‘No debate’ and student protesters

Don’t bother asking, just read the slogan

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – Mark O’Connell applauds the anti-Israeli campus student protestors’ refusal to talk to journalists, contenting themselves to answer questions simply by pointing to the slogans on their posters, which is an interesting reaction from a journalist (“‘What are your reasons for opposing mass slaughter?’ is not a serious question”, Opinion & Analysis, May 25th).

Of course, if the students’ attitude were widely copied it could greatly simplify many situations.

Take Dáil debates for example – opposing party TDs would simply sit opposite each other in the Dáil chamber, behind their respective posters. No need for any shouting back and forth, just read my poster. And no need for long debates – it doesn’t take long to read a few posters.

This poster presentation format could also be used in TV debates, university lecture halls, press conferences – the list goes on.

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A great idea entirely. – Yours, etc,

WILLIAM REVILLE,

Waterfall,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Mark O’Connell misses the point of attempts to engage protestors in conversation . He claims that those asking questions are “pretending” that they “don’t understand” what the protests are about.

On the contrary, it may very well be that because of their understanding they are seeking to engage in a deeper discussion about a conflict that is best not boiled down to simplified slogans. He calls “absurd” the notion that “there is anything to be discussed or debated” and argues that “the most appropriate response is contemptuous silence”.

I strongly disagree that refusal to engage in genuine discussion is the way to deal with important issues, and would certainly never encourage “contempt” at those seeking to do so. – Yours, etc,

NAOMI DUFFY,

Howth,

Dublin 13.