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Attack on Thistle deserves condemnation

In the past year, we have clearly heard peoples' eloquent cry for freedom and democracy around the world. At such an inspiring historical moment, it is both depressing and outrageous to see some individuals curtail these very same freedoms in our own community. In an university committed to the ideal of greater enlightenment, everyone must cherish and respect the basic freedom of free speech. We are thus thoroughly disgusted by and totally condemn the recent assaults on the MIT newspaper The Thistle.

On numerous occasions over the past six months stacks of papers distributed in Lobby 7 have been attacked, often only hours after they were distributed. Bundles of Thistles have been removed and whole stacks of papers destroyed. In the latest assault on Monday, Feb. 26, a stack of 800 papers was thrown into a Lobby 7 garbage can. Another bundle of 500 papers was taken to the men's bathroom outside Lobby 7. One stack was jammed into the toilet and the remainder were soaked in water and thrown into the trash can.

That some people disagree with the views expressed in our newspaper affirms that there is a healthy plurality of opinions at MIT. That some individuals would deign actively and illegally to censor us and suppress our newspaper indicates that there is a dangerous level of intolerance at MIT.

The Thistle is a newspaper. We are a forum of ideas and information. What idea was so dangerous that it had to be answered through violent retribution rather than public discourse? Though in the past we have written on more emotionally-charged subjects, it is our latest issue, dedicated to the social implications of technology, that suffered the harshest treatment.

Through these acts, a self-righteous few seek to determine what ideas are allowable for the entire community. They raise before us the specter of censorship which has haunted our society throughout history and against which the freedom movements of the past year have fought so steadfastly.

[bb] Abrogating the freedom of one press is not just an attack on a single newspaper, but an assault on the entire community's ability to access a wide range of opinion and fact. This act has no place in a community dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. We therefore call on the MIT community to join us in unreserved condemnation of those who would perpetrate such injustice.

Steven Penn G->

and five others->

The Alternative->

News Collective->