Should the Worlds’ OrgCom host an official Yakka-Party: A Debate / Contra
For a few years now, it has been a loved and honoured tradition of the South African Delegation to host a Yakka-Party. Until Worlds 2013, the party was organized separately from the official part of the tournament. Money was collected and the ingredients for the Yakka (lemons, wodka and sugar) were bought in a private context. For the first time in 2013, the organizers of Berlin Worlds decided to integrate the Yakka-Party into the official schedule. This led to discussions within the OrgCom prior to the event and to discussions between the participants during and afterwards it. Marcus Ewald, member of the OrgCom, and Philipp Schmidtke, volunteer, collected the arguments and reconstructed the most important points in favour and against integrating the Yakka-Party into the official programme.
Contra by Philipp Schmidtke
First of all debating tournaments should be about organizing great debates. Not about all inclusive holidays. But if we consider alcohol consumption in massive amounts an unavoidable event in a debater’s calendar we have to consider legalization to avoid a black market.
Does the measure fit the motion?
An incorporation of Yakka-Parties in the WUDC schedule aims to reduce risks. But does it? Debaters love the idea of maximizing freedom by appealing to the rationality of everybody. But we have to bear in mind that neither is everybody an experienced drinker nor can we ever provide sufficient information to have them calculate the right amount to drink. Our data showed that all our 10 MICU victims were less than 21 years old, possibly below their tolerated drinking age at home and not from countries with a big drinking culture. In the end there is still “Selbstüberschätzung” as we Germans call it which means “overestimation of one’s own capabilities” and is best summed up in “Sure I can drink three cups of Yakka within half an hour.” Legalizing something means always extending the market to the law- abiding part. More people and an official organizer mean less responsibility for the participant. Small parties tend to self-regulate their drunk by those that did not drink too much caring for those who did. Even brining someone home tucking him in and putting a bucket next to him is a task that has to be done by volunteers if we increase the anonymity. And with an official venue other than the hotel you have to transfer a lot of drunkards home. And even if you are successful an afterparty still bears the same risks as the black market that it was aimed at.
You might say, okay, even if these problems existed we could fix them and for those who will still overdo it we say “Not our fault – You are the one to blame”. Sure you can. They are all capable of arguing the pros and cons of legalising drugs. But can you say if they do not care for themselves, we do not care for them?
What do they (Surely not you dear reader but those who overdo it) care for? Fun! Most participants have no reason to hold back at partying anymore. They might be low on money and therefore search for the best deal (”Flat Rate Strong Liquor!!!”). Their team partners, friends and all experienced debaters are drinking. They only see their own small part in the tournament.
The Volunteers on the other hand volunteered to for a GREAT tournament for EVERYBODY. Everybody who organised even the smallest Do It Yourself tournament knows that he worked towards full service no matter how few things were promised before. That is why our already exhausted volunteers went in two directions. One group did not go to Yakka to avoid getting involved and instead organized the next days at the TU or slept for the first time for more than five hours. The others (and my deepest respect to all of them) went there and cared more for others than for themselves. Some might argue that participants should learn that the world can be a nasty place.
On that night many of the volunteers learned it. As a hard drinking nation our volunteers did not volunteer for this, expect it or were mentally prepared. Thus the term Yakkageddon was coined.
And even if this should be a misconception of care on our part there still remains the last “what if…?” What if something had happened? There is no easy way out for someone to say I just ordered the 200 litres of Vodka. There is no way to keep a happy little event with casualties. And the media backlash on an official all-night flat party for people who sell their events as “high potential students” might have crippled sponsored debating in Germany for years. Blaming individuals could not have stopped the negative publicity or feeling of guilt for organisers.
Please discuss this article here.
Text: Philipp Schmidtke / ama