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Community conversation sparks debate

Terrorism, civil liberties and local community issues were the topics of discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the “After Shocks: A Community Conversation.”

The panel members were Mark O. Hatfield, former U.S. senator; David Fidanque, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon; and Robert Gould, Portland State University philosophy department chair and director of the conflict resolution program.

Phyllis Edmundson, the dean of education, moderated the symposium.

Edmondson explained that the symposium allowed for an opportunity to talk and think together as a community.

“Colleges and universities around the country are having discussions to engage the larger meanings and the implications of these seismic events,” Emundson said.

Each of the three panel members offered a very different perspective on the world’s events.Hatfield gave the audience a very local spin on the current events.

“We can destroy the whole group of them and we will still have problems in the world,” Hatfield said.

He went on to talk about how Oregon has the highest rates of hunger in the country. Hatfield said there was much work to do here in Oregon.

“Hunger, racism and poverty are all forms of violence,” Hatfield said.

There have been government directives to sell arms and give arms to countries that do not have an agriculture base to feed their people. Hatfield said the government is in the business of peddling arms.

“None of us are exempt from danger and none of us can escape the need to get involved,” Hatfield said.

Fidanque also discussed the need for public involvement, but in a slightly different way. He encouraged the audience to do things such as write to their congress in regards about civil liberty issues.

Fidanque explained the mistakes the nation has made in the past, such as inferment camps. Even though he felt the days of the camps were through, Fidanque said the threat to Muslims in the community is real.

Gould focused on the emotions people are feeling. Gould said if people grieved just one day for every person who was killed in the recent terrorist attacks, people would grieve for twenty years.He also talked about how people tend to view the world in very “black and white” terms during times of conflicts. The gray areas in life get dissolved in the midst of it all.

“We tend to lump ideas and people together to make us feel safe,” Gould said.

According to Gould, the way to prevent terrorism is to end the conditions that lead up to terrorism. Specifically he said the United States needs to be prepared to admit its own wrongdoings.