incidentally, some WAISers wrote in expressing their strong support for the Arab student's position, but asked me not to give their names.
Ronald Hilton - 10/13/99