When the terrorist attacks occurred in New York and Washington, much of America was thrown into a state of confusion, fear and sorrow. Locally, at Yuba College, faculty, staff and students were also dealing with frayed emotions, having repeatedly witnessed on television the horrific scenes of devastation and human loss.
As a result, members of the social science division at Yuba College sponsored a special educational forum titled “Making Sense of the Madness,” held September 21 in the Yuba College theater.
Presenters Sujan Burgeson from humanities and religion; Barney Carlson, economics; Carl Hall, ethics; Lisa Jensen Martin and Sharon Ng, psychology; Don Le Fave, history; Bob Singh, political science, and Dean Ed Davis, sociology, gave informative and insightful presentations.Barney Carlson opened the program by giving an economic perspective to what occurred in New York.
“We were in trouble before this started,” said Carlson who categorized America as in an “economic slump” for quite awhile. “This incident didn’t help, but it did help in uniting us.”
According to Carlson, Allen Greenspan, who is the Chief of the Federal Reserve Board, is the architect that will take us out of this crisis.
Bringing an especially insightful political and global perspective to the current crisis, Bob Singh made the point that one of the reasons we haven’t declared war is that we don’t know whom we should declare it against. The terrorists have at least 60-plus cells in several countries.“Can we declare war against all these countries in which these cells exists?” asked Singh.
The noted political science professor continued to note the negative fallout that has led to hate crimes in recent days.
“This campus is a symbol of diversity. You walk around here and see so many students of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. According to the latest reports, there have been over 2,000 incidents across campuses in the United States where students were attacked because they were not white. In Yuba City some incidents against East-Indians and their cars have occurred,” said Singh, who went on to warn the audience to be united now and in the days and even years to come. “All of us must speak with one voice instead of pointing fingers of doubt at each other,” warned Singh.
Similar sentiments were shared by Sharon Ng and Lisa Jensen-Martin from psychology and other panel members that focused on unity and decried negative reactions of hate.
Sujan Burgeson from humanities touched on the religious aspects of what occurred on September 11 and how Islam means peace and is accepting of other religious beliefs.
Carl Hall from philosophy concentrated his presentation on the feelings of being “vulnerable and wounded” by what happened and how we shouldn’t withdraw but communicate in positive ways.
Dean Ed Davis brought the forum to an end by offering a thought-provoking commentary.
“I lived through the Vietnam War, and it was hell. We were pitted neighbors against neighbor, and we were asked to choose between those that wanted to wipe the Vietnamese off the face of the earth and those who didn’t,” said Davis.
“America then was divided as it ever has been prior to the Civil War. There was no in between, and I see that coming here. We have to be tolerant of each view on this,” Davis continued.
Several students suggested that they would like more forums in the future, to which panel members agreed to organize another program very soon.