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February 02, 1985 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-02

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, February 2, 1985

Ce a t an yo in
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 102

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

i

Guns over butter

ere are two types of cargo ships
sailing into Ethiopia's Assab har-
bor these days. One type carries food
for starving victims of the African
famine. The other carries tanks, ar-
tillery, small arms, ammunition, and
bombs. Although the Ethiopian gover-
nment has pledged that the former will
have priority over the latter, gover-
nment officials have recently shown an
unfortunate shift in those priorties.
According to many diplomats in
Ethiopia, ships carrying grain from
Western nations are encountering dif-
ficulties reaching port. The gover-
nment has pledged three cargo berths
in Assab would be available at all
times for relief shipments, but recently
those berths have frequently been
filled with Soviet ships carrying
military equipment.
There is also evidence that harbor
officials have been impeding the flow
of aid in other ways. In one case, the
government siezed supplies designated
for a West German relief organization
in the Sudan. The officials held the ship
and threatened to imprison its captain,
but he turned over his cargo to

Ethiopia in order to free the ship.
Earlier this month, a water-drilling
rig and more than a million dollars in
food aid were confiscated by
authorities in Assab. The cargo was in-
tended for famine victims in rebel-held
areas of Ethiopia.
185 million people in 27 different
countries are currently in danger of
starvation. In Ethiopia alone, it is
estimated that 900,000 have already
perished or will be dead by the end of
this year. After four years of drought,
90 percent of the Ethiopian livestock is
dead. This includes oxen used for
plowing. The country most severely ef-
fected by the famine, Ethiopia has an
estimated needy population of over six
million.
With a crisis of such severity in their
country, Ethiopian officials cannot af-
ford to put politics ahead of feeding
millions of starving people. Western
governments must encourage Ethiopia
to realize the immediacy of their
situation and demand the government
to keep their commitment to accepting
aid. Ethiopia can start thinking about
how many guns and tanks it needs once
its citizens can eat.

The higi
By Jonathan Ellis
"We agree with those who have appealed
that this sentence is unjust. We wholehear-
tedly support their decision and we share
their belief that this sentence must be
challenged to protect the rights of freedom of
speech and dissent in our country."
These words began a statement issued in
early January by five people two of them
University students who are being held in jail
indefinitely under a charge of "civil contempt
of court." They went on to explain why they
had chosen not to join in an appeal of their in-
definite sentence.
When Williams International, which makes
the engines for cruise missiles at its Walled.
Lake plant, first asked the Oakland County
Circuit Court for an injunction to stop
protesters from blockading the Williams
gates, those who violated the injunction were to
be charged with "criminal contempt of
court." That offense carries a maximum
penalty of 30 days in jail.
Several dozen people were held in jail about
that long, for criminal contempt of court or
for the offense of trespass which carries a
similar 30-day maximum jail sentence.
Beginning in the summer of 1984, it was
clear that a number of people would be
willing to spend a month in jail to protest the
nuclear weapons missile production at Walled
Lake, and Williams International and the
court took a new tack.
If the protesters were charged with civil
rather than criminal contempt of court, they
could be held in jail until they agred to follow
a specific order of the court. In this case, the
court was to order protesters to promise that
they would not return to block the Williams
gates again.
Should the protesters refuse to make that
promise, they would be held in jail until they
would. Since there was no limit on the time a
person could be held in jail on civil contempt
charges, this amounted to an indefinite sen-
tence. As one protestor put it, "It's a life sen-
tence."
When Judge Francis O'Brien held a group
of 13 protesters in civil contempt for violating
the Williams injunction last December, two
University students were among them, Ken
Jannot and Brian Larkin. Over 2,000 people,
many from campus, have since petitioned the
judge opposing the indefinite sentence and
asking for the protesters release.
Both the Roman Catholic and the
Protestant Episcopal bishops of Detroit have
also written Judge O'Brien seeking the
release of the 13, in part as follows:
"Forcing people to foreswear action based
upon their consciences undermines our effsor-
ts to be a free society. Furthermore, human

hprice of
beings have a moral right and obligation to
act according to their conscience in matters
of social justice. We condemned German j
citizens for failing to fulfill such an obligation
during the Nazi period.
"...We urge you not to leave these people in
the dilemma of the early Christians, who
were told they could go free if they denied the
voice of their God."
Just this week, U.S. Congressman George
Crockett, Jr. signed a letter which compared
those arrested at the Williams International
protest to those who have been arrested
recently at the South African embassy in
Washington, Congressman Crockett among
them. He noted that he and other apartheid
protestors were held for a matter of hours
while those protesting cruise missile engine
production at Williams have been held in jail
indefinitely for a similar action.
Ken Jannot, Brian Larkin, Dorothy Whit-
marsh, Carfon Foltz, and Dean Abbott remain
in jail, having served fifty-eight days so far.
They can be released at any time by Judge
O'Brien; or Williams International can
request their release as has happened before.
Ken and Brian explain here why they have not
appealed their indefinite sentence and offer
some other thoughts for their fellow students.
Brian Larkin: I knew going into this action
that civil contempt was a charge we would
likely be faced with and that we would likely
be given an indefinite sentence when we
refused to promise not to return to Williams. I
saw that as an attempt by Williams Inter-
national to intimidate the peace movement.
In the Ghandian tradition, I choose to violate
an unjust law - the judge's injunction -
because it was a perfect example of a law
which lends the court's protections to the
ability of Williams to make nuclear weapons.
So I chose to violate that law and willingly ac-
cept the penalty. That's one essential reason
why I don't appeal the sentence. I accept the
imprisonment as a kind of offering to the
people of the community. The people of the
community will judge what justice is in this
case. Hopefully, by my willingness to spend
this time in jail, they will really reconsider
what it is we are preparing for by building
these nuclear weapons.
Ken Jannot: I went into this not focusing on
the legalities of the sentences but on the
legalities of the courts protecting Williams In-
ternational. Indefinite sentences for civil con-
tempt are only their latest tactic. I want to
keep the focus on Williams and their making
of cruise missile engines which will help to
blow us all up. that's where I want to keep the
public's attention, not just on the judicial
system. I want to keep attention on the
possibility for change not only in the courts
but more importantly at Williams.

The Michigan Daily
pro test
Jonathan Ellis: What's it been like working
with your supporters on the outside?
L: There is no way any of us could sit here
for this long in jail if we didn't have the
knowledge that what we are doing is really
having an impact. No one would even know
we were here if it wasn't for our support
people.
J: There has been a real strong bonding
coming out of this between us an our support
people. It has been amazing how quickly that
bond and that closeness has developed. My
core support group has been just incredible,
even in personal things like going to my
classes while I'm sitting here in jail.
E: What's the one thing in Ann Arbor you
most want to do when you get out, after
you've been reunited with friends and family?
L: Just go for a simple walk, maybe in thea
Arboritum.
J: I want to go into my house and lie down
on my own bed. Then maybe go out and have
a Blimpy burger.
E: Is there anything you want to say in par-
ticular to fellow Michigan students?
L: What being a student is about is coming
to terms with the reality of the historical
situation, becoming a good citizen, a fuller
person. So many of us can get wrapped up in
the pursuit of good grades, or the purely,4
academic, which we tend to see as being
isolated from the "real world." but our time
as students is just as much real time as any
other time. I would encourage people to really
look at what's going on - research about anti-
submarine warfare for example - being done
on the University campus. Preparation for
nuclear war is happening at home. It's in our
University and in our state and we can't run
away from it. We need to really take respon-
sibility for that. 4
J: I get very frustrated when I hear that
students are just going through their
education to get a good job.To me, there's a
whole helluva lot more out there than getting
the bucks. In fact, doing that is a great evil in
a way, just being concerned about your own
money, going about your own business
without caring what else is happening in the
world. The only way we are going to change
what is happening in the world is if people
realize it is possible. Being in jail for me has
been reaching out to as many people as I can
to urge them to get personally involved. Or-,
dinary people like us need to get working to
affect societal change because I think that is
the only way true societal change will come
about. It needs to be from the ground up, in-
stead of waiting for the nuclear arms race to
be stopped from the top down.
Ellis works at Canterbury House.

Hello

O NE OF THE most visible aspects
of The Daily's being run entirely by
students is that faces come and go
in a very short time. Information that
one group of editors, managers, and
staff members collects isn't always
passed on to the next group and the
character of the paper changes with
each new group.
Yesterday marked our first day as
the new editors. We have at our
disposal 95 years of tradition, but only
three years of training. We must work
out our own definition of a newspaper
in a culture that is increasingly turning
to other media.
That tradition can be both a blessing
and a burden. We have the inspiration
of knowing that The Daily is known as
one of the nation's best college
newspapers. During the '60s and early
'70s, the printing deadline at The Daily

was the latest in the state, and the
paper covered city and University
events better than anybody else.
At the same time, however, we need
to avoid being stifled by that tradition.
We plan to make some major
changes in the coming months -
changes that might have seemed out of
place in the Dailys of 1967 or 1971 -
that will nonetheless carry on the spirit
of the past Dailys. Those include a
greater emphasis on feature stories,
redoubled efforts to cover local and
University news and several new
projects aimed at broadening our ap-
peal.
As our new term begins, we are
committed to making this paper in-
teresting to more people. We will try to
do so, however, without compromising
the spirit of free-thinking that has
always characterized the Daily.

4

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The Michigan Daily encourages input from our readers.
Letters should be typed, triple spaced, and sent to the Daily
9pinion Page, 420 Maynard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

Correction
Judge Francis Xavier O'Brien
of the Oakland County Circuit or-
dered Ken Jannot, Brian Larkin,

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