We would like to thank Prof Philip Lloyd, DG Scott, Andrew Kenny, Maciej Soltynski and AP Berrisford for illustrating, in the focus of their letter, precisely how difficult it is to look “beneath the surface” of manifest behaviour in which protesters all over the world engage, especially in the presence and visible face of power and authority which has been wielded over them, unquestioned, for more than a century.
The “trio” whom they refer to volunteered to represent the thoughts of a larger group of alumni who have, for the past two years, shared their ongoing concerns about occurrences at UCT as well as providing such advice and facilitation within their means as current and former academics, employees, professionals and post-graduate students.
Our letter, for instance, based as it was on experiences of exclusion, alienation and discrimination during the sojourns of many of us at UCT, produced in an iterative process and distilled to that which Lloyd et al refer, reflects the thrust of our constructive interventions, eg at the UCT Cape Town Alumni Chapter.
In our previous letter to Daily Maverick we extended an invitation to other alumni – who may hold a different view based on their life experiences – to join us in supporting the possibility of a peaceful, constructive resolution of trans-historical injustices. The students and executive are attempting, via a restorative justice approach, to do exactly that. It is an intervention such as this inclusive, reflective and honest process which we unstintingly advocate and support.
We repeat that invitation here, and hope you will join us in our support of this brave attempt to go “beneath the surface” of protest action, to face its trans-historic roots. Renewed alumni interest is part of the positive spin-offs of radical flank effects.
This is not about us and our different perspectives. It is about our common future in this society, of which the students are an integral part.
We are sure you agree that protests around the world send a message. The onus is on societies to decode it and to respond to the deeper need. Once we extend the progressive flank to support all efforts that deal honestly and decisively with trans-historical causes, the need for radical tactics will fall away. DM
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