Academic Blogs Survaliennes

Student Blog: Let us build bridges, not walls

09 November 2019

As part of her Public Speaking in the Liberal Arts course (now Swiss Gap course) of 2016/17, Jenny (Mexico) delivered the following speech to a Surval assembly. Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, her message that we should be building bridges, not walls, resonates powerfully. 

The day of Trump’s victory, the world was shadowed with a veil of uncertainty, doubts and questions. Many people are now asking themselves: How can some look up to someone that stands for everything we have fought so hard to end? How can we follow someone who embodies racism, sexism and ignorance? How can we support someone who wants to build walls to divide us?

This may seem like a dark time, a time of shock and anger. But this is not a time for anger; this is a time for action. In this moment of uncertainty, let us cling to those beliefs that bind us together: unity, equality and tolerance.

Amidst this time of darkness and despair, to quote the great Dylan Thomas, we need to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” 

I am certain there is still light in this world. What we need to ask ourselves today is: how can we make this light burn brighter?

We, as students, can fight ignorance, because it plays a huge role in the problems we face today. We can do this by reading, learning, always questioning ourselves, being curious and open-minded.

We, as woman, can fight sexism, because equality should be our main goal. We can do this by working hard, aspiring towards greatness, showing how strong we are, never settling for less and always being positive leaders.

We, as people, can fight racism, by being accepting in the way we think and act. We can start here in Surval, where we live among many nationalities, religions and mind sets. Let us be tolerant, empathetic and kind with everyone. 

But how can we spread these messages further? How can we let our words “fork lightning”? Words are a powerful tool, and used correctly they can leave a mark, a positive impact. We need to harness the power of social media to urge people to be proactive and spread positivity. We should not accept anything less than a world of equality and acceptance; we should not “go gentle into that good night”. Let us speak up for others so that one day they may speak up for us. 

Throughout the years, history has shown us that building a wall is never a solution, but a beginning for further problems. 

Girls, we should not be building barriers. We should be “building bridges”. Let us be part of a generation that builds bridges of compassion, openness and solidarity. Let us be part of a generation that makes our world a better, brighter place.