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February 28, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-02-28

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Eighty-four years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Friday, February 28, 1975

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

Speed law unfair to poor

recently provided more evidence
why people no longer respect govern-
ment. In an action reeking of cynic-
ism and bias toward wealth, the
Michigan House voted to keep the 55
mile-per-hour speed limit on Michi-
gan roads but to reject handing out
point penalties for those caught driv-
ing between 55 and 70 miles per hour.
There is no secret as to why the
55 mile - per - hour speed limit was
kept. By decree of Congress, a state
can lose its federal highway funds if
it fails to adopt the lower, fuel sav-
ing speed limit. No one wanted 55
miles per hour, but everybody want-
ed the federal gravy. So the lower
speed limit was accepted, but penal-
ty points rejected.
Without penalty points, those who
can afford the twenty dollar fine for
speeding can violate the speed limit
to their hearts' content. The only
people who are hurt are those who
cannot afford to give up twenty
dollars, the poor and the unem-
N)PEOPLE WILL be hurt. Traf-
fic fines have traditionally been
less than a deterrent needed for the
public safety than an easy source of
municipal revnue. Parking tickets
and traffic fines help ease the cost

of paying the policemen that hand
them out.
Under the old law, anyone caught
and convicted of speeding would pick
up two penalty points. Twelve penal-
ty points over two years could mean
a loss of one's license. The new sys-
tem effectively makes it legal for
the rich to become highway hazards.
Perhaps poor speeders will be lucky
and find themselves facing one of
the many traffic court judges who
have gone on record as stating that
they will not fine anyone for break-
ing the 55 mile per hour limit regard-
less of the law. To these justices, the
lower speed limit is an artificial de-
vice foisted on the state by Washing-
ton. They therefore have no duty
to enforce such a manifestly unjust
TT IS INTERESTING to speculate
on what the reaction of such a judge
would be to a person using the same
argument on a charge of possession
of marijuana. The laughter would
probably be heard from Muskegon to
Port Huron.
If the state legislature sees fit to
pass laws that the rich and the pow-
erful have no obligation to obey, they
should not be surprised when the
poor and powerless decide that they,
too have no obligation to obey the

TN MOST OF the United States, and especially in
Michigan, highway transport is the rule for pas-
senger travel. In Detroit, auto capital of the world, The
Car is King when it comes to moving people from
one place to another. Bus and train service fall far
behind in terms of speed, efficiency, and convenience.
Even cities in underdeveloped regions of Southern
Spain, with their slow-moving and picturesque trains
and antiquated diesel buses, provide a more efficient,
if somewhat less rapid means of transportation than
cities like Detroit, where large percentages of the
population live far from where they work.
Ever since coming to Europe two years ago, this
Detroiter reluctantly abandoned his "wheels" and took
to riding European trains, buses, subways, and trolley
cars. In the course of my one man study of public
transportation in the cities and countries I have lived
in, I have come to the conclusion - not as obvious as it
may seem - that life is possible without owning an
automobile, and that every car owner would profit
from an effective system of mass transportation.
My numerous trips on France's National Railway
System only reaffirm these conclusions. This article
was inspired by one such trip on France's trains.
I STAND IN the train station at 6:00 A.M., watching
my Express train to Paris leave without me. I had to
run from the Taxi stand, and missed the departure by
ten seconds . . . and I had to be in Paris before 5:00
P.M. Only one way to arrive on time: to wait an hour
and hop aboard the more expensive and faster Trans-
Europ-Express train.
Once inside the train, I paid the conductor the dif-
ference between my second-class ticket and the price
of a TEE ticket, explaining that I had missed the
6:00 Express, "You're not the only one," he told me;
several passengers smiled at me sympathetically and
showed me their second class tickets. Then we were
off . . . the takeoff was smooth.
"It's not a train, it's a plane," goes one Spanish
saying about the Trans-Europ-Express trains. Indeed,
the similarities between the TEE and a modern jet
are numerous. With air-conditioning, carpeting, com-
fortable airplane-type seats, piped in recorded music,
and inter-compartimental doors which open electron-
ically, the inside of the train could be mistaken for the
interior of a 747 jet.
SUDDENLY, as we gradually slowed down, a voice
came over the loud speaker: "Ladies and gentlemen.
we are now arriving in Avignon . . ." As if to
make the "airport" atmosphere complete, the an-
nouncement was made in bt:h French and English.
Even the modern AMTRAK trains and east coast shut-
tles between cities like New York and Washington
can't compare to French trains in price, efficiency, and
Between two stations, I was able to talk to the
."stewardess", who announced ouraarrival in important
railway stations from a booth behind the train's bouti-


que, where the two saleswomen sold everything from
plastic Eiffel Towers to wide ties and expensive per-
fumes. "The train is most impressive," I told her,
"especially for someone from America, where public
transportation is almost non-existent, but I'm a bit
surprised at the luxury." I pointed to the perfume sell-
ers and the electric window shades. She replied that it
was indeed a luxury train, and unlike most French
trains, it was run by a private company. "Certain busi-
nessmen need quiet and comfort to do their work
while on trips; and for those who can't afford it,
there are cheaper turbo-trains which go just as fast
and offer second-class prices," she explained.
WHAT ABOUT working on a TEE train? The acceler-
ations and decelerations are so smooth that my cup
of coffee doesn't even spill, she answered, adding that
the train travels at more than 160 kilometers per hour,
and was therefore quicker and more comfortable than
can travel over long distances. For example, a trip
from Marseilles, France's largest port, to the French
capital takes six and one half hours by Trans-Europ-
Express, whereas the trip takes at least eight hours
in a car - more if one stops for lunch or dinner in
France's horrible toll road restaurants.
I arrived in Paris much more rested and calm than
if I had spent eight hours battling my way across
superhighways and paying inflationary gas prices.
Promising the stewardess that I wouldn't use her name
in the article, I dismounted the TEE in Paris' Lyons
Station, walked to the subway stop, and arrived in the
Latin Quarter a few minutes later, without setting foot
in a car. The price of the trip was not much more
than the price of a car trip of the same distance, and
certainly less if tolls and parking in Paris - no less
crowded than cities like Detroit and Washington --
are included in the price.
CURRENTLY, car sales are dropping spectacularly,
production and consumption is down in many industries,
innumerable companies are approaching bankruptcy,
and impoverished governments are asking for loans
from richer nations. Meanwhile, the state-run French
National Railway System (SNtrCF) showed a 5.1 per-
cent increase in passenger traffic over the past year.

Mr. Paul Gentil, director of the SNCF explains why:
"Railroads consume from two to four times less fuel
per kilometer than truck and auto transportation, and
seven times less fuel per kilometer than air transporta-
tion." The oft-repeated cliche that states that "every-
thing in France which is state-run is poorly managed,
and everything which is privately owned is well run,"
is as untrue of the national train system as it is of
the semi-private and private auto industries. While the
French Citrogen and Peugeot car companies are, like
their American counterparts, laying off workers and
struggling for survival, the Railway System is expand-
ing its services, improving speed and efficiency, and
converting more and more train lines over to cheaper
and cleaner electric power.
THE DEBATE concerning whether or not the govern-
ment should favor rail transport over highway trans-
port, or whether the choice should be left up to the
individual citizen, rages on; everyone from the ecolo-
gist - "train tracks destroy less country-side than
highways, trains are cleaner than cars .- .
to the truck driver, whose job is already menaced by
inflating diesel prices, to the occasional highway driver
and the consumer advocate,, seems to have something
to say about the issue.
The same debate seems to be taking place in what
some call "The Land of the Ford, and the Home of
the Buick" though travel in America is often left up to
the individual, and what is good for General Motors is
supposed to be good for America. The declining qual-
ity of urban life (according to many partially the re-
sult of American inner cities becoming nothing more
than the business centers), increasing pollution, sky-
rocketing transport prices, and economic recession may
change the tranport scene in America, and even in
the Motor City. One French journalist,ton the scene in
D~etroit during "one of the best snowstorms Michigan
has ever known," reports: "Better than all the speech-
es and discourses, a snowstorm showed, once again,
how much the inhabitant of Detroit . . . depend upon
the automobile for their very existence."
Paid O'Donnell is a European correspondent for The
Daily, presently studying in Aix-en-Provence, France.


right track

MITRE ads deceptive

maintain an open advertising
policy which grants open access to
all advertising material, provided it
does .not discriminate along racial,
religious or sexist lines. Unfortunate-
ly, in our fervor to preserve adver-
tisers' rights to present conflicting or
competing material on our pages, we
are sometimes forced to compromise
our own ethical position on matters
of social import by granting space to
deceptive if not discriminatory ma-
On page three of last Tuesday's
Daily, an ad entitled "Minds Matter"
appeared extolling the job opportuni-
ties presented by MITRE Corporation,
and announcing MITRE job inter-
views to be held on campus March 13.
and 14.
MITRE begins its schpiel by de-
scribing itself as a "nonprofit system
News: Gordon Atcheson, Dan Bluger-
man, Ellen Breslow, Claudia Lewin,
Charles Lipsitz, Pauline Lubens,
Rob Meachum, Sara Rimer, Stephen
Editorial Page: Clifford Brown, Paul
Haskins, Steve Stojic
Arts Page: David Blomquist
Photo Technician: Ken Fink

engineering company operating whol-
ly in the public interest and dealing
with tough problems assigned to us
by more than a score of governmental
A BIT FURTHER ON, the ad men-
tions the "company's" need for
new graduates to work in "command
and control systems" and "electronic
surveillance" systems, among others.
The right of this company, or
agency or whatever, to promote itself
can not be fairly challenged. But if
MITRE is what they appear to be-a
security organization directly plugged
into and indivisible from the federal
defense and surveillance establish-
ment-they should be exposed for
what they are before being allowed to
recruit here or elsewhere.
The MITRE ad's presence in Tues-
day's Daily, once again, should not be
viewed as staff approval of that or-
ganization's operations or political
pursuits. The security establishment
more closely than any other national
institution embodies that which is
nefarious and undemocratic in Amer-
WE FIND MITRE'S exploiting the
knowledge of University students
for the purpose of further entrench-
ing the intelligence legions no less
objectionable than ROTC's presence
on behalf of the economic war ma-

People of Palestine:

The disinherited

IN 1948 he fled, along with a
million others towards Bei-
rut, towards Egypt, towards
Damascus. He fled from the
jeeps, the loudspeakers, of the
Zionist Stern Gang and Irgun,
led by Menachim Begin, fled
for his life. He was eight years
old and did not know perhans,
that he was leaving Palestine
for good.
His name is Fawaz Turki, and
he is a Palestine Arab of the
last generation to be born in
Palestine. His life has b P e n
mostly lived in a refugee camp
outside of Beirut, where he grew

In his book, The Disinherited,
Fawaz Turki writes: "I a 'n
aware that I have been state-
less for nearly all of my twenty-
nine years, that I have lived
and grown up in a refugee camp
on the edge ofthe desert; that
except for those freckl,-nosed
bureaucrats in the West who
from time to time endsed a
shipment of food and warm
blankets to me, I did not ex'st
on the face of this globe;"
"When for two decades I
feared, I feared only the cnld
of twenty winters, and whFen I
dreamed, I dreamed only of
the food that others ate. I am
also aware that this has muitil-

ated my reality and impover-
ished my consciousness."
Fawaz Turki's story is not
substantially different from that
of 1 and a half million of his
brethren. Their story is a ragic
one which, in this councry, Nh-s
been largely obscured. To hear
Fawaz tell this story is to hear
a stunningly different account
of something that many people
long ago stopped evaluaing:
"By 1948, the Palestinle peo-
ple had already acquired a ccn-
sciousness, had acquired a ra-
tional psyche. Because the
idiom, the metaphor, the ethos,
the laughter, the whole essen-
tial repertoire of the Palestin-
ian experience for the Palestin-
ian people had been derived
from the land of their birth."
"And therefore, for anyone
to assume that the Palestinians
had been absorbed by +he Arab
nations is part of a whole body
of mythology which has charac-
terized any analysis of the Pal-
estinian problem."
He is a poet, and when he
says such things one cannot
help but be reminded of this.
His voice is gently insistent and
rhythmic, an ironically eloquent
spokesman for a people who
have had little to ;ay in their
own destiny. "Haifa," he quotes
an old Palestinian tolk song,
"we left thee with the fish that
our fishermen had caught siill
thrashing in the sand."
The conflict thattman' r-ofLs
have labelled as the "Arab-Is-
raeli conflict" has acually al-
ways had its roots n the Pales-
tinian problem. In 1917, t h e
British Balfour D Ljaratxon
helped initiate what has be-
come such a bitter struggle, by
condoning the establishment of
a Jewish homeland in Pales'ine.
At the time more than a
half million Arabs were ving

in Palestine in a culture -ery
much their own. The Zionist slo-
gan, "A people without a land
for a land without a people,'
was an innately false one, and
most British officials invilved
knew this.
Arab resistence to Jewvish im-
migration grew and, by 136,
had risen to a peak and cli-
maxed into a three-year perid
of striking and rioting across
the land. The turbulence of tni~
so-called "Mandate Pecio'l' ul-
timately forced the British to
give up their claim to Palestine,
in deference to a partition plan
of the United Nation,~, which
sectioned Palestine into desig-
nated "Arab" and "Jewisl."
In the violent period tha ol-
lowed, Zionist forces atempted
to rid the land of Arabs, and
they were exiled into an outside
Arab world that neither welcom-
ed nor liked the Palestinians. So
often the question has been ask-
ed - why did the Palestinians
flee so readily from ther home-
To this Fawaz Turki answers,
"That question is of p;.rely
academic significance. N o w
whether the Palestinians i-ft
voluntarily, or whetner t h e y
were physically evicted, or whe-
ther they were terrorized into
leaving, or whether they left
in response to appeals by the
Arab governments, is really of
no significance at all."
"Because a refugee does not
forfeit his right to return to
his country, becaisa o: the
manner in which he lefl it. Yes,
there was terror. It was carrie.1
out in such tactics as were used
in the village of Deir Yassim.
Deir Yassim was a village in
the North of Palestine which
was attacked by the Irgun, who
killed 254 men, women and

children. It was a hileous kind
of massacre. Many of the sur-
rounding villages and towns,
hearing about Deir Yassim, es-
caped in terror. But whether a
Palestinian left in this manner
or that, he does not cruse to be
a Palestinian simply because of
the manner in which he left his
country," asserts Turki.
Asked about present-day ter-
rorism, he quickly becomes en-
raged, and says, "How can we
condone the killing of innocent
Israeli children by Palestine re-
fugees? No one can condone
that. How can we condone the
napalming and the killing of
Palestine children in refugee
camps-- no one can condone
that, either."
Turki raises an inte-c._ting is-
sue with regard to American
media coverage of the Palestin-
ians -- namely, that our und.r-
standing of such struggles 1has
been limited by an underlying
racism towards them:
"The media have a kind of
contempt, a kind of inability, to
relate to the suffering, to the
pain, to the vision, to the strug-
gle for liberation, of a people
with whom they do n't s;sm
to share the same system of
values, and the same system
of consciousness," ne says.
"You may recall, ' he adds,
"how simplistically the media
covered the struggle in Vietnam
duringthe early 60's. The free-
dom-loving people of S o ui t hi
Vietnam, and their beloved read-
er, Diem, against the d i r t y
Commies in the North w h o
were going to oppress them "
"It wasn't until the struggle
of the Vietnamese people be-
came just as equally relenie s
as the American agg~ressors,
that the media here was forced,
willy-nilly, so to speak, to re-
cognize it for its true fotn.da-
tion and basis."
Of Kissinger's efforts in the
Middle East, Turki zornnts,
"The settlement that Kissiager
is seeking at the m nient is
something that I constier with
tremendous suspicibn. It is
wishy-washy, full of in -erim so-
lutions and withdrawals, a n d
totally ignoring the eery essentce
of the conflict in Palestine -
the Palestinian proble.'
"And indeed," he continues,
"it is now generally recognized
that without the Pilin'ans,
peace in the Middle East wou'ld
be a kind- of ripe irean. It is
paradoxical. that the Palestin-
ians, who are really the voice



Fawaz Turki

Purists are obscene'--Graffiti


\\\Ulllllll\\1 ,R, i. -;r*,\

especially of the lavatory wall variety,
is an expression of the creative urge
in all of us. On another level, art histor-
ians define art as an extension of the
artist himself.
Shouldn't then graffiti be critically judg-
ed in the same manner as art? Can it not
be determined that graffiti is too an exten-
sion of its perpetrator, and therefore an
art form? Is it so inconceivable that a lav-
atory wall, marred by pencil scribblings,

ments. Still the University offers no organ-
ized program for the development and re-
finement of this skill, one that the student
takes with him after graduation and re-
tains more readily than, say, balancing
THE UNIVERSITY has admittedly been
generous in providing us with a healthy at-
mosphere for learning and creative endea-
vor. However, there has been no effort on
the administration's part, not even a token
allocation of funds, to support the ever-
burgeoning practice of stylishly defacing

well-meaning but narrow-minded authorit es
discouraged freedom of expression and es-
tablished, at least in my mind, a very de-
finite form of artistic censorship.
Studies have shown that most practition-
ers of graffiti work in lavatory stalls. Un-
fortunately, many of these artists are lit-
erally caught with their pants down when
their pencil leads snap in moments of su-
preme inspiration.
THE OBVIOUS solution is to provide lav-
atory stalls University-wide with reliable
pencil sharpeners so that no message,

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