Thursday, April 19, 2007

For whom would you die?

The words of Ancrene Wiseass on the death of Liviu Librescu at Virginia Tech made me ask myself: would I die for my own students? (Professor Librescu, a Holocaust survivor [why does that fact add so much more poignancy to a situation that requires no more?], died while blocking the door to his classroom so that his students had time to escape).

I'd like to think that the answer is yes, that I would demonstrate for my students the heroism (or is it simply the humanity?) that Librescu did for his. I certainly care deeply for the young men and women I am teaching. I want them to have a future that endures. But when faced with the choice of sacrifice or preservation, would my confidence falter? Am I more frail than I would like to suppose?

I don't know the answer to that, and I hope that I am never tested ... but I would like to believe that in the face of something so terrible the best part of me would triumph. Perhaps that is why I am in such awe of Liviu Librescu.


Karl Steel said...

Probably one of the most ghoulish aspects of this whole catastrophe has been the decision of various right-wing commentators to declare the students cowards for not fighting back. Of course, they joined Professor Librescu in fighting back or otherwise try to intervene (as did Ryan Clark, who seems to have tried to stop the first shooting).

I honestly couldn't say what I would do in such a situation.

Re: the ghoulish theories about the masculinity of the victims, I just noted on the CNN website that some survivor has declared Cho Seung-Hui "not a man." With that in mind, I'd urge everyone to read quodshe on the massacre.

Anonymous said...

If students had just been allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus, such madpersons wouldn't have a chance. Or so FOX News informed us.

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Excellent question. I am hopeful that my actions in such a situation would have little to do with "dying for" someone or with the fact that those someones are "my students." Humanity, not heroism, as you suggest. And yet why does part of me feel like a heel for saying that?

Something to do with the intimacy between the unimaginalbe and the ordinary that violence reveals.

helenn said...

sorry for my bad english...I don't know how to do it well

but...I must say
When you say
[why does that fact add so much more poignancy to a situation that requires no more?]
you are being rhetorical, right?!

well...maybe the media don't have this interest...definitly not...but the mainly meaning of it is...after everything he suffered and watched in his life...and considering his strength to overcome all these, I dont think he was so sensitive to this tragedy
Besides if you see for the same ~~humanity that you talk about[considering that is more than prove that it doesnt mean to have virtue], he, as a already and still victim[considering people who don't respect and even deny what happened, or even people concerned but that is not seing that you can't say that the situation requires no more], could just have hate, or simply indiference to that same people.

it's such more difficult for us to see what ethical and fai[or even worshipable] in this life, in this world when we are not declared victims