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February 15, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-15

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, February 15, 1985

The Michigan Daily

a

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Grumblings at Greenham

Vol. XCV, No. 113

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor M1 48109

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

Negligent representation

M SA'S FAILURE to meet a
quorum check in the middle of
its February 12 meeting is the second
significant display in two weeks of lack
of concern .by large numbers of
Assembly members.
In the midst of discussion over a
proposal brought forward by the
editors of Consider magazine to con-
demn the unsolicited stuffing of inserts
in a recent issue, MSA representative
Eric Schnaufer (Law) called for a
quorum check. MSA bylaws state that
a quorum is one-half of the then active
membership. Of 27 active members,
only 13 were present. The meeting was
adjourned.
For the discussion two weeks ago
concerning the removal of Randy Mc-
Duffie from his chairmanship of the
minority affairs committee, only two
members were reported to have made
special efforts to study the case. MSA
president Scott Page estimated that
between 10 - and 15 representatives
were not sufficiently familiar with the
case by the time of vote.
It's obvious that not every represen-
tative elected to MSA will be able to
devote 40 hours a week to the position,
but it does seem that each represen-
tative should meet some mimimum
standard. That standard would cer-

tainly include attending meetings and
researching important discussion
topics in advance.
Most of MSA's work is done in com-
mittees that meet during the week and
then report during meetings. It is dif-
ficult, then, to determine whether
representatives are working up to
minimal standards. When those
representatives come to meetings un-
prepared, or don't come at all, it
reflects negatively on any of the other
work that they do.
There are several committee mem-
bers on MSA who do accomplish wor-
thwhile things. Negligence on the part
of many other members, however,
tarnishes the reputation of an other-
wise positive institution.
As elections for next year's MSA ap-
proach, it is important to give more
thought to the effectiveness of those
people who do represent student views
on campus. Those people considering
running for MSA should ask them-
selves whether they are ready to make
the commitment that is necessary to
be effective representatives, and those
currently on MSA should ask them-
selves whether they are adequately
fulfilling their elected responsibilities.
The last two weeks suggest they are
not.

By Jody Becker
Funny they call it a peace camp. Angry fac-
tionalism and hostility have turned the place
into an emotional war zone.
Three years after the "peace women" took
up residence outside United States Air Force
Base Greenham Common in Newbury,
England, to protest the deployment of the
cruise missile it seems a bit of nasty reality
has turned the haven for non-violence into a
dismal dystopia.
There is noadenying that the Greenham
women have been a beacon of hope to the
world, radiating a plea for peace and sanity,
protesting the arms race and attempting to
avert a nuclear holocaust. No doubt the ideals
upon which the camp was founded are noble,
but today the camps at each of Greenham's
eight color coded gates areanothing more than
unrealistic islands. It may be time to go
home.
"There is always discussion about whether
we should keep the camps - whether we are
being effective," said Alessandra Nichols, a 30
year old American woman from Chaplin,
Conn., who has been a resident at the camp
for over a year.
The sad fact is, the peace women have
hardly been effective at all. Despite their
three year vigil, the women have been unsu-
cessful in preventing the installation of the
cruise missile at Greenham. They haven't
stopped military maneuvers 'exercising''
the cruise as planned. Sure, the road
blockades slow things down, vandalized fen-
ces must be repaired, more barbed wire p-
up. The British House of Commons estimated
that in 1983, 4 million pounds was spent on ad-
ditional ministry of Defense police and
another 3 million pounds was spent on beefing
up civilian police security at Greenham.
Ironically, inflated defense spending is one
thing the peace women are protesting. Their
deterrence tactic of dancing on missile silos is
apparently much more expensive than it is ef-
fective. The peace campers have created ad-
ditional defense expenditures for both Britain
and the U.S. to the tune of $10 million accor-
ding to British officials.
And they seem to be alienating one another.
and local supporters with aplomb.
But they insist that "continual presence" is
vital. "The women's continual presence in a
creative, non-violent atmosphere on the ex-
terior of the camp is a strong and persistent
statement against deployment," peace cam-
per Teresa Carr said. A lot of fancy sounding
jargon, but how true is it? Interaction at the
camps at several of the gates and meetings is
far from idyllic. The disharmony suggests it
is time to disband the camps and integrate ef-
forts into more direct public policy forums.
"Greenham has become very devisive. You
know, what is more femininist or right on," said
Astra, a London poet and day care center em-
ployee who visited Greenham during a mon-
thly "CommontWomen's Day" sponsored by a
London support group.
"There is no "we" at Greenham," confir-
med another camper who would identify her-
self only as Luz.
"I feel subjected to a hierarchy of
sacrifice," said Jenny, a London school
teacher whohas actively supported the
Greenham women and frequently visits the
camps. "On visits I've felt very alienated
from some of the camp women, as if by not
giving up our jobs and coming to live at
Greenham we are somehow less committed."
Questioning the seriousness of commitment
on the part of some of the campers them-
selves is not unjustified. It seems that more
than a few Greenham women are confusing
Becker is a Daily staff writer.

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A grandmother at Greenham Peace Camp. Greenham has a noble foundation of peace
and sanity, but today's camp is plagued with women looking only for an escape -- not a

4

chance to change the world.
the commitment of deterring nuclear war
with assertions of sexual proclivities.
"I came because I needed to get away from
things in Sweden, and here there is a place to
live an alternative lifestyle that I think is very
important," said' Lena, a 20 year old resident
at the Red Gate camp. But what are Lena's
political motivations, what are her convic-
tions to the peace movement? She neglected
to mention either when asked to explain her
reasons for coming to live at Greenham
Common.
Lena is representative, but it seems that for
many women hating men validates or even
takes precedence over the camp's ostensible
purpose of pursuing peace. Rose Walter, a 50-
ish supporter from London said, "If some of
the women are lesbians and have the same
ideas about peace that I do that's jolly good.
But I doubt the sincerity of some of the
younger ones. They seem to use Greenham as
a woman's' place and have little dedication
to the peace movement."
Greenham has earned the reputation as
some sort of radical feminist safehouse. For
many of these women it is impossible to fun-
ction in a world where nearly half of the
population is considered "the enemy." At
some of the gates men are unwelcome even as
visitors. How legitimate are claims that the
peace camp environment encourages women
to confront reality, when Greenham has
become a place to escape the challenges and
compromises basic to human existence?
In many respects the Greenham Women
are refugees, huddled together on the edge of
a world they have rejected or that has rejec-
ted them. The younger women are radically
coiffed and spew angry rhetoric. The older
ones appear haggard and resigned.
"In many ways these women are extreme.
They have turned their back on society," said
Astra. And in so doing they seem to be
defeating their purpose.
Carola, a peace camp resident for a year
and a half said she spends her days, "Talking,
answering questions and taking long walks.
We are a reminder to people who drive by."
But the military compound is tucked quietly
into the remote English countryside, and
perhaps Carola's efforts to save the world
from nuclear destruction would have more
impact if she scrapped the tent and brought
her commitment to the world where the rest
of us live.

"The Greenham Women are a symbol" is
the standard validating statement that now
echoes obsolesence. A statement has been
made, but "continual presence" is not
mobilizing the citizens and governments of
the world in fervent protest of the arms race.
Campers say it themselves.

A

"What I had hoped for is already hap-
pening," said Gene Wright, 19, a camper from
Milton Keynes, England. "People have
become more aware." So after 15 months why
doesn't she go home?

i

Nuclear allergies

The peace women's more aggressive urban
"actions" are heeded. The mass marches are
media events, the minor protests are visible.
Last summer seven women were arrested for
painting peace slogans on the "Theatre of
War," a government run "amusement"
glorifying the military adventures of World _
War II. People paid attention; caught in traf-4
fic jams and bombarded with newspaper
photos.
However irrelevent the institutions of
popular society may seem to the peace
women, the fact remains that translating the
radicals' urgent message of abandoning the
arms race to the average citizen is vital.
Many people might find it difficult to relate to
the purple-haired: braless and shirtless
women I saw angrily debating revolutionary
theory amongst themselves at Greenham
Common.
Agressive local actions.and involvements
are necessary not obscure, isolated acts and
symbolic gestures. It seems obvious that the
peace women are- spending hundreds of
precious hours at Greenhaih which could be
}more valuably spent working for peace with
the people of London or Leeds or Los Angeles:
concerned men and women who live in con-
ventional communities, read newspapers and
watch the T.V. news and might appreciate
guided efforts. by activists to educate the
public on issues regarding the avoidanceof
further nuclear proliferation and reducing the
existing threat of war.
The power to stop the madness rests with
the majority "mainstream" members of the
world's powerful democratic nations. Still the
clock draws ever nearer to nuclear midnight.
So stop dancing on missile silos. Come talk
to us.

HE POLICY of reassurance state
department and Pentagon officials
are currently seeking for U.S. allies is
perhaps the furthest thing from
reassurance. The new policy would
remind Western allies of their com-
mitments to the United States defense
program and assure those countries'
leaders that they would have full
knowledge of U.S nuclear weapons
decisions that affect each individual
nation.
The proposed policy stems from
what U.S. officials fear is a spreading
aversion to any involvement with
nuclear weapons among its allies. Pen-
tagon and State Department officials
believe this pheonomenon, dubbed
"nuclear allergy," is a product of
promptings from the Soviet Union, an-
ti-nuclear activism in Europe, and a
growing fear that the Reagan Ad-
ministration does not appricate the
consequences of a nuclear confron-
tation.
Administration officials are also
concerned with the current shift in
moods over nuclear policy. They worry
that the United States' ability to main-
tain a strong defense in -a crisis
situation would be significantly har-
med if allied countries demanded the
removal of U.S. weapons, or if they
took action such as New Zealand has
done prohibiting ships carrying

nuclear weapons from entering their
harbors.
Despite administration concern, it is
encouraging to find that world opinion
of nuclear weapons is finally reaching
the previously deaf ears of U.S policy
makers. And now that the State and
defense departments have finally
come to terms with increasing anti-
nuclear sentiment on an international
level, it is unfortunate they choose to
deal with that sentiment in a negative,
propagandistic manner.
If the Soviet Union were to follow
similar path of "reassuring" its allies,
policy-makers in Washington would
surely label such actions as propagan-
da. If the United States truly wishes to
reaffirm past commitments with its
allies, it will have to be more respon-
sive to the wishes of those countries.
Administration officials must not con-
sider their own defense programs
above the morality of U.S. allies.
Until the U.S. government is
willing to face up to the growing op-
position to nuclear weapons
proliferation, it will continue to live in
a dream world. It is said awareness is
half the battle. Western nations have
made their opinions known to the
United States; once those opinions can
be accepted instead of combatted, we
will move another step forward in the
pursuit of a peaceful world.

Letters
Letter reveals

childish egocentrism

....e......... - -- .......... - i... - .. -

To the Daily:
We were very offended by Lisa
Gram's letter to the editor of
February 5 extolling the virtues
of abortion. We feel that abortion
is a very emotional issue for all
people, not only for women.
In Oram's rush to get her point
across, it is amazing just how
many people she offends. First,
she presents herself as
spokeswoman for the world's
female population, as though she
is somehow allied with every
member.
Secondly, she alienates all
men from the abortion issue as if
they are totally incapable of sen-
sitivity and empathy. Apparen-
tly, this renders the views of pro-
abortion men as well as anti-
abortion men invalid.
Finally, she offends those of us
who believe that unborn fetuses
possess life which is inherently
entitled to protection. She ad-
vocates the slaughter of unborn
children simply because they
nflnnn* Iha can..a tih a *I thnlrt

promote women's control of their
bodies after an unplanned
pregnancy, yet she all but denies
that women are capable of con-
trol before the fact. In all cases,
except rape and incest, women
are equally responsible for a
pregnancy.
At last, we get to the heart of
Ms. Oram's claims and our
disgust. It becomes evident that
she promotes a lifestyle of
manipulation and egocentrism.
She claims that lack of
availability of abortions would,
"prevent women from con-
trolling their own bodies, their
own futures, their own lives."
This self-serving attitude in
which even human life is secon-
dary to personal ambition is
sickening.
If, as Oram claims, most
women cannot "support a child
as freshmen in college," perhaps
BLOOM COUNTY

they should not be college
freshmen. Perhaps they should
postpone their goals (as men
should) and take responsibility
for their actions. If they do not
wish to keep their child, they
should give it to one of the many
couples waiting to adopt a
newborn. It is exceedingly
presumptuous for anyone to
claim that an unwanted child is
an unworthy child.
Under normal circumstances,
we would have dismissed Oram's
letter as one of many feeble at-
tempts to justify abortion.
However, the type of primary
process thinking that Oram
promotes begged for a response.

In typical childlike fashion, she
believes that the problem would
go away if only she could kill it.
This attitude, which is prevalent
among adolescents, is dangerou
in supposedly mature adult
While abortion may seem like the
desireable solution to a com-
plicated situation, it remains to
be seen whether or not a lifestyle
that permits'* indiscriminate
killing :of innocent children is
worth pursuing. It is time Oram
and others who share her belief
start showing concern for people
other than themselves.
-Eric D. Laywei
Debra K. Stone
February 7

College Press Service
- .
I
, R
/
\Ir 0 /

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

by Berke Breathed

. r, ,r." g

WHAT ? WffAT'S
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