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February 09, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-09

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A

OPINION
Thursday, February 9, 1984

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

6

Doubting the effectiveness of resistance

By Mike Buhler
University communities provide a healthy
environment for the debate and discussion of
problems plaguing our daily lives. These
dialogues can be as innocent as dinner talk, or
austere as staged debates. Issues will vary
with participants, but topics of major political
or social concern are always hot. When a par-
ticularly sensitive issue comes to bear, groups
tend to organize in order to voice concern and
propagate a certain stance.
In the activist days of the late sixties and
early seventies, these groups were so
radical" and omnipresent, parents like mine
resolved that their children would not attend
schools like Michigan at Ann Arbor or Wiscon-
sin at Madison. But activism died away, and
the protesters graduated.
Some suggest that in the eighties we have
softened, and are no longer giving attention to
the major issues that affect our lives. Maybe
that is true, but I hold that we just don't have as
many hot issues today. This type of view can
open up arguments on apathy, a contention that
everyone, myself included, no longer cares
about things not touching their immediate
lives. Yet, the people touting that view with any
conviction are the last of the old protesters, or
our current-day activists.
One major body of activism and protest cen-
ters on the atom, from nuclear power to
nuclear missles. Some groups are involved in
the inteligent dissemination of information, but
more extreme anti-nuclear activists resort to.

protests involving such juvenile actions as
blockades and sit-ins. How quaint.
These folks will come from towns, counties,
and even states around to actively protest
against something. That seems okay. But
many of these people revel in the thought, and
even try, to get arrested for their participation.
It seems that arrest indicates the pinnacle of
success. Any protester brought to jail or trial
can garner media attention and the support
and praise of fellow protesters. There seems to
be an example in the paper every few weeks.
Whether I support or deplore the cause for
which these people are acting,,I despise the at-
titude that to be effective one must create a
scene. Furthermore, I find it impossible to
justify the trespassing and occassional van-
dalism which accompanies these protests.
Many protests resemble in form a union picket.
And when conducted as peacefully as most are,
and with a real purpose, I will always support
the action. However, when the action is as
juvenile as some protests have become, I not
only find the protest vile, I also close my mind
to the cause being propagated.
In recent years, the University has been vir-
tually free of active protest. There have been
rallies related to budget cuts and school
closings, and even a burning of both the Shah
and Ayatollah in effigy. Yet these are protests
to exhibit concern, and not disruptions in peace
- they occur during the protest hours of 12-1 on
the Diag. And the results are to be expected:
Others see the display of opinion, and generally
nothing changes.
. Because little does result from such innocent

protests, those disenchanted with the processes
will occasionally resort to more active
protests, such as those earlier cited. These are
an attempt to make others take notice, both
supporters of the view, and the decision
makers who can change the aspect being
protested. But every time they seem to fail on
two counts where the Diag Rallies may only
fail on one.
'Some groups are involved in
the intelligent discussion of in-
formation, but more extreme
anti-nuclear activists resort to
protests involving such
juvenile actions as blockades
and sit-ins. How quaint.'
The basic, inherent failure in all
protestations comes when those for whom the
activity is directed disregard the action, and
remain unchanged in their position. Even a
well-staged and efficiently organized protest
such as the Art School's may not get the desired
effect - no cuts - but the Administration and .
the Community did get a taste of the Art
School's dedication to principles and broad-
based support. Unfortunately the budget was
still cut, but the school remains an independent

unit.
However, I find the biggest flaw in active
protests to be reactive non-sympathy. Sit-ins
and blockades are intended to disrupt, and
thereby force people to take notice. But in for-
cing notice, they also force opinion, and when a
quick stand is to be taken by those incon-
venienced, it is naturally going to be negative.
When I learn of these disruptions through the
news I generally react negatively, sym-
pathising not with the protesters but with the
inconvenienced party. My rationale may be
predictable to some, but I find that if a group
has to resort to such active means to propagate
their view, there must be something wrong
with the view that more people don't share in
its support. It seems that there are several
peaceful alternatives, and many creative steps
can be taken to protest something short of
disruption. Disruption never seems to change
things.
Recently the Progressive Student Network
has been employing active protest in the very
peaceful form of sit-ins. First they sat in Vice
President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Billy Frye's office. Then they camped out in
Professor Thomas Senior's lab. They tired to
take over Professor Theodore Birdsall's lab,
but the University found out. Finally, they
resorted to sitting in University President
Harold Shapiro's office. The cause of all this
sitting is Defense Department-sponsored,
research, and those research projects deemed
to have application to military hardware and
systems.
I do no support the PSN, and members of that

organization have made me painfully aware
that I don't know all of the facts. But when
querried, I find that neither do they. Last fall
during a debate with one of the members I
suggested they get a forum together so that we
could all learn the facts. It seems that idea has
finally taken root. But to get an administrator
to attend, it seems they have to sit-in on his of-
fice, and that came second to sitting in on the
Birdsall lab. This indicates that the forum was
an after-thought, or at least runner-up to
disruption of yet another professor's research,
sans judgement on his work.
Today there will be a forum on research con-
ducted in the Union (8 p.m., Pendleton Room).
I trust that despite the poor presentation of the
invitation, our President Harold Shapiro, and
perhaps some choice associates will personally
be there to present the University stance, and
be able to answer inquiries about various
research projects on campus. And I also look
forward to a balanced and well-conceived an-
swer to the policies and projects:
I encourage all students and faculty to at-
tend, so that we may all become better infor-
med. And certainly, I trust that both the PSN
and the Administration will be well-prepared to
conduct an informative forum. My greatest
wish, though, will be that no opinions are of- 4
fered as to the moral or monetary worth of this
research: I am confident that all of us are in-
teligent enough to form our own opinions.

0

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Buhler is a regular contributor to
Opinion Page.

the

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stewart

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Vol. XCIV-No. 108

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Better late than never

R ONALD REAGAN is seeing painful
evidence of his failed policies in
Lebanon. The dissolution of the
Gemayel government and the.
vulnerability of American military
forces in Beirut have forced a long-
overdue withdrawal of troops from an
ill-defined mission.
For months Reagan has been
broadly praising the progress of Amin
Gemayel in unifying Lebanon's
warring factions. But to say that
Gemayel has done anything to recon-
cile the opposing forces in Beirut, is a
blatant misrepresentation of events.
His reluctance to compromise with the
Moslems has divided the country and
cultivated bitterness toward the
Lebanese government. Only this week,
as his foes seized key bases in West
Beirut and as his power as president
was threatened, did he begin to offer
concessions. His tardy attempts at
reconciliation with Druse and Shiite
Muslims were, as a former Lebanese
Defense Minister commented, "way to
little, and way too late."
Reagan's strong commitment to
Gemayel's weakening government has
resulted in an ever-deepening U.S. in-
volvement. With the fall of West Beirut
and the disarray of the Gemayel
government, the failure of Reagan's
policies has been made painfully
evident. The presence of American
troops has not been capable of
stabilizing the deep-seated military
and political conflict in Lebanon and
has resulted in the tragic loss of 250
lives and a legitimate questioning of
American purpose in Beirut.
Until Tuesday, Reagan had been
living under the mistaken impressib~n
that to withdraw American troops'
DESERVE MY PA TYS NOMWNATiVN
rOR. PE51 DW T)

would be the worst possible path for
U.S. policy to take. Last week State
Department official Lawrence
Eagleburger strongly discouraged
'cutting and running" from Beirut
saying that "we may bring our boys
home now," but that to do so might
initiate "escalating crises." The crises
escalated even with our boys there -
crises so severe that Reagan had our
troops "cut and run" anyway. The
events confronted Reagan with his own
ill-defined, ineffectual policies, and
necessitated a withdrawal that com-
mon sense called for long ago.
Since the White House has prided it-
self on its "consistent" foreign policy,
one would think that it might now be
difficult for the administration to
defend the withdrawal. But Reagan is
extremely confident in the role that
American forces will be taking, saying
that the redeployment "will strengthen
our ability to do the job we set out to
do." If what Reagan set out to do was
to avoid ill-conceived military
deployments, then this is a step in the
right direction. But, in reality,
Reagan's only "job" is to support
Gemayel's government - a task
beyond the capability of the American
forces.
The President has made clear his in-
tention to step-up naval and aerial
bombardment of Syrian positions
around Beirut. While he has a right to
be a sore loser, he does not have the
right to pursue a mission with such a
questionable and tragic history. The
troops should not just be moved out to
sea, they should be moved all the way
home.
After all, mistakes should be learned
from, not ignored.

{

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Education is the key to Latin freedom

To the Daily:
There is a grave and dangerous
situation in Latin America. The
following nations that I will men-
tion all have a population
majority of American Indians,
yet the white Spanish or Por-
tuguese minoritiesicontrol the
countries with an "apartheid-
like" system against the
American Indian majority. These
nations are Mexico, Guatemala,
Honduras, El Salvador, Panama,
Nicaragua, Colombia,
Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru,
Bolivia, and Paraguay. These
nations mentioned treat the
American Indian majority as
peasants and slaves. The White
minorities are well-educated,
well-fed, well-clothed, and have a
very comfortable living.
However, the American Indian
majority is poorly-educated,
poorly-fed, poorly-clothed, and
has a very uncomfortable living.
Let's now talk about education.
At the University, students that
come from Latin American
nations are of white Spanish, or
Portugese descent. -'They
represent the minority of their
populations at home. There are

dian to be judged by the color of
his/her skin. In Latin American
today the Indians are judged by
the color of their skin. This is a
reckless, bigotry-filled policy.
A person with vision and
wisdom knows that the American
Indian majority is the key to
possible democracy. The
American Indian majority in
Latin America is a stabilizing
force between ultra right-wing
fascism and ultra left-wing com-
munism.
I would like to ask the students
that come from Latin America
these questions:
Why are you so reluctant to
support the American Indian
majority? Secondly, are you at-
tending the University because
your governments are paying the
bill? If the answer is yes for the
second question, then I know why
you are so quiet. If they "speak
up" for the American Indian
majority, they are bound to lose
their government's support.
There will never be peace in
Latin .America until the white
BLOOM COUNTY

minority turns over the nations to
American Indians majority rule.
These Latin American nations
are destined to have revolution. If
the American Indian majority
gets educated, the revolutions

Misplace

I'M~ Fo ANDt M'AW$lT A NUCLEW~
~ I'N... I'M
FOCIAN I\W6 I\ST

To the Daily:
While I agreed for the most
part with William Beeman's ar-
ticle on Beirut that appeared
recently "Symptom of a dying
city" (Daily, February 5), there
was one statement by Mr.
Beeman that truly disturbed me.
Towards the end of the article
Mr. Beeman states that "Israel
refuses to make any concessions
leading to a pullout" from
Lebanon. Can, Mr. Beeman be so
biased as to state an outright lie?
Israel, in case he forgot, signed
an agreement with the. gover-
nment of Lebanon last year for a
full withdrawal of its troops from

will perhaps be less severe, than
can be expected. Extreme
eleinents thrive on un-educated
people.
- Mario Harris
February}
d credit
Lebanese soil. This withdrawal
was supposed to be simultaneous
with other foreign forces, namely
those of Syria and the P.L.O.
Recently reports have come out
of Jerusalem that Israel is even
considering a unilateral with-
drawal of its troops. The country
that has consistently refused to
make any concessions what-
soever that would lead to a
pullout is Syria.
Mr. Beeman should learn to
give credit where credit is due.
But then again, I guess this is
another example of journalistic
"objectivity." - David Gross
February 7
by Berke Breathed
0"

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