The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Ulterior motives

 Ulterior motives
Ulterior motives

Ulterior motives

From 1936 until 1939, Spain fought a bloody civil war that began as a coup lead by Fascist-sympathizing generals to overthrow the democratically elected government.

By 1936, Fascism had already taken root in German and Italy, and Hitler marched troops into the Rhineland, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

In the same year, he created the Axis alliance with Italy and then expanded it to include Japan, thus creating the so-called Anti-Comintern Pact to combat the Communist threat.

The Spanish falange — Fascists — enlisted the help of Germany’s elite Luftwaffe in 1937 to bomb Guernica, a village located in Spain’s Basque region, the horror and devastation of which was portrayed in Picasso’s painting by the same name.

The Fascists, led by General Francisco Franco, defeated the Republicans in April of 1939, due, in no small part, to the assistance that Hitler provided. It has been estimated that as many of one million Spaniards were killed, injured or forced into exile as a result of the war.

From 1939 until 1975, Spain lived under the Fascist dictatorship of Franco, a dictatorship that suppressed freedom of the press, speech, political, social, cultural and religious _expression, and all political dissent.

On March 11 of last year, Spaniards, who had grown accustomed to internal terrorist attacks carried out by Basque separatists, were attacked by Islamic terrorists. One hundred and ninety-one Spaniards died.

The pro-American government immediately accused ETA, the revolutionary wing of the Basque separatist movement. Why? The same reason any government lies to its people, to stay in power.

José María Aznar, prime minister at the time of the March 11 terror attack, was voted out in part because he lied to the Spanish people, in part because Spaniards were fed up with Aznar’s kowtowing to Bush, and in part because there was no popular support for the war in Iraq.

Contrary to what the White House would have you believe, Aznar’s government was not ousted because of the Madrid train bombings. Nor did Spain withdraw its troops from Iraq out of fear. On the contrary, current Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whose party won the national elections days after the bombings, had pledged before the attack to withdrawing troops.

The Republican Party’s attempt to paint Spaniards as traitors or cowards bespeaks the reckless disregard for the truth and lack of respect that this administration has for other countries.

Unlike the United States, Spain has dealt with terrorism on its soil for decades. To suggest that any Spaniard is a coward would be laughable if it were not so reprehensible and self-serving.

Fast forward almost one year. On February 28, trustees of the South Orange County Community College District, comprising Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, voted 5-2 to cancel the 14-year-old summer program in Santander, Spain.

During the February 28th meeting, Tom Fuentes, former Orange County Republican Party chairman, and SOCCCD trustee, began his remarks by boasting, “One hundred ninety-five years ago, in 1810, my family arrived on this continent from Spain, so I have an affection for that land,” but, according to Gustavo Arellano of the Orange County Weekly, “[Fuentes] quickly dropped the amicable pretense, and attacked Spain for ‘abandon[ing] our fighting men and women, withdrawing their support.’”

Fuentes continued his attack against Spain — in what can only be described as partisan grandstanding — during the meeting saying, “Many of our students in this college, and of its sister college Saddleback and Irvine, past and future today, fight on the battlefield of Iraq under the flag that is behind us.”

In a response to my email in which I asked Fuentes about his vote to cancel the program, Mr. Fuentes wrote, “There are three major reasons that our Board voted 5 to 2: Cost, Safety and Liability,” adding, “Don’t believe the rhetoric and hyperbole that follows such a matter in academia.”

The only rhetoric I don’t believe, Mr. Fuentes, is yours. And thanks for the slam on academia. It’s refreshing to know that anti-academia pseudo-intellectuals like you are overseeing our colleges.

Having read Fuentes’ highly partisan and inflammatory statements about Spain in two different news sources, OC Weekly and USA Today, I challenged him in a follow-up email to reconcile his anti-Spain comments with the three reasons — read: red herrings — he had given to justify canceling program. He responded: “The last time I checked, all of us citizens have the right to express an opinion, especially a heartfelt one. A ‘P.C.’ environment does not contribute to a good exchange.”

Interesting reply coming from a man who used a community college trustees meeting as a pulpit from which to assail a democratically elected government, impugn an entire nation, and question the courage of 40 million Spanish citizens, all while advancing a Republican pro-Bush agenda.

According to USA Today, “Fuentes said the bombing also raised concerns about student safety, although students were allowed to visit Spain three months after the bombings.”

Mr. Fuentes’ guileful attempt to feign concern for students’ safety is nauseating — vomit sound — especially considering that an average of two American servicemen die every day in Iraq in a war into which they were mislead, and the total number of people killed in Basque-related bombings in Spain was three — that’s one, two, three — in 2003.

Trustee Marcia Milchiker, who voted to keep the program, said, “Bringing this up now is strange.”

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, it’s not strange at all if you consider Fuentes’ real motives, which have nothing to do with students’ security.

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