The Morals of the Prince’s Money

A few weeks ago I heard the name “Andover” mentioned on the television in my hotel room. I rushed out into the living room to see the television tuned to CNN showing a clip of Eric Liu, a former advisor to the Clinton administration and a speaker at an All-School Meeting last school year. Mr. Liu was accompanied by three other guests who participated in some debate. I could not ascertain the specifics of the topic, but because PA received some mention, I decided to listen in. Apparently, the Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed decided to donate money to the Bush Scholarship fund. Some people disapproved of the offer completely arguing that the origin of the money and how the relationship between America and Saudi Arabia remains fickle and tense. New York City received a similar but more generous offer from the prince. Mayor Giuliani declined the offer due to a prior statement issued by the Saudi Arabian prince. People called this move an attempt to amend the September 11 attacks, perhaps because 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the assaults originally descended from Saudi Arabia. Mayor Guiliani rejected Prince Alwaleed’s present because of a letter the prince had released outlining his feelings of the attacks. The prince felt Palestinians acted in their best interest. More specifically, he thought that Americans failed to realize that they provoked the attack and therefore Palestinians responded with an unorthodox form of justice. To say that what happened on September 11th seemed justifiable and appropriate does not seem like the best way to mend a relationship. Following his address, he later sent out several sums of money to organizations affected by the assaults. It certainly seemed like the prince from Saudi Arabia spoke impulsively about the situation at its current time and may have regretted a few of the ideas he directed towards the US. Perhaps the prince took it upon himself to smooth things over with everyone by throwing money into their faces. I find the different groups that received such benevolent donations to be quite odd, though. First Prince Alwaleed generously offered money to New York to help recover from the devastation it faced. However, people didn’t want it because they knew what it really symbolized. After failing there, the prince presented Phillips Academy with money. Coincidentally, PA is an alma mater of President George W. Bush. Again it seems Saudi Arabia wants to impress upon Americans, especially George Bush, that Saudi Arabia continues to uphold its friendship with the US and win back some overseas connections. Mayor Giuliani didn’t seem gullible enough to accept the offer, but PA certainly did. They’ve embraced the $500,000 proposal. The New York Sun quoted Ms. Sharon Britton, a spokesperson for PA, stating that PA plans to utilize the money to “support an outstanding educational opportunity. That’s good for the whole world.” In this case, the school took something negative and spun it into a positive thing. I like to characterize that move as being naïve. How can this school be so optimistic by only looking at the spectrum from the positive angle? Did the school bother to contemplate the motivation of the donation or did it just act blindly? Did anyone in the administration ever stop to think about the moralistic values of taking this money? Does anyone that manages the school have any ethics at all? If we take the money, does that mean the school condones any conflicts the US has had with Saudi Arabiain the past? Let’s give them a clean slate because we have no quarrel with Saudi Arabians anymore. Our views have changed now all because of money? Maybe our new policy on donations should be: Take the money now, ask the questions later. Any school could have used that money. It’s not fair to say that we needed it the most. But it seems that we did, since we were so humble and open to the offer, not thinking about who donated it. Another problem I find disconcerting relates to the reflection of this matter on the school and particularly its students. Did anyone contemplate the possible response to the donation? The acceptance of the money now portrays PA affiliates as just a pack of ravenous wolves scrounging around and hunting all over the globe for money. Do we merely eat, drink and breathe for green paper? Well then, Prince Alwaleed certainly bought our hearts by putting the money towards a good useful purpose… ha. By taking this money we now believe that the Saudi Arabian prince is only a benevolent loving person who wants to put down all conflict and end any disputes. After reading brief parts of his statement, I don’t think it’s just a gracious act performed by good will. It provides quick easy resolve, incorporated with a shallow sincerity. Money shouldn’t be able to win us over. It ought to be something more practical because money can’t bring back lives. I don’t understand how PA accepts presents regardless of their sordid nature. It doesn’t seem to matter how broken the gift appears, because with a little bit of wishing and a lot of wild imagination, we can turn anything bad into something good.