What Is To Be Done?

On 27 September, we’re going to talk about a social problem, a situation that is unacceptable and yet which persists, and talk about the limits of reasonable, acceptable response.

The first case is that of Troy Davis, a man who was executed on 22 September in Georgia, despite a cloud of doubt as to whether he actually committed the murder he is being executed for. Here are some articles about it (one, two); there was a Twitter feed by a reporter posted here.

I want you to bear in mind: people have protested. People have written letters to politicians. People have criticized it in the media, tried to get justice to be done. And still, Troy Davis died from a lethal injection for a crime many believe he did not commit.

So once people have tried everything, what do they do next? When you’ve tried everything you’re allowed to do, what rules do you start breaking next? And what actions are ethically justifiable next?

On 29 September, we’re going to branch out our discussion following the same theme, but focusing on the issue of education in Korea. Here’s a look at Korean high school and university life from a foreigner’s eye view. (Note, I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says. But I think it’s worth discussing.) Whatever you think of his viewpoint, one fact he notes is quite true: suicide isn’t just the leading cause of death among Koreans in their 20s, Korea also leads the world for numbers of suicides among people of that age… and Korean high schooler suicides are almost as highly ranked worldwide. Korea’s students may well be, as is suggested in that article, the unhappiest students in the world… so what is to be done about that? Everyone seems to know there’s a problem, but year after year, it seems to stay the same. Small changes are made, and yet things seem constantly to be getting worse, not better, and institutions like universities seem to be very resistant to changes.

(Alternately, we could talk about the financial side of studies, including the ongoing controversy regarding tuition fees.)

So, now, what is to be done?

Comments are closed.