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November 13, 1981 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-13

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Page 4 Friday, November 13, 1981 The Michigan Daiy


Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan


Vol. XCI( No. 56

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109


THE "51W1~j

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A GEO victory


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L AST WEEK, University graduate
assistants won a long overdue
privilege when the Michigan Em-
ployment Relations Commission
upheld an earlier decision that most
graduate students are employees of
the University. This decision will allow
graduate student assistants to
organize and bargain with the Univer-
sity for a contract.
The University will most likely at-
tempt an appeal of the decision. Its at-
tempt, however, would seem, to be
more one of union busting than
anything else. For five years, in what
appeared to have been an attempt to
break the union, the University
dragged out the case with GEO. It
would not be inconsistent or surprising
for them to continue their attempts.
1 In the past, the University had the
opportunity to exploit graduate studen-

ts working as teaching assistants. Ad-
ministrators set the rate of pay for
teaching assistants and called it
"financial aid." Thus, the University
got some very inexpensive labor from
graduate students who needed to teach
but had no say in their salary.
This also affected the teaching of un-
dergradnates. When selecting
graduate schools, many highly
qualified students could have selected
other universities where graduate
teaching opportunities seemed more
lucrative. As a result, the University
lost the chance to attract some top-
notch teaching assistants.
Finally,'graduate student employees
will have the opportunity to bargain for
equitable pay. True, at this time, many
may not feel the need to bargain-but
at least there is a vehicle available
with which to do it.



Am erica 's

'China opening' to


A narrow victory

N A YEAR otherwise marked by
j notable failures in state government,
the passage of a bill by the Michigan
House to keep library records secret
stands out as a distinct victory for the
advocates of good government.
But by virtually any other measure,
the very narrow margin by which the
library records bill passed stands as a
shocking and frightening commentary
oi the state of liberties in Michigan..
With just one vote to spare, the
Hyuse passed the bill, sponsored by
Perry Bullard (D-Ann Arbor), which is
aimed at keepng extremist groups
from using library records to
scrutinize the reading habits of
teachers and others.
The introduction of the bill was
prompted by concern over incidents in
other states in which conservative
groups-particularly fundamentalist
religious sects-have combed library
records to determine what type of book
teAchers were checking out for use in
their classes._

The bill is a good idea, and
many-including Bullard-thought it
would draw relatively little controver-
But the legislation drew fire from.
law and order types, who claimed that'
the bill would hamper law enforcement
efforts despite provisions in the bill
that give police access to library
records when they have a valid need to
see them.
One representative, in fact, cited
recent news stories which quoted a.
narcotics officer as complaining that
privacy laws "make life easier for the
Granted, in days when repression
both in the United States and abroad
meets with increasing acceptance, the
success of Bullard's bill in the House is
especially significant. But the
criticism the bill received and the
narrow margin by which it cleared the
lower house serves only as sa7d and
frightening testimony to the nature of
the times.

By Franz Schurmann
In its final lap, the AWACS debate finally got
down tp the gut issue: Does our special
relationship with Israel exclude a similar
special relationship with Saudi Arabia, an
enemy to Israel? The political energies
mobilized over this issue on both sides were
among the most intense since the Nixon era.
The wounds will be slow to heal.
A quarter of a century ago, the United
States was caught in a similarly emotional
and divisive debate over another special
relationship-with Taiwan, or Formosa as we
called it then. So special was Formosa to us
that some called it the 51st state. Then-Sen.
William Knowland of California was referred
to as the "senator from Formosa.
FORMOSA WAS THE special cause of con-
servatives in the 50s, just as Israel is that of
most liberals today. Its defenders lauded
Chiang Kai-shek's island as the Free World'q
stauchest ally in a regien threatened by
communism. "Red China"-with 25 percent
of the Earth's population-was a plague to be
contained, and approached only at one's
Yet barely two years after we ended out
war with the mainland and Korea, am-
bassadorial talks between the United States
and the People's Republic of China began in
Geneva in 1955. Conservatives were furious
and Chiang launched an aggressive policy
that almost got us into another war during the
Quemoy crisis of 1958.
Nevertheless, we pulled back and started
talking again. '
LATER, THERE WERE many clashes
with the Chinese during the Vietnam War,
which both parties covered up as we con-
tinued talking. Then Richard Nixon, seeing
the Sino-Soviet split widening, conceived of
the bold idea of a breakthrough to China.
Now we seem to be on the way to a new
special relationship, this time with Beijing,
while Deng Xiaoping's government has of-
fered to leave Taiwan intact-including its
armed forces-if it will agree to reunification.
In the end what prompted the shift was
recognition that we had to develop ties to one of
the world's great civilizations, whether its
rulers were Confucian, Christian, or Com-
A similar conclusion has been taking hold in
the U.S. government as regards the Arab and
-Islamic world. The decision in favor of the
AWACS sale represents a symbolic affir-
mation that we must cultivate ties not just to
Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab
regimes, but to the vast Islamic world, which
encompasses an eighth of the globe's
population and which stretches from the
southern Phillipines deep into sub-Saharan


U.S. Air Force technicians operate radar equipment on board an American AWACS.

n a le !41
7 .
- ,",i. /.

FEW AMERICANS realize how deeply in-
volved we have already become with that
Islamic world, even while we often continue
to disparage Arabs anlIslam.
Our links to the oil-rich lands of the Middle
East are obvious. Less known is the fact that
another of our chief oil suppliers is Nigeria
with its 80 million people, the majority devout
Muslims.. Islam, in fact, is the fastest
spreading religion in Africa.
We also get oil and other raw materials
from Indonesia, with 150 million people,
almost all Muslim. We have a military allian-
ce with 80 million-strong Muslim Pakistan,
and a rapidly developing special relationship
with Egypt, whose 40 million people are now
caught up in an Islamic revivial comparable
to that of Iran's.
JUST AS IRANIANS now consider us the
"great Satan,'' "Red China" once reviled us
as "American imperialists."
The Saudis all too often are portrayed as
greedy sheikhs in the U.S. media, but they are
actually shrewd oligarchs who are well aware
of global realities. As the custodians of the-
holy cities of Mecca andMedina, they know
that the most powerful and fearsome force in
the Islamic world is Islam itself.
More than Buddhism, Hinduism, or
Christianity, Islam has displayed an amazing
capacity to route itself in the souls of its
believers. Even where once thought dead, as
in secular Yuoslavia or atheist Russia, it has
again sprung to life. It has become a
revolutionary political catalyst despite its ex-

treme social conservatism.
ISRAEL IS a small political island in an Arab
and Islamic ocean. Our special relationship
with Jerusalem arose out of a spiritual af-
finity in the United States between the
Protestant, Catholic, and Jewishfaiths which
was strengthened by the Holocaust. So, too,
unusual warmth linked American conser-
vative to Chiang Kai-shel, a Christian, and
his American-educated advisers.
Today the sbecial relationship with Taiwan
has ended, but Taiwan remains an island of
prosperity based on a high-tech economy.
Although its leaders may still dream of the,
days when Formosa was armed to the teeth
and ready to pounce on its red enemies, in
fact they know that they have done quite well
by accepting their'lesser status.
It is very possible that Israel, with its
clearly talented people, could in time become
another Taiwan. But that will only be possible
if the West-and the United States
especially-begins to come to realistic terms
with Islam. # long road took us from the fitst
U.S.-China contacts in 1955 to normalization
of relations and- quasi-alliance. -A similar
journey will be necessary to bridge the gulf
between the Islamic and Western worlds.
Schurmann is a professor of sociology
and history at the University of California
at Berkeley. He wrote this article for
PacificNews Service.


Japanese-A mericans deserve, redress

To the Daily:,
I highly commend your recent
editorial (Daily, Nov. 4) concer-
ning the World War II internment
of Japanese-Americans and the
current issues surrounding their
struggle for redress and
reparations. It speaks well of
your paper to bring this issue to
the attention of this campus.
While I am not confident that
the present administration will
be willing to offer monetary
reparations to the internment


one can,.

I feel,

justifiably argue that it is not too
late to pay for a past act of in-,
justice. The effects of the past are
still deeply felt today.
The internment experience so
severely crippled two
generations of Japanese-
Americans - in psychological,
physical, and financial ways that
it has taken this long to develop
the leadership and a coherent
movement through which they
can strive for justice.

The loss of capital and property
suffered by the earlier
generations of Japanese
Americans has greatly'curtailed
their ability to claim a part of the
American mainstream
economy, after they had contr-
ibuted so much to it. To receive a
portion of that lost money would
enable many survivors to live out
the rest of their days with a little
more comfort and a great deal
more dignity.
Arguments which center of "an
American mistake" or "wartime
hysteria" carry little weight in
light of the facts. Mistakes
demand rectification, and the so-
called "wartime hysteria" was
curiously aiihed at only

respect. Racial and economic
factors were more' readily the
roots of the government's action
than was hysteria.
Perhaps more importantly, the
issue is not only what should be
done about a past wrong, but
what can be done for the future.
The National Committee for
Redress and Reparations is
seeking a formal institutional
guarantee that such an action
will not be taken again.
In this age of increased inter-
national hostility, such a guaran-
tee is sorely needed. If it is not
forthcoming, who will be the next
group of Americans to be herded
into the. camps? As long as the
protection is not guaranteed; the


Conrad's allright

To the Daily:
In your "Letters to the Daily"
column on November 10, Rubin

through which Conrad expresses
his view point on an issue. In this
cartoon he says a lot about the

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