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September 14, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-14

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Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sunday, September 14, 1980

The Michigan Daily

Vol. XCI, No. 10

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of The Daily's Editorial Board

'D' is for devastating

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presidential contest this year
will keep millions away from the polls
in November.I
In Michigan, that could be especially
unfortunate, because if ever there
were a reason to vote in an election,
there is a reason this year: the Tisch
tax cut proposal.
One of the three tax reform
proposals that will appear on the
November ballot, the Tisch
plan-named for its author,
Shiawassee County Drain Com-
missioner Robert Tisch-represents a
socially expensive "free lunch" plan
that will devastate the University,
higher education institutions across
the state, and any public programs.
Tisch's plan-labelled "Proposal D"
(you can remember that if you think of
"D" as representing "Devastating")
-calls for cutting property taxes in
half and in turn requiring the state to
pay local governments about $2 billion
to make up for the lost property tax
Further, Proposal D calls for rolling
back all state taxes and fees, including,
tuition, to 1978 levels-with increases

permitted only if 60 percent of the
voters approve.
At first glance, the Tisch tax
slashing plan is attractive, especially
to residents of a state ravaged by wor-
sening unemployment.
But consider for a moment exactly
what Robert Tisch does not bother to
consider-the $2 billion that the state
would be required to pay local gover-
nment bodies would come from only $3
billion in funds now used for higher
education, public employee salaries,
and social services.
And with both .the state and the
University unable to raise additional
revenues without a nearly-impossible
60 percent level of voter approval, the
picture would look bleak indeed.
The University has already begun an
apparently unprecedented
"educational" campaign about the
Tisch amendment (as a state in-
stitution, it cannot actually urge voters
to cast "no" ballots). We applaud this
effort, and hope Michigan voters
recognize the danger of the Tisch
plan-especially since it can only be
defeated by receiving more "no" than
"yes" votes.

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Iran's fury is our ju,

St desert~
question, since.a court would probably agree
that the hostages have some monetary com-
pensation due them, as do the American comrti-
panies' whose holdings were"liberated"
during the Iranian revolution. Still, the tur-
moil that bred both these problems was the
fault of American puppetry in the person of
the Shah, and it would seem only fair that the
U.S. take the loss.
Last, and most problematic, Khomeini
wants the U.S. to return the Shah's wealth to,

If the reader will glance leftward from
this space, he will encounter an editorial that
surely puts to rest The Daily's sometime
claim of consistently representing a com-
passionate, liberal view in its Editorial Board
The newspaper's staff, like so many other
short-sighted Americans, has fallen into the
trap of isolating Iran's seizure of the
American embassy from the events that
preceeded that November day. The unspoken
core of the argument is simply this: The ten
months of captivity the Americans have en-
dured at the Iranians' hands rate equally in
sheer criminality to the United States' long
record of unjustifiable, inhumane interven-
tion in Iran.

methods imported from the U.S., have caused
more misery?
I TRUST I will not be called a traitor if I
venture the opinion that the hostage situation
amounts to a hill of beans in contrast to the
indiscriminate bloodletting sponsored by the
The Shah's reign could easily have come to
an abrupt and permanent end in the early fif-
ties, at which time he was chased from Iran
by his subjects. But the U.S. would not stand

Let's look at Khomeini's
conditions but not now



By Joshua Peck

Khomeini of Iran broke a long
silence Friday. by listing -quite
specifically his conditions for release
of the 52 American hostages. While the
move would appear to be a step toward
a negotiated settlement of the
problem, the basic nature of Iran's ap-
proach has not changed, and should not
be respected. Blackmail has no place
in international relations.
Khomeini's demands are not so ex-
treme that we would not be able to en-
dorse cooperation under other circum-
stances: He calls for the return of late
Shah Reza Pahlavi's wealth to Iran,
for Iranian assets currently frozen in
the U.S. to be unblocked, for the U.S. to
drop its (presumably financial) claims
against Iran, and for the U.S. to
promise never again to interfere in
Iran's internal affairs.
But for the U.S. to accede to these
demands now, with the American
hostages still held, would mean
knuckling under to an act of inter-
national terror that is no more accep-
table ten months after the militants
seized the embassy than it was in
Aside from the ideological and legal
reasons to shun the ayatollah's deman-

ds, there are powerful practical ones
as well-the principal reason being
that it is perfectly possible we could
secure the hostages' release without
stooping to negotiating with their
Iranian kidnappers.
Though American hopes have been
dashed many times before, the
pressures mounting in Tehran to reach
accord with the U.S. might soon
become unbearable. Tension is
building with Iraq on Iran's western
border. The newly-adventurous
Soviets are making the Parliament
more nervous daily. The economic
sanctions imposed by the U.S. have
begun to effect Iran's fragile economy.
The ongoing adversary relationship
with America must seem less to Iran's
advantage every day.
Khomeini's regime has never been a
stable one, and the question of where
the ultimate decision-making
authority lies has not been answered
clearly. Perhaps Khomeini has only
four demands, but President Bani-
Sadr may have five, Foreign Minister
Ghotbzadeh six, and the zealots of the
Parliament untold dozens. Until it is
clear that one Iranian individual or
body is empowered to carry through on
an agreement, it is foolish to consider

- THAT THIS belief is not explicitly stated is
of no relevance. If the staff agreed that the
punishment the U.S. has dealt out is far worse
than what it has endured, there could be no
question that Washington should make
reparations for its crimes in exchange for the
safe return of the hostages.
Instead, it seems, we should wait
unyieldingly for the Iranians to free the
hostages, and at that time consider'compen-
sating Iran for damages done. Sounds
reasonable, perhaps, but the scheme has one
small flaw-it is totally unreasonable to ex-
pect anything of the kind.
Look at the history of the conflict from the
Iranian viewpoint (I realize this presupposes
that the Iranians are human beings, but bear
with me for a moment). The U.S., without
consulting the millions most directly affected,
supported for decades an Iranian ruler who
racked up one of the worst human rights
records in modern history.
UNDER THE SHAH, Iran had "the highest
rate of death penalties in the world, no valid
system of civilian courts, and a history of tor,
ture which is beyond belief. No country in the
world has a worse record in human rights
than Iran."
Those are not the words -'of a Muslim
fanatic, nor of a Communist rhetorician. They
are the words of Martin Ennals, secretary-
general of Amnesty International.'
Which country's animosity is more
reasonably founded? That of the U.S., which
has suffered the loss of 58 hostages for 10
months? Or perhaps might the violence
committed by the Shah, with weapons and


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AN IRANIAN STUDENT reads from the works of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
hlavi was returned to power by the the land in which it was amassed. The di
efforts of the Central Intelligence ficulty here is that we haven't got it. But if thD-
other conditions are met in good faith, and thp:
ne, the Shah would take no chances. U.S. negotiates to do what it can through,
ons of American dollars, the Shah diplomatic channels to press for the return'of,
d a lethally effective secret police the billions, it seems very likely that an ac-
wn as SAVAK. Their training was cord could be reached.
culled, according to one former CIA The Daily staff, like many who have taken a
m the methods of the Third Reich. hard line on the Iran issue, is afraid of.
IAH HAS had the good grace to die "knuckling under" to Khomeini, for fear of,,
dering the Iranians' admittedly un- encouraging other Third World countries to
demand for his head moot. That attempt similar tactics.
ur conditions the U.S. must meet if The solution is at once simple and painfully;
is to order the hostages' release. unlikely. The time has come to assess the ef-
le one is unreasonable. fect of our ties with and support of dozens of
and, I suspect, most important to right wing regimes around the world, to make
nians, the U.S. will have to promise moves to sever those ties, and to establish
n from intervening ever again in friendly relations with whatever governmen-
ffairs. That would seem a fair ex- ts replace the juntas and generalissimos, so
U.S. involvement to date has not long as they are popularly supported.
irely in keeping with Iranian in- Iran is but the beginning. We are patrons ofa
oppression the world over-from South Korea
the Iranian assets now frozen in to Saudi Arabia, from Turkey to Tunisia, and
banks must be freed. Again, a fair from Guatemala to Greece. There must be
They were only seized in the first another way.

a method of pressuring the Iranians
the captives.
WE ARE asked to drop all claims
ran. This might give rise to some

Daily's O
pears ever

* ;..

Singing the blues for ti

What is the blues? Is the blues
peculiar to the cultural traditions
and lifestyle, the folkways and
heritage of black people? Or is it
an ambigious expression of
anguish and pleasure, suffering
and exaltation which is part of all
things human? Is it accidental
that the AfroAmerican experien-
ce gave birth to a musical
tradition that has awed human
beings throughout the world? Or
is the blues, to paraphrase one
black writer, simply running the
fingers across the jagged edges
of black consciousness?
The origins of the blues
tradition are found in African and
American soil, the deep
blue/black humus which nur-
tured and sustained a powerful
aesthetic tradition and unique

By Manning Marable

and our fathers' fathers almost
lost whatever dignity they
held-a tradition of hope
emerged. That belief in the tran-
scendence of the ordeal of
slavery is part of the foundation
of the blues. To sing the blues is to
express one's faith that one will
survive and that one's humanity
will never die.
The giants of the blues were ex-
traordinary men and women. In
Bessie Smith, a small town girl
from Columbus, Georgia ex-
presses the sensuality of her
womanhood and her zest for life
in a series of blues inter-
Leadbelly first learned to sing

"The Bougeois Blues," "Good"
Night Irene," "Boll Weevil,"
"Midnight Special," and "Rock
Island Line," are an integral
part of black culture and black
JOSH WHITE began, playing
the guitar for his father, -a rural
fundamentalist preacher.
Moving to New York, White ear-
ned a reputation as one of the
greatest blues accompanists of
the 1920s and 1940s. Since World
War II, the blues tradition has
been continued by Otis Spann,
Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy,
Joe Williams, and, of course, the
early work of the great Ray

Peck is the co-editor of The
)pinion Page. His column ap-
y Sunday.
ie blues
youth do not know the names of.
Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, and
John Lee Hooker. Disco has
revlaced the blues as our youth's
medium of aesthetic popular ex-
pression. Black artists are often
more concerned about thee,
"crossover" market in producing
records with an appeal factor for
for whites than they are in
relearning what was (and is) so
fundamental about the blues,
jazz, spirituals, and gospel
When we lose the blues, there
will be something that will be
destroyed within ourselves that
speaks to our own unique
humanity. If the blues dies, then
a special part of our creative soul
will perish along with it.


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