Just a week after allying with Spanish friends Carlota and Irene in Paris, Perly and I joined forces for one last time at the Zagreb Open. Indeed, I knew by then that this was very likely going to be my final debating tournament, at least the one where I was going to represent Wageningen. It seemed highly appropriate to end my career in a team where it all started. I did not have any competitive expectations this time, just wanting to enjoy the tournament and do my best. Still, Perly and I did remarkably well in the past, so I was feeling positive there might be a chance for a “Dutch upset in the Balkans”.
Starting round number one, a media debate. I have a bad record on media debates, since they are relatively low-impact debates with generic arguments. So we did not do very well to be honest, however still good enough for the second place in that round. In the second round we got pulled up to the top room and the debate was about “banning non-vaccinated kids from public schools”. As the opening opposition, we thought it was a bad plan for the kids, who happen to have irrational parents, and a bad plan for other kids as well, since the policy would create pandemic hot-spots in private schools. Another second, and we beat the late champions of the tournament. Not a bad start!
This was however followed by a couple of failed debates. In the third round, where we were opposing the nuclear missile programme in the EU, our arguments were just all over the place, arguing no one will ever dare to use the missiles and at the same time that such a policy would increase the danger of a nuclear war. Fourth place :/. I obviously suck at debates about nukes, just ask Natania how we did at the Worlds. Fourth round, aaaaaand another fourth place
This round, we defended that all Uber users should be members of workers unions. At this point I must point out that the debating community is at most times a safe-haven for social-liberal argumentation. As such, politically left arguments might have difficulty in convincing the judges. This was reflected in the judge’s call, where he dismissed our premise that it is in the “objective interest of workers to have better working conditions and higher wages”, by saying there is a plurality of interests and we cannot say there is one objective interest for a whole social class. What a load of relativist bullshit… What an obscure imaginary of the world, where some workers are indeed masochists, who do not think they deserve higher wages and would love to work on zero-hours contracts for the rest of their lives.
Knowing we lost all chances for breaking, we decided to take a relaxed approach in the fifth round, where we opposed the notion that the US should pay reparations to the victims of war on drugs. Here, we just went for a hard-line military approach of wiping up criminal gangs, defending that the collateral damage was justified. Also, we said, otherwise drug cartels would have increased their power and produced even more drugs. Ridiculous militarist argumentation, and we actually managed to get another second, thus finishing slightly above the bottom of the tab.
Thus concluded Zagreb Open. Oh wait, there was a wild party that night, but some things are better left unsaid. From a competitive perspective this was my worst tournament, but Perly and I had loads of fun!