Sunday, 24 February 2008

When in Rome...

Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi (When you are in Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere).

Exiles can be such a nuisance.

The very word evokes the idea of coercion, banishment, brutishness, barbarism.

To be in exile means to forego so much - which is of course the very reason for having it imposed in the first place. Whether caused directly or indirectly, the effects are the same.

Being constrained however does not necessarily imply complete inaction. The difference lies in the nature of the environment, however unbidden. "Know your audience", the speaker is told, and this goes beyond mere words. Hence the saying, "When in Rome do as the Romans do", in its original attributed to Saint Ambrose (c.340-397) giving advice to Saint Augustine.

As the past eight years (!) have shown, the callousness, immaturity, and naiveté demonstrated by certain people at Griffith University cannot be countered by civilised discourse. More needs to be done.

Since the opportunity to take them to court eludes me (one of the effects of exile) it has to be the other way around. As the texts here and on the Otoom website should have shown by now, there is more to all this than one's personal disposition.

Ask yourself: say you had discovered the cure for a disease, would you simply give up as soon as you encountered some opposition? Would it not be a matter of duty to persist, given what is at stake?

And if barbarians block your path you have to descend to their level, however unpleasant that may be.

Well, so be it then.

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