by Johnny Seabright
If you have been following the recent news, you probably have seen something about armed farmers taking over a public building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
And it just so happens that OES’ very own Artists and Writers’ Retreat Winterim was planning on staying at the Malheur Field Station in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to spend a week exploring poetry, painting, reading, and other forms of artistic expression.
What does it mean now that there are armed zealots mere miles from the building where the Winterim was supposed to stay? Even if they leave, could their fanatical points of view stay seeped in the soil of the Refuge and attack the poor minds of peaceful OESians?
Trip leaders Rick Rees and Jenny Cleveland have assured the members of the Winterim that the trip will in fact go on.
Whether or not the group will stay at the Malheur Field Station depends on whether or not the #Yeehadists leave, but they have started researching backup plans in case the standoff continues.
In a letter to the editor of The Oregonian, Rick Rees said that, “They [the militia] have commandeered a place of learning, an iconic site possessed of a natural, cultural and spiritual power they do not understand, and they have sought to desecrate it.”
“Malheur is closed — certainly it is closed to our students and to us. But we, too, are ‘the people,’ counting on a promise of public lands secured for all,” Rick wrote.
I believe that we should stand in unison with the Malheur Refuge and wage war against “Vanilla ISIS.” Rick assured me that, if he had enough support from the student body, he would gladly lead us into battle to take back the grounds for the Winterim. Mounted on a stallion, pen in hand, I have every confidence he would lead us to victory.
In the meantime, the school is exploring other potential options for this Winterim. Things are subject to change at any moment.