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At 150, Ateneo should know better than kicking off its sesquicentennial festivities with an invitational talk by former British prime minister Tony Blair. Here is, after all, a guy who has stood firm, with nary a trace of apology, to his erstwhile decision to back a US-led invasion of Iraq that resulted in, among other tragedies, casualties of innocent civilians running by the hundreds of thousands. This very same leader could have altered history had he not played puppy to Bush Jr and his package of mass deception, messianic tendencies, and maniacal urge to wage wars on flimsy excuses. Despite this, Ateneo played host to Blair, its students deciding to listen to him within the comfy, airconditioned confines of the university’s auditorium, with not even one student deciding to go against the grain to let Blair know he is responsible for making Iraq spiral down the drain. Blair wearing the Ateneo jacket by the end of his talk should have been enough to make any sensible Ateneo student cringe in shame, but the gesture was instead met by admirable cheers and hearty applauses from the Blue Eagles crowd. This affirmation of Ateneo’s grand tradition of apathy does nothing to elevate the university’s self-declared sense of excellence with its legion of Jesuits and upper crust students paying ridiculously overpriced tuition. And here you thought 150 years should be enough time to earn even an iota of wisdom. Oh well.

Related: Blair in Manila for talk on nation building


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