Letter to Texas University President
This letter was sent yesterday on postal way to the President of the University of Texas:
The University of Texas at Austin
Office of the President
Mr. William C. Powers Jr.
Austin, TX 78713
Madrid, Spain, December 27, 2007
Dear Mr. Powers, Sir,
After hearing about plans to form an advisory committee to study what should be done about the numerous campus statues honoring Confederates like President Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, I would like to send you my opinion from a European point of view. It seems the statues have in recent times become a topic of debate among students, professors and administrators.
As far as my own experiences with this anti-Confederate controversies teach me, it is a fact that always only certain minorities start controversies, in most cases based on prejudices, ignorance and, often enough, malicious ideological tactic.
The University has been since ever the place for universal culture, humanism and search for truth in philosophical, historical and scientific ways. Also for tolerance and mutual respect. Even the discussion about removing or displacing statues of certain men more than 140 years after the War between the American States is not only against the spirit of any University, it is a stupid self-mutilation.
The ancient Roman world teach us Principiis obsta! Resist the beginnings! To start removing Confederate statues, displacing them or putting them in a museum, means to erase your own culture, your past, your history and the truth. What would happen if a lot of “minority people” some day become a majority and want to see abolished the history of Texas, in order to restore it to Mexico? What if in the future a certain “minority” want to see the oversize monument erected to honor Abraham Lincoln in Washington put in a museum? If you don’t resist the beginnings now, you may soon feel overwhelmed in the future with things far beyond Confederate heritage.
Please, Sir, accept normal things as normal. You may explain the meaning of the statues to ignorants, the more they learn, the more they will understand. Please don’t let ignorants and malicious people remove historical statues. This is just against the spirit of any University, the spirit of Texas, the Confederate heritage and even common sense. And: a Nation which erases her own past is condemned to disappear. Confederate legacy today, the entire USA tomorrow. Principiis obsta!
Raphael Waldburg Zeil