Ein europäisches Debattierwochenende – Leo Weese über das Athens Open

Datum: Apr 24th, 2011
Category: Themen

The weekend around in mid-April could have been named the European weekend of debating. Beside the German Regional Championships, the Dutch Nationals and Lund Open the American College in Greece hosted this year’s Athens Open. In addition to the usual high qualitiy debaters that the Balkans have to offer, the tourney featured quite a remarkable number of previously unseen institutions.

For once there were various institutions from Paris who showed how this month’s Paris IV is both part and a catalyst of spreading BP debating around Europe. From Germany Aachen and Paderborn were two institutions new to the European debating circuit were welcomed warmly in Athens. Also from VDCH, the Debattierklub Wien sent two teams to the south, namely Vienna Vice and Vienna Viridescence. The Franconian town of Würzburg was represented through Jamie-Lee Campbell as a judge who later broke to the final.

A great feature of the tournament was the four star President hotel, which was providing us with extremely comfy beds which – due to the many room parties – weren’t necessarily used that much. The American College of Greece is an American-sponsored private university in the peaceful outskirts of Athens offering mainly liberal arts Bachelor degrees and a well funded debating society. Ironically though, it is USAID, an US organization dedicated to set up infrastructure in developing countries, that sponsors the university’s many computers and air conditioners. To get to the campus only a short subway and bus ride is required. Unlike in Paris, it was highly recommended to buy tickets (at 70c each), since those caught usually get sold to Germany, the IMF or drafted into the military and sent to Cyprus (see the semi finals).

Steven Nolan, Maja Cimerman and Manos Moschopoulos, a well functioning often seen CA team provided great adjudication to great motions, though the above mentioned other tournaments that were held on that weekend kept back a couple of additional, well needed judges.

The tournament started off as good as a tournament can start off: Free coffee. And even better, Greek coffee culture (unlike for instance the French, Italian or German) does not demonize ice cold coffee. After the first two rounds we moved to a nearby bar where we were provided with extremely sweet and delicious wine with honey. Though warmer and dryer weather would have been appreciated it was nice being outside and connecting to the many new debaters. A chartered bus brought us back to the hotel, where the party continued in many of the cozy rooms.

The next morning no one went on strike, so debates started with no more than the usually expected delay. Chaotic though was the provided information about the dinner. Only after the finals, at about 10pm, the debaters were informed about dinner having been cancelled. The weather simply didn’t allow for a barbecue.

Debattierklub Wien’s Vienna Viridescence, Agnieszka Bibro and Leonhard Weese, broke after five prelims. The motion of the semis, “This house believes that Greece and Turkey should immediately remove their troops from Cyprus”, was quite a good debate filled with convincing arguments for and against the motion by all four teams. The debate showed one of the risks of debating: Not being well informed about the situation in Cyprus is neither a barrier nor an advantage, and having researched the facts on Wikipedia later many arguments on both sides were found to be based on thin grounds.

The Grand Final was opened by a university representative in quite an unusual manner: Humming the European anthem through the teeth and apologising for having been a politician for a short period of time in the past. Having cracked up the crowed that way, the professor talked about the troubles of Greece, its causes and possible responsible actors. It turned into a very entertaining and provoking speech with a simple and memorable message: to think outside the box when approaching new solutions for our political problems. I would not dare to make a guess about his political views, but the content of his speech, the discontent with our political systems and the simple fact that this all happened in Greece did point into some form of anarchistic direction (despite his conservative political past). Basically we were convinced that Greece could never carry its financial burdens without shrugging its biggest one off. Greeks over-70s cost the state a huge amount of money through the  benefits they enjoy, the extensive health care and a demographically challenged pension system. In addition his speech suggested that this generation would not only be the financial cause of the problem, but also the political. I am not so sure whether it would be a good idea to, as proposed, convince or pressure the entire 70-plus generation to commit suicide on a specific day, but it sure was out of the box.

The wording of the final motion very well added to this theme: “This house believes that democracy has failed”. The winning team, Tijana Mijalković and Goran Jankuloski set this motion in the United States, and won. After the final the debaters lost each other a little in a big street full of lively bars and cafes, but that did not prevent anyone from a ecstatic and long night.

The Athens Open motions read as follows:

  • Round 1: In cases of repetitive tax evasionm this house would take away that individuals right to vote
  • Round 2: Except in cases of rape, this house believes that women should not be allowed to have an abortion without the consent of the father of the child.
  • Round 3: In cases where there is harmful depiction in the media, this house would compensate minority communities.
  • Round 4: This house would impose an immediate ban on all pornography which shows or simulates violence.
  • Round 5: This house believes that the west should assassinate political leaders who use violence against their own people.
  • Semis: This house believes that Greece and Turkey should immediately withdraw all their troops from Cyprus.
  • Finals: This house believes that democracy has failed.

Leonhard Weese / apf

Debattierclub Aachen covers the Athens Open on their homepage. They took part in the Greek competition with two teams: Down-Quark Aachen (Anna Heynkes and Fabian Bonk) and Up-Quark Aachen (Marc-Andre Schulz and Holger Teichgräber).

Another delegation was from the Debating Society Paderborn who took the chance to use the excursion as a good opportunity for vacation in Greece and debate.

The results of the Athens Open and the full tab may be found on the tournaments homepage.

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1 Kommentare zu “Ein europäisches Debattierwochenende – Leo Weese über das Athens Open”

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