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May 16, 1979 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1979-05-16

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Page 4-Wednesday, May 16, 1979-The Michigan Daily
F.Michigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Ml. 48109
Vol. LXXXIX No. 11-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Santilons mX should
stay- on -Rhodesia
MO UNTING Congressional pressure from
rightists and centrists alike to repeal
economic sanctions against Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
serves puppeteer Ian Smith's interests in -
polarizing U.S. sentiments.
The sanctions were originally invoked with the
central aim of inducing the white minority gover-
nment to hold free elections. Advocates of lifting
the sanctions point to the recently held elections
as justification, claiming penalties must be
rescinded in order to give the new regime a fair
chance. President Carter has wisely adhered to
the policy of leaving the sanctions intact until the
State Department's election guidelines are met.
Several reports indicate those elections were hard-
ly free, especially since the Patriotic Front-com-
posed of two guerrilla groups-was prohibited
from fielding candidates. Most of the country is
gripped by martial law, and a substantial portion
of the black population is confined to "protected
hamlets" behind high wire fences 22 hours a day.
And although Bishop Abel Muzorewa gained more
popular support than expected, the 28-member
white bloc in Parliament can veto any law
proposed and supported by Parliament's 72
Even though the guerrillas were excluded from
the election, their power cannot be ignored. The
Zimbabwe African National Union (7ANU),
which is Soviet-backed, has allied with Chinese-
backed Zimbabwe African People's Union
(ZAPU). ZANU is said to be in clear control of 50
per cent of the country, while another 30 per cent
in contested territory. ZANU collects taxes and
also operates an administrative network in those
occupied regions.
Muzorewa's mostly white regime has made
some feeble attempts to improve the lot of black
citizens. But without the support of the Patriotic
Front and a clear majority of black residents, its
rule promises to be short-lived. The Front is now
gaining cooperation, or accedence of white far-
mers. The latter also comprises a significant
proportion of the 2,00 whites leaving Rhodesia
each month. The erosion of white support could
hamper the new government's quest for
legitimacy as well.
Repealing the sanctions would be a grave
mistake. Such action would signal support for the
methods and racial composition of the puppet
government. It would also convey U.S. approval
of the sham elections. Any softening of the
previous stance might-also be construed as the
U.S. having designs on economic or military in-
volvement in the civil dispute there.
U.S. involvement might spell confrontation with
Soviet and Chinese-backed guerillas. Rhodesia's
bad economic straits would lead her to request
massive ecomonic aid from the U.S. Therefore,
the U.S. must make no conciliatory moves toward,
the newgovernmentRdesia's liberation should

The fatalism cloud

may yield silver

The report that three more
familiar substances cause cancer'
came so quickly on the heels of
the Harrisburg disaster that it
palpably thickened a spreading
sense of futility. Surely life itself
has become hazardous to health,
and we can be but spectators in
our self-destruction. ..
Why even worry about these
three carcinogens the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) named
this month when they are among
14,000 chemical compounds listed
by the government as hazardous?
Fewer than 200 of these have
been tested by the NCI.
We can avoid reserpine, the
drug used for high blood
pressure; we can stop buying
selenium sulfide shampoos and
never mind the dandruff; we can
throw out Compoz, Sominex and
other pills that contain
metapyrilene. We can even move
to some spot remote from all
atomic power plants.
BUT IN THE deepest forest we
might still be aerially sprayed
with a defoliant that may cause
birth defects. we could inadver-
tantly ingest DBGP, the soil
fumigant that keeps peach trees
healthy but makes men sterile.
The cancer-causing PCBs,
despite some government con-
trols, are everywhere. And our
hand-builttshelter couldbe
leeching toxins, its lumber
having been treated with an ar-
senic-based preservative.
What's the point of learning of
other poisons, spoiling whatever
pleasures the present might hold,
when there does not seem to be
much of afuture?
One of every four Ameicans
already gets cancer. In St.
George, Utah, downwind from
the Nevada site where nuclear
tests were conducted between
1951 and 1963, someone in almost
every family has died of cancer
or suffered problems that may be
linked to radiation.
Last month, residents learned
that they were deliberately kept
ignorant of the fallout hazard by
President Eisenhower and the
Atomic Engery Commission.
YET A REPORTER found the
prevailing mood was resignation

when he visited St. George in the
wake of this disclosure. "Well, it
was wartime and there were
some risks," one citizen told him.
"This thing has been blown out of
proportion," said another.
Likewise around Harrisburg.
People worried about problems
they understood to be real and
could perhaps act on-cars
breaking down, prices going up.
They tended to dismiss as alar-
mist the warnings of scientists.
As dire reports keep seeping
out of various institutions and
through the news media, like the
poisons that continue to seep
from the chemical dumps on New
York State's Love Canal, a
feeling of helplessness over-
comes outrage.
YET THE BRINK of fatalism
on which we now totter is also a
springboard. Considered that
way, this same dire news could
become the vehicle to launch us
out of torpor and allow the
creation of a different future.
As our technologies-from
pesticides to antibiotics to vast
water' projects to nuclear
power-arrive at a dead end and
begin, to fail, they necessitate a
rethinking of the assumptions
that made them seem sensible.
We discover that we have been
either lied to or misinformed
about the ways the world works.
And a different vision suddenly
comes into view.
There is a global rise in
malaria. It is proof that the
disease cannot be conquered with
pesticides. Malaria-bearing
mosquitoes have become im-
mune to a whole range of toxins
in many partsof the world. The
only realistic alternative,
proposed in a study for the United
Nations, is to control mosquito
populations ecologically: by
seeing to it that stagnant pools of
water do not form, by cultivating
mosquito-eating fish in irrigation
canals and ponds, planting trees
strategically on canal banks.
damentally different from the
current one, which relies mainly
on sprayers. It requires the study

of environnental interrelation-
ships. It only works with
knowledge of the habits and
habitats of different varieties of
mosquitoes, understanding of
water and land use that
discourages their proliferation,
attention to the problem of
human poverty, which is linked to
malaria. Local populations must
participate in such programs
rather than simply submitting, as
they do to the pesticides.
In the case of herbicides, the
Forest Service may be compelled
to consider an ecological alter-
native because of a recent rise in
public protest. It may have to
hire people to cut down the
shrubs and small trees that inter-
fere with growth of commercial
timber. This would mean, among
other things, more jobs in areas
of high unemployment.
It is the same with energy
issues. As the nuclear promise
fades and the gas lines grow, the
outlook for solar and other
renewable energies improves.
But here too, as with pesticides
and herbicides, the implications
are revolutionary:
system to replace fossil fuels is a
profound social choice, according
to Charles Ryan of the
Engineering-Economic Systems
Department at Stanford Univer-
sity. "Energy organizes society,"
he explains. "With too little
energy, man is slave to its
production; with too much, he is
a slave to its consumption."
Overconsumption is one major
cause of the economic crisis now
wrenching industrialized nations
"Inflation is the mechanism that
seeks to establish at what new
level population and standard of
living can come into balance with
the resource base," Ryan argues.
Moving from nuclear to solar
energy means moving toward
labor-intensive decentralized
society in which many people
have an active and much more
self-reliant role.
In other words, conversion of
the fatalist brink into a
springboard necessitates the
casting aside of the die that has
shaped society for several
There are signs that this die
has already begun to fall apart.
Americans are abandoning the
poll booths in national elections,
voting down traditionallytsacred
taxes, revolting against the old
public school system, demanding
new, stringent limits on gover-
nment. While much of this may
be interpreted as a denial of
social responsibility, it also has
another face. Saying no to
authority is the first step out of
fatalism. It is the first step out of
the role of spectator and toward
that of actor.
A citizen-led collapse of the of-
ficial order may not cut down the
rate of cancer right away. But it
allows us to see with fresh eyes
and to reclaim the right to live
within natural systems that
sustain us.
Rasa Gusaitis is an editor
of Pacific News Service, for
which this piece was written.

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