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November 12, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-12

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Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Friday, November 12, 1976 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Utahs death decree is
111orally sick, inhumane

PICTURE THIS, if you will.
A chilly dawn in Draper, Utah,
about 20 miles south of Salt Lake
City. Gary Mark Gilmore, convicted
in the murder of a hotel, clerk, is
sitting, strapped to a chair, in a
compound at Point of the Mountain
State- Prison. There is a hood over
his head, blocking his vision, and
his heart is marked with a target.
A warden voices a command, and ten
yards ahead of the 35-year-old man,
five volunteers with rifles squeeze
the triggers of their weapons and
shoot him to death.
An eye for an eye; a tooth for a,
We have argued as long and as
locd and as persuasively as we pos-
sibly could on this page over the
years in opposition to the death pen-
alty. We have used every position
of morality, compassion and simple
logic we could summon to show the
inhumanity and absurdity inherent
in one of the most tragic anachron-
isms of American society.
WE. HAVE HARDLY been alone -
certain civil liberties groups plus re-
ligidus and judicial organizations
have lined up against capital punish-
ment - but the other side has been
too strong. The Supreme Court, in
its bloody bicentennial birthday pre-
sent to the nation, voted _last sum-
mer to clear the way for executions
in many states. Both presidential
candidates this year approved of
the death penalty, in varying de-
The Gilmore case behooves us to
go through the arguments once
again. His status is still uncertain, as
Utah Gov. Calvin Rampton issued a
reprieve yesterday pending a review
by the Board of Pardons. But the
thirst for vengeance seems to be
widespread, and there's every chance
the firing squad will go through
with its ghastly chore sometime
next week.
Murder, in any form, is wrong. The
death penalty -is clean, legal and pre-
sumably,; sometimes painless, but it
is murder nonetheless. It is the de-
liberate killing of a human being,
which is pot right under any cir-
cumstances. The highest level of
human dignity will come when the
nation learns to tell even its most
violent, loathesome citizens: "We
want to help you. We do not forgive
you, but we want you to be a better
person, and we'll try to .rehabilitate
QECONDLY, the so-called' "deterrent
effect" of executions Is based,
for the most part, on contradictory

MassMedia is ni
WHO IS THE PRESIDENT of Venezuela? Of Mexico? Can
you name a Brazilian artist? An Argentine diplomat? If
not, you're hardly unique. Most Americans know virtually noth-
ing about Latin America, despite the profound influence wielded
there by the government and large corporations of the United
What we do know about Latin America - or about the
rest of the world, for that matter - depends to an uncomfort-
able extent on what television, the nation's chief communica-
tions medium, chooses to tell us. Therein lies a major reason
why the Teach-In on Latin America is so necessary.
It's not difficult to understand our national indifference to-
wards the Latin Americans represented on the airwaves. From
Chiquita Banana to the Fritos Bandito, they have been a happy-
go-lucky lot, characterized by a love for music, sex, slapstick
violence, and slaughtered English. Ricky Ricardo had no prob-
lems so long as he stuck to band-leading and singing; when
he tried to express himself in any other way, however, Lucille
Ball could barely understand him. Comedian Bill Dana made
a television career of his monologues as Jose Jiminez. The humor
lay in the apparent incongruity between Dana's put-on Latin ac-
cent, and his assertions that he was, variously, an astronaut,
business leader, or socialite.
THIS IS, OF COURSE, precisely the sort of humor that did
lasting damage to the image of Black Americans. It diverts
our attention from the problems which television seldom treats
in a meaningful way: poverty, famine, and disease - the real
handicaps of Latin Americans. The low point may have been
reached with "a 1970 commercial featuring a sombrero-hatted
Mexican whose perspiration odor caused donkeys to faint-until
the fortuitous discovery of an American deodorant. If their
product could solve his problem, argued the sponsor's an-
nouncer, it could certainly solve yours.
The treatment of Latin America by television journalists
has been, in its own way, no more responsible. Addicted to
the coverage of dramatic, "short-run" events, network news shows
have traditionally neglected complicated, deeply-entrenched prob-
lems. With few exceptions, their attention turns to Latin America
only when violence escalates into full scale slaughter, or natural
disasters decimate an entire population. The net result is the
cumulative image of a people who are incapable of stable self-
government or orderly response to emergencies. The dreadful
economic conditions which make instability chronic, and inhibit
reasonable precautions against catastrophe, tend to be ignored.
We have very little insight into Latin American life between
'"HE DEFICIENCIES of television journalism were most recent-
ly evident in coverage of the events in Chile. In their efforts

eg igent on Latin
to establish simple answers for the apparent "popular" dissatis-
faction with Salvador Allende, prior to his murder, the networks
settled on a fiscal explanation. Inflation was rampant; the Chilean
currency had fared poorly in the world money market; consumer
goods were in short supply. Although Walter Cronkite never quite
said so, the implication was that Allende had "earned" his
The truth is that American pressure on foreign banks, coupled
with outright sabotage by the Central Intelligence Agency, helped
create the crisis. This is not supposition; it is fact, borne out
by the investigations of the Church Committee in the U.S. Sen-
ate. Foreign loans and assistance to Chile fell to $35 million
per year in 1973. In the 18 months which followed the coup,
the military junta received $622 million in external aid. Tele-
vision never gave us this perspective on the economic prob-
lems of Chile under Allende. Nor has it explained that infla-
tion since the take-over has raised prices to 800 per cent of
their 1973 level.
Television is habituated to a standard interpreation of ex-
perience. The conventional wisdom, whatever its sources, had it
that the Chilean people were anxious to rid themselves of Sal-
vador Allende. That was the story which television told. The
conventional wisdom, however, is not infrequently amiss. Tele-
vision continued portraying American students as "uncommitted"
well into the social upheavals of the sixties, before executing
a rather abrupt turn-about. Television transmitted the conven-
tional Pentagon wisdom on Vietnam until the N.L.F. fough its
way into the American Embassy in 1968.
Factual distortion, however, may not be the medium's worst
impediment to our perception of reality. We have become so
accustomed to miniaturized violence broadcast into the living
room, that distinguishing between sadistic fantasies and grim
truths has become very difficult. For many viewers, the 'ex-
tended coverage of the Vietnam War provided a psychological
cushion, rather than a window on horrors which were all too
real. It was, after all, not so very different from other tele-
vision shows.
The Teach-In will bring people, rather than electronic im-
ages, before the community. For Isabel Allende and Isabel Letelier,
who lost a father and husband to the violence supported by our
tax dollars, the terror in Latin America is immediate, concrete,
and deadly. For Amy Congers, who knows first-hand what it
is to be tortured, the crisis has a flesh and blood reality
which television cannot duplicate. We owe it to ourselves to
hear from them what the networks have been unable - or un-
willing-to tell us.
Frank Viviano is a graduatestudent in American. Culture
and an English Departlnentfeaching fellow.


Barbara Walters

Gary Gilmore
figures and speculation. There is no
evidence demonstrating that the
murderer who fires a handgun in an
uncontrolled fit of rage, or the men-
tally disturbed criminal, conscious-
ly reflects on the judicial conse-
quences of his act before committing
the crime. Moreover, it is morally
questionable to kill for the mere pur-
pose of conditioning the behavior of
Also damning the death penalty is
the fact that its targets are dispro-
portionately black and disproportion-
ately poor.
We can't save Gary Gilmore's life.
If Utah goes through with the exe-
cution - breaking the ice, as it were
- many of the nation's other hun-
dreds of Death .Row inmates will
soon be iparched off to the gas
chambers,'to the electric chairs, to
the gallows and to the firing squads.
Unlike Gilmore, most of them would
probably prefer not to die. We can't
save their lives, either.
It will take more work and better
persuasion, but we believe the death
penalty will be outlawed in the
United States within a generation
or two. It will take a different Su-
preme Court, a humane and uncom-
promising President, strong and
compassionate state legislatures,
and an enlightened American citi-
But we won't be killing or fellow
humans anymore.
News: Elaine Fletcher,Bill Turque,
Jeff Ristine, Ken Parsiqian, Karen
Krebs, Ken Chotiner, Shelley Wol-
son, 'Lori Carruthers
Editorial Page: Jeff Ristine, Rob
Meachum, Michael Beckman, Tom
Arts Page: Lois Josimovich
Photo Technician: Andy Freeberg

Walter Cronkite

Shiah's regime tortures and
murders political opponents,

Letters to

than 40,000 political pri-
soners in the Shah's medeival
prison cells, and the brutal and
inhuman treatment they are
subject to, not only shows the
extent to which Shah's dicta-
torial policies prevail in Iran,
but also it makes one to think
as to what conditions it cor-
responds to.
Since its coming to power by
a C. I. A. financed and engin-
eered Coup d-tat in 1953, the
Shah's regime has resorted to
the most brutal means of re-
pression, and it is only through
resorting to such means that
the regime can maintain and
perpetuate itself against the
growing resistance and strug-
gle of the Iranian people.
The manifestation of this
repressive system is seen:
{ Total denial of all democra-
tic human rights and social
freedoms such as freedom of
speech, press, assembly, habeas
corpus . writers, etc. . . . In
1974 the Shah closed 95 per cent
of all the press.,'In March 1974
he dissovled all the political
parties and declared Iran a
one party system, based on his
own notorious organization in
the "Resurgence Party." This
itself is the manifestation of
the era of open Fascism in
* Suppression of all workers'
strikes and students' demon-
stration by the brutal police
" Imprisonment, torture and
execution of many who dare
to raise their voice to demand
their rights as free citizens.
To carry out this repressive
rule of terror, the regime relies
on the two branches of its se-
curity - military machine:
a) An extensive police force
and military machine purchas-
ed with the increasing oil reve-
nue. Since 1973, the Shah has
purchased a total of $14.8 bil-
lion in arms, and last summer
(1976) it was announced that

Iran and U. S. had concluded
a $50 billion trade agreement
of which $30 billion will be.
used to purchase military arms.
b) An intricate Secret Police
Force - SAVAK. SAVAK is the
Iranian Secret Police Organiz-
atipn created by the Shah in
1957 for the express purpose
of disposing of one of his most
cumbersome problems - the
forces of opposition to his dic-
tatorial rule.
R E S P 0 N S I B L E only
'to the Shah and the Prime Min-
ister, SAVAK exercises abso-
lute control over all aspects of
the lives of the Iranian people.
It arrests, tortures and exe-
cutes at will. As reported in
the London Sunday Times
(Jan. 19, 1975), some common-
ly practiced torture methods
include ". . . the sustained
flogging of the soles of the feet,
extraction of finger and toe
nails, electric shock, treatment
to sexual organs and the
thrusting of a broken bottle
into the anis of prisoners sus-
pended by their wrists from a

beam." The report also adds
"SAVAK also has the grim
distinction of having invented
an instrument of torture which
victims call the Hot Plate -
or Hot Table - an iron frame,
rather like a bed-frame, cov-
ered with wire mesh which is
electrically heated like a toast-
er. Prisoners would, it is al-
leged, be strapped to the table
while it was heated until it be-
came red hot. The Sunday
Times has a number of inde-
pendent statements concern-
ig the use of the table on nam-
ed individuals; at least one of
them is said to have died after
suiffering on this barbaric de-
The regime, afraid of the
growing upsurge, has intensifi-
ed its repressiveness in hope
of eradication of the opposition.
But the peoples' response is a
heightening of resistance and'
struggle which they even car-
ry on inside the prison walls..
The struggle of the Iranian peo-
ple is jutst and must be support-
ed by all freedom loving peo-




Contact your reps
Sen. Phillip hart (Dem.), 253 Russell Bldg., Capitol lIll,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Robert' Griffin (Rep.), 353 Russell Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Rep. Marvin Esch (Rep.), 2353 Rayburn Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Gilbert Bursley (Rep,.), Senate, State Capitol Bldg.,
Lansing, MI 48933
Rep. Perry Bullard (Dem.), House of Representatives, State
Capitol Bldg., Lansing, MI 48933.
....,_.... ..e l..}:C:.:"iii . "r: rr : e:."; g;.:.".:::

ter's victory have ranged
from hailing him as the next
great leader to the predicting
of the advent of World War
III. In this case; as in most,
the truth lies somewhere be-
tween the extremes. What will
we see in the next few months
and what may the Carter pres-
idency be like?
In the time between his vic-
tory and inauguration Presi-
dent-elect Carter will pick his
cabinet, outline his forthcom-
ing policies and gain the in-
sightseand knowledge that he
will need as President.
President - elect Carter after
a narrow victory in last week's
election now faces the task of
uniting the country behind him.
Mr. Carter's stances an many
issues will be moving some-
what to the right in order to
gain support from the people
who voted for President Ford.
Already this seemed evident in
an interview with "Time" mag-
azine where he leaned to cre-
ating jobs "particularly in
those areas which require mini-
mum federal funding," rather
than the wide spread public
jobs he advocated earlier in
the campaign. These minor ad-'
jvstments in his policy are
necessary if he is to be able
to work effectively.
is a Democratic majority in
both houses of Congress', Mar-
ter may find it more difficult
dealing with congress than he
expected. In recent years the

which if implemented can im-
prove our federal government.
Among these are zero based
budgeting and a reorganization
of the 'bureaucracy. In both
these he will meet formidable
resistance, not necessary from
the Congress,hbut from those
well entrenched bureaucrats
who do not react well to change,
especially the possible elimina-
tion of their pet projects or
some inferences about the Car-
ter Presidency. If he follows
the path of many of his Demo-
cratic predecessors, and with
his strong emphasis on social
issues, Mr. Carter will prob-
ably be best known for his do-
mestic policies. If he can ac-
complish a good portion of
what he has advocated, this will
probably be true. .
The major weakness in past
Democratic Administrations
has been in foreign policy. This
is a challenge that Mr. Carter
must meet head on as vigor-
ously as domestic policy.Clear-
ly the sun is setting on the ca-
reer of Dr. Kissinger as secre-
tarv of state, but his policies
have been of great benefit to
the role and prestige of the
United States in the world.
Carter should look hard at these
policies before he drastically
alters them.
Jimmv Carter is our next
President. Both he and the
cointry have important work
to do and clcisions to mike.

To The Daily:
IN RECENT WEEKS we have witnessed a revival of the GEO
problem that gripped this campus a couple years ago. This year,
in lieu of faculty pay increases the University obstenently refuses
to even consider a similar increase for the student employees
wfo do the majority of undergraduate instruction. Apparently be-
'caise of plans formed after the last strike, the University even
refuses to agree to an independent third party, in the form of an
arbitrator, to attempt to solve the problem. And indeed there is
a problem, the GEO teachers must try to instruct classes of un-
wieldy size a a level that has earned this institution such world-
wide recognition, and at the same time attempt to gain graduste
training that also builds the schools reputation.
Granted, some of the GEO demands are overboard and most
assuredly the areas where GEO would be more than happy to
negotiate, but the main fight is class size and pay rate. And in this
case, the University seems to read social trends very well. Today
we are in the midst of ta general atmosphere of "get what you
can for yourself" among students and faculty. Witness the decline
of political interest and the "education for a job" revival..This is
a sad state of the union. Everywhere one hears comments of "if
the GEO gets what they want, my tuition will go up!", or "If I
participate in a strike, I might lose my grant." Recall the Univer-
sity's action after the technician union vote last fall. These fears
are serious, and can't be pushed aside easily for they hit right at
each persons home.
THERE'S ONLY ONE thing that will overcome these fears
played up by the University and this is student solidarity. If the
University indeed is in the beginnings of a financial crisis, we
must, through our actions, tell them that we will not continue
to pay, higher and higher costs for lower and lower quality edu-
cation. The University must delay North Campus expansion if it
means huge class sizes because of too small a teaching staff, it
must put off new recreational buildings when it means the cancel-
ling of new and progressive courses. It must stop increasing the
salaries of administrators and professors, who teach a small num-
ber of courses and spend the rest of their time on research grants
which build their bank accounts, if it means raising fee rates
out of reach of the student. How much in debt does the Univer-
sity think this training is worth?
The University is indeed faced with some of the most serious
problems in its history, and it will take some serious decisions to
overcome them, but the choice should be obvious that what should
be cut back if the University is for the education of students,
rather than the increase of the net worth of the University and its
bureaucracy. Everyone will have to look at, their demands and
what they truly need. If some professors refuse to stay at a neces-
sarily reduced pay rate, they should leave here and go to some.
less prestigious school with the same problems but less student
consciousness. If the GEO refuses to take a reasonable settlement,
they should go to a place where their skills are more in demand,
Saudia Arabia, perhaps. And if the students refuse to put up with
a reduction in extra-curricular and recreational services, they
should go to one of the many bullshit schools that clutter the
But if the GEO must strike, the students must realize that this
is their problem too and their education is at stake by allowing the
University to continue their policy of misplaced priorities which
..;i i n e to ia fall in the quality and desirability of this


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