Letter to the Editor

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To the Editor:This past week, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Vice President Walter Mondale were on campus talking about the world in which we live. It’s no secret that Macalester students tend to be very interested in the world and all the problems we face; what Mondale and Holbrooke reminded us is how much we can do to fix those problems.

One of Holbrooke’s stories in particular stood out. Shortly after the Vietnam War, with East Asia in turmoil, a Security Council meeting was held to discuss the increasing numbers of “boat people” who had taken to the sea in rickety ships hoping to escape persecution. Everyone at the meeting had a reason not to rescue the refugees: the navy is a military and not a humanitarian organization, the cost would be in the millions. But Vice President Mondale stopped them and gently reminded those in attendance that these were real people in the real world. Mondale recommended to President Carter that all appropriate action be taken; hundreds of thousands were saved.

Holbrooke had a number of other, similar stories. He spoke of current and past diplomats and how their convictions helped make the world a better place. It was amazing to watch these two statesmen, men who have given their entire lives to the service of others, talk so earnestly about principle. There was no spectacle to what they said; they were serious, they were humble, and they were compassionate. If there was one thing they emphasized time and again, it’s that we can all make a difference. I know I am ready to answer their call.

Nathaniel French ’11