Letter: Ingratitude of Oxford to Said

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The Independent Online
Ingratitude of Oxford to Said

Sir: Having spent four very happy years as an undergraduate at Brasenose College, I am appalled at the way that Messrs Said and Flick have been treated by a number of people within the Oxford community ("Said sets limit for pounds 20m gift", 12 November).

Unless I am mistaken, the "arms deal" which is often alluded to was the al-Yamamah project to supply the Saudi Air Force with Tornado aeroplanes. This contract secured jobs and prosperity for this country. Mr Said should be rewarded not recriminated.

The reason the ethics committee at Oxford gave for not accepting Mr Flick's money (that his grandfather was a Nazi sympathiser) is exactly the reason why they should have accepted the money. The chair of European Thought that Mr Flick wanted to establish would have promoted understanding between the different European cultures and would help to ensure that Europe is never at war again. Surely we should be trying to build bridges with the peoples of Germany rather than burning them.

It is a shame that because of the small-mindedness of a few, many young people may be denied an education in the areas of business and European thought. I hope that Messrs Said and Flick donate their money to more grateful recipients.


London SE1