EUDC 2009 is now finally over. It was an awesome experience, and I would love to share it with all of you.
Yes, we were stopped in our quest for success in the ESL quarterfinals. Which is a pity. I still believe that we had the capacity to achieve far more. The debate was set for the motion THW allow the Police to physically discipline children below the age of criminal responsibility. We obviously were first government. I guess that for none of you it will be a surprise that we are generally weak in debates about family policy, children issues etc. So the position and motion were not pleasant surprises.
But that is only one half of the story. We also did not manage to maintain a strong team line in the debate, and that backfired. After the debate it was clear that we did not dominate it; however, we still thought we had tangible chances to advance further (and this feeling was reinforced by some parts of the audience). It was not pleasant to hear that did not make it to the semis. At least alcohol was as good as ever.
On a more positive note, it seems that we have done wonders on the ESL tab. I somehow managed to finish as the 3rd speaker on the ESL tab, while Arvydas was the 8th best. Actually (warning – serious bragging ahead) we had more speaker points than some of the teams that made it to the main break. If just we had not screwed up the last two rounds.. So, even though we sucked in the break rounds, I still believe that this was a great way how to end our debating career together. So yeah, Arvydas, I think we made a really good team.
OK, so enough about us. EUDC had a lot of other action on the offer. Let’s talk about all of it one by one:
(1) After the total failure witnessed in Cork Worlds, this time ESL final was actually quite good. Motion: THW remove all legal restrictions on genetic enhancement (or something along those lines). I would have loved to debate this motion. Although, as one would expect, ESL debaters are not the best public speakers, content-wise the debate was very clever and engaging. Well done all ESL teams! The title was captured by team Leiden A. It was about time Rob Honig got that honour – he is a fantastic speaker & also a great person to communicate with.
(2) Main break final this time was overshadowed by the semi-final between two Oxford teams, Tel Aviv and UCD L&H. Fantastic motion – This House believes that desecration of religious sites is a legitimate tactic of warfare. To be honest, this was the best debate I have seen in my life. Speeches were clever, engaging, witty and absolutely mesmerizing. It absolutely had the property that I have observed in all the good debates – participants were grasping reality with both hands. No arguments were formal and constructed only to participate in the debate – all them were relevant and ones that should be considered when deciding this matter in real life.
(3) The final evidently lacked the aforementioned passion. THW remove all restrictions on immigration. Three Oxford teams and Tel Aviv, the biggest ESL surprise of the tournament. (A joke in the beginning of Tel Aviv whip speech: How many Oxford teams does it take to take out the Israelis? Four.) I had a feeling that teams were effectively arguing against each other and subscribing to far too contrasting ideologies. It also was less engaging and funny than the semi-final (with the obvious exception of Tel Aviv, of course). Oxford A, Sheng Wu Lee (I hope I spell that correctly) and Jonathan Leader Maynard, picked up the title. They are an unbelievable team. Especially Sheng Wu, the king of clarity.
(4) I am still unsure what to say about this year’s motions. On one hand, a lot of the motions were brilliant and really inventive (This House believes that desecration of religious sites is a legitimate tactic of warfare, THB the gay rights movement should oppose gay marriages, THB western liberal countries have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world using force where necessary or THW use the education system to instill moral norms in children beyond mere obedience to the law). On the other hand, there still are two things that I am upset about. Firstly, as already mentioned in previous posts, lack of any economic motions. I just don’t think that heavy reliance on political philosophy/social policy is something debate community should aspire to. Secondly, the similar nature of a lot of motions. Many debates (THW allow police officers to use entrapment, THW allow the Police to physically discipline children below the age of criminal responsibility) were focused around very similar principles.
In short, EUDC was the place to be. Thanks for the many wishes & support we have received in these days. Hope to meet all of you soon & have a beer. (Or two. Or three.)