Thursday, February 23, 2017

Would you help? (A letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University)

Dear Vice-Chancellor,
I believe that I have become a victim of blacklisting by Oxford philosophers. To justify this presumption, let me quote Nick Cohen’s ‘The Pub Philosopher’ published in The Independent Magazine on November 18, 1989, a day after the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in my country. The article opens with the words: ‘The judgements passed by Oxford dons on Julius Tomin seem outrageously brutal. “I don’t wish to sound East European,” said one, “but perhaps he does need psychiatric help … But you can disguise paranoia in the East. There are so many real conspiracies. There aren’t the same excuses when you come to the West.” Younger philosophers, who do not have the personal ties, will go on the record. Jonathan Barnes, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford, impatiently brushed aside the suggestion that the Conservatives’ reduction in funding for British philosophy since 1980 might explain why there was never an academic post for Tomin at Oxford. “That’s not the point at all,” he said, “He would not be accepted as a graduate here, let alone be given a teaching job. He’s like a recalcitrant student who can’t admit he’s wrong.”

My Oxford colleagues miss-calculated, they left out the power of Ancient Philosophy. My daily travels to Ancient Greece, enjoying its cultural treasures in the original, have kept me sane.

I believe that a capable lawyer could find a way of rectifying my situation, but I have no possibility of looking for one. If you could help in any way, it would be great.

Let me inform you about my current situation. I have looked on my bank account, all I possess is £181.97. On March 2, £181.33 will be deduced from my bank account, which is the Service Charge I pay monthly for the flat in an old person house in which I live. Tomorrow I shall go to my Bank to ask for an overdraft. With the help of it I hope to survive until my Czech pension arrives, which I get four times a year (£454.64). The only other money I get is every four weeks £112.12 of British State Pension; the next £112.12 I expect to get later in March.

I hope you will find the right way of rectifying my situation in which I have found myself thanks to inviting Oxford dons to my philosophy seminar in Prague in 1978.
I hope to be hearing from you soon.
Julius Tomin
In the Attachment I am sending you the email concerning this matter I sent to the Master of Balliol in December 2016. I have received no reply.

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