martes, 29 de enero de 2013

Revolution Hits the Universities (I)

Luis Alberto Sanchez, president of Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru, wrote one of his experiences, lived in one of his many trips around the world: "In April 22, 1968, I arrived in Paris from Dakar. I tried to meet with my friends Jean Roche, president of Sorbonne, and Monbeing Pierre, chairman of Institute of Latin American Studies. With Roche I could not even communicate by phone; Monbeig explained that he was subjected to an unavoidable schedule visits, discussions and negotiations."

Alberto Sanchez could not meet his friends. Paris was in the midst of a rebellion. The multiple epicentres were in college, in high school and in French unions. Having nothing to do in Paris, He decided to continue with his world trip schedule and flew to New York. He arrived on  April 26th. He had to meet Grayson Kirk, University of Columbia's president. To his amazement, Columbia University was in the middle of a student revolt. He did not even dare to contact Columbia officials. The press put him abreast of what was happening.

David Shapiro, taken from The Terror of the Poet.

For several days activist students, linked to groups whose radicalism was in crescendo, seized several university buildings. The news in the print media reported a disturbing picture. David Shapiro, a scruffy student, was photographed  sitting in the president's chair, very relaxed, wearing sunglasses and smoking one of the president's cigars he found in the broken office.

A few months after his coming back, Alberto Sánchez had to deal with a homegrown student rebellion.

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