History Repeated As A Cautionary Tale

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | November 13, 2018

(I live in Germany. In my brother’s high school, it’s custom that the teacher who last joined the staff has to hold a speech at the graduation ceremony. In my brother’s case, it’s a young history teacher, and since it’s exactly a century after the beginning of the first world war, he talks about the political and societal events that led up to it. He then goes on to compare them to current events, showing potentially dangerous similar developments. Suddenly, he’s interrupted by a mother in the audience. I later find out she’s infamous for recently having adopted some far-right political views that she now preaches at every opportunity.)

Mother: *yelling loudly* “BORING! Nobody wants to hear this!”

(There’s a long moment of awkward silence. The teacher tries to carry on with his speech, visibly shaken.)

Mother: “BORING!”

(The teacher stops talking again, unsure of what to do. But then, one of the graduates stands up.)

Graduate #1: “I want to hear it.”

(More graduates rise to their feet.)

Graduate #2: “I want to hear it, too.”

Brother: “Me, too!”

(By now, all graduates are standing in support of their teacher. The disrespectful woman is bright red in the face and looks very determined. A lot of the graduates’ relatives in the audience rise from their chairs, as well. The teacher continues his speech. Some people sit back down after a while, but all graduates remain standing until the end.)

Teacher: *voice shaking* “Now, the future of this country, of our democracy, lies on you.”

(Tears well up in his eyes.)

Teacher: “I was going to say that I hope you all will grow up to be responsible, mature citizens with the courage to stand up for your beliefs. But you’ve already done that. I’m so proud of you all, and I’m proud to have been your teacher. Thank you very much!”

(The hall erupted into thunderous applause.)

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