No fear

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IN a remark that has since been condemned not only by the protesting students but also by engaged academics, thinking journalists and even half- asleep politicians, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte ventured the opinion that students should “concentrate on their studies rather than [walk] out of their classrooms to protest supposed budget cuts for their institutions”.

Valte’s a lawyer and a graduate of that Katipunan Avenue school that fancies itself as the breeding ground of “men (it doesn’t mention women) for others,” both of which facts, I suppose, make her statements no matter how repellent more excusable than most, in the same way that we used to forgive those of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s version of her, Lorelei Fajardo. Like Fajardo, Valte’s utterances have so far not been distinguished for either their civility, gravitas or even sense, although her telling protesting students to stay in their classrooms was a new low even for her.

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Is Greece burning?

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ATHENS, Greece — The streamers in English that among those in Greek festooned the iron fences were demanding more funds for the ongoing restoration work, as well as the reinstatement of dismissed employees. A small, crudely handwritten sign, hardly visible among the streamers, said the site was closed, and would remain closed. The employees were on strike.

The site was no factory, however, but the Acropolis, the complex of ancient buildings and monuments that Greeks say is “the symbol of Athens,” “the sacred rock” linking ancient Greek civilization with the modern city. Within its walls were, among others, the Parthenon, the temple Athenians had built 600 years before Christ and dedicated to Pallas Athena, the ancient goddess of wisdom, after whom the now modern city of Athens is named.

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