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September 17, 1985 - Image 4

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Page 4

Tuesday, September 17, 1985

The Michigan Daily

-- --- --- -- -

te mant an tM g
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

A message to South Africa


Vol. XCVI, No.9

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Decade of achievement?

T HE UNITED Nations Inter-
national Decade for Women
drew to a close this summer as
women from all over the world
converged in Nairobi, Kenya to at-
tend a final conference.
The women met their peers who
had provided long distance support
and inspiration in the international
efforts to organize activities
designed to educate and empower
women. Certainly there must have
been a sense of excitement and ac-
But what did the decade
achieve? In the least developed
nations of the world, illiterate
women still out-number illiterate
men by a 3-2 ratio. And according
to the United Naitons, women per-
form two-thirds of the world's
work, earn only one-tenth of the
world's income, and own less than
one-one hundredth of the property.
These are only a sample of the
sobering statistics which illustrate
the health, educational and
professional barriers which con-
tinue to plague women in both less
developed countries and developed
countries. American feminist Bet-
ty Freidan describes the advances
for women in the past ten years as
a frustrating dance: "Three steps
forward, two steps back." For-
tunately, the "one step forward"
has had an invaluable impact.
Of the 121 governments respon-
ding to the UN's questionnaire
distributed at the close of the
decade, the following facts were
.71 percent of all girls in the 121
nations attend primary school
today, up from 64 percent in 1975.
*45 percent of all births were at-
tended by trained health care
professionals and one fourth of the
married women in the developing

world now use modern methods of
*Women and men have equal
political rights in all but three of
the countries. 90 percent of the
responding governments have set
up national bodies for the advan-
cement of women. 65 percent of the
countries have ratified the United
Nations treaty calling for the
elimination of discrimination
against women.
Indeed, women in the developed
countries have gained the right to
birth control, to abortion and to
vote. Women are infiltrating the
historically exclusively male cir-
cles of power as never before. But
these are primarily white, western
"victories" - advances for the
female elite, while their sisters in
Africa, India and Eastern Europe
continue to suffer inconscienable
violations of human rights.
Perhaps most important is what
feminists hail as the international
raising of consciousness regarding
women's issues. Perhaps all of the
goals set have not been met, but an
awareness has been created. And
not just in the far flung corners of
the map.
After the appearance of Dr.
Helen Caldicott as the keynote
speaker marking the close of the
University's Decade for Women,
over 100 members of the local
community have become active in
forming a local chapter of
Caldicott's Women's Action for
Nuclear Disarmament, a national
coalition calling for disarmament
and world peace.
Certainly the collective and
respective goals of all the world's
women remain distant dreams, but
it is encouraging to be "one step"

By Jonathan Corn
and Walter White
The nation of South Africa is a segregated
country whose all-white government of-
ficially practices racism. Demographically
speaking, South Africa is extremely unbalan-
ced. Its population is over 90 percent black,
yet they go unrepresented in the white gover-
nment. For Americans this should be
somewhat unsettling because the U.S. gover-
nment, until last week, went along with it. The
United States, the land of the free, where all
men were created equal, and the origin of
many other sayings of equality ignored P.W.
Botha's racist regime called Aparthied.
The United States, which has gone to war to
preserve the freedoms of many other peoples
such as the South Vietnamese, the "freedom
fighters of Nicaragua, and U.S. medical
student on Grenada, is uniquely responsible
to aid all peoples in their search for freedom.
The black majority in South Africa has
needed that aid for many years, but the U.S.
has remained completely insensitive to them.
It is not the fact that the U.S. government has
opted to ignore the oppressed masses which is
frustrating. It is the fact that they have
cooperated fully with Botha's racist gover-
The Reagan Administration has refrained
from taking action in the past under the guise
of protecting American big business. Not only
does this policy lack a moral basis, it also
lacks logic.
It has been argued that any sort of restric-
tive measures taken against South Africa in
the form of economic sanctions or a forced
Corn and Winters are seniors in LSA.
They are regular contributors to the
Daily's opinion page.

disinvestment will hurt only the big cor-
porations such as Ford, GM, and IBM. Yet, it
would only seem to make sense to say that
these corporate monsters stand to gain the
most if the tens of millions of blacks who
currently lie imprisoned in poverty were
allowed to climb the socioeconomic ladder.
Presently, the companies compete for the
business of the three-hundred thousand some
odd whites while the majority of their poten-
tial market is too poor to buy anything.
However, U.S. policy just took one step in
the right direction. After being dragged over
the coals by Congress, Reagan finally agreed
to impose several economic sanctions
designed to punish the whites of South Africa.
They include a ban on computer sales,
nuclear technology, certain types of bank
loans and a look into a ban on the
Kruggerand, South Africa's official gold coin.
Can these sanctions force a national reform?
The answer is no. These particular santions
will not force them to change an institution.
They will not even hurt their economy. The
sanctions are too easy to get around. If the
U.S. won't sell computers then they will just
shop elsewhere.
Moreover, many argue that Kruggerands
would still flow into the U.S. despite san-
ctions. It has been said that "banning the sale
of Kruggerands in this country is not going to
do anything meaningful toward improving
the lot of the South African blacks." In ad-
dition, it is argued that sanctions can hurt
those in South Africa who they are ultimately
trying to help. In other words, by forcing the
Ford Motor Company to pull out, the South
African black worker is going to be out of a
Unfortunately, these sanctions amount to
nothing more than a big political statement; a
nod of U.S. disapproval. Of course, this nod
carries some weight, but it is certainly not

If you were, say, a bartender and you saw a
small guy with an open shirt and a lot of gold
chains harassing a young lady, you wouldn't
simply shake your head from across the bar
to make him stop. You would grab him by his
gold and choke some sense into him. That is
exactly what the U.S. should be doing to
The important thing to remember about
economic sanctions is that they can be used as
an instrument to signify U.S. disapproval to
the government of South Africa. In this con-
text, the sanctions do serve their purpose.
Putting economic pressure on Pretoria should
continue if for no other reason than to show
that the United States is against Apartheid.
Sanctions are a sensitive issue to a sensitive
problem. However, at this point it can be said
that they are going to serve their purpose.
That purpose being to send a clear message to
Botha's government: halt this national policy
or face severing ties with the U.S.
The entire world is focusing a keen eye on
South Africa and many are beginning to
realize very quickly that Apartheid is an ab-
surd and inhumane national policy.
When South African Prime Minister P.W.
Botha looks into the future he must realize
that nothing lasts forever. The Union of South
Africa is no exception. How this
homogenously-white government has lasted
so long is in itself an anamoly. In 1985 it
almost seems impossible for a white gover-
nment to rule a country which is over 90 per-
cent black. In the past, it worked. Resistance
was squelched through quiet, but iron-fisted
suppression that went unnoticed by other
The present, however, is bloody with
domestic violence. This violence, combined
with continued U.S. pressure, could bring
change to the country's institutionalized
racist policies and with it freedom and
equality to the majority of the country.

Chassy cAan~,

Price of the press

New York Times editorial
pages may have noticed something
missing the last month. Pulitzer
prize winning columnist Sidney
Schanberg no longer appears in
the paper.
Schanberg, who authored the
twice-weekly metro column
tly came to a higher degree of
national prominence when his ex-
periences as a journalist in Cam-
bodia were documented in the
movie The Killing Fields, which
was nominated for an Academy
If Schanberg were being
dismissed for incompetence or un-
popularity it would be one matter,
but his column was continually
regarded as top-notch journalism
and in the first week following his
column's cancellation hundreds of
readers complained to the Times.
Although the Times has yet to
formally announce its reasons for
doing away with the column, most
observers suspect that the decision
came about because Schanberg
criticized the Times for its limited
coverage of the Westway highway
construction project and cited in-
justices in civic developments
which purportedly involved friends

of top Times editors.
The column's cancellation is
distressing not merely because it
deprives the public of a fine jour-
nalist, but because it graphically
underscores the limits of the
American "free press."
The first amendment in the Bill
of Rights guarantees each citizen
that the government will not
restrict his right to print whatever
he feels.
That freedom is meaningless to
nearly everybody in the country,
however, because only those who
can afford to purchase or contract
with expensive printing firms have
the de facto right to publish their
Free press is not free, on the con-
trary, it has a very high price.
The New York Times is surely
one of the finest newspapers in the
country, and if it has acted to quell
public discussion, then it is
frightening to think what papers
less recognized for integrity might
do to protect their interests.
In the mean time, New York has
lost a valuable voice in its city
politics, and the rest of the country
has a disturbing example of the
tenuousness of its "freedom of the

Daily overlooked

Salvadoran facts

To the Editor:
I was extremely disappointed
by the editorial on El Salvador
that appeared in Monday's
paper. (Kidnapped!, Daily, Sept.
16) It displayed a tremendous
degree of ignorance concerning
the situation there. The central
theme is the tired cliche about
"(good President Duarte"
caught betweenthe extremes of
the left and right. This story has
been sufficiently discredited by
recent history that one would
hope that even the Daily wouldn't
repeat it.
Quickly reviewing some of this
history, we can begin with Duar-
te's return to prominence in 1980.
After being in exile for several
years Duarte became the central
figure in a civilian-military junta
after all the other significant
political figures had resigned.
They had resigned because they
claimed the junta was powerless
to control the military. At this
time the death squads were

maintained a system of lan-
dholding in which the vast
majority of the land is held by a
tiny segment of the population (a
land reform program put for-
ward in 1980 was stopped in its
early stages, and has since been
partially retracted). The largest
segment of El Salvador's
population continues to be a lan-
dless and impoverished peasan-
try. This is the root cause of the
violence in El Salvador and
Duarte has done nothing to
redress it.
While death squad killings did
fall off, this was largely because
the potential victims like labor
organizers fled or ceased to act in
the open. As the labor movement
has become revitalized in the last
several months, death squad ac-
tivity has picked up as well. It is
worth noting that throughout
Duarte's period in power not a
single death squad member has

been prosecuted for the killing of
a Salvadoran.
Also overlooked in your
editorial is the massive bombing
campaign being carried on by
Duarte's regime. These bom-
bings, the largest in the history of
the Western Hemisphere, have
according to America's Watch,
been deliberately directed at the
civilian population in areas under
rebel control. The bombings
together with the death squads
have produced over one million
refugees, nearly a quarter of El
Salvador's population.
While no one would justify
every action carried out by the
guerrillas, their human rights
abuses bear no comparison to the
50,000 death squad killings or the
massive bombing of civilian
targets by the government. An
attack like the one that killed four
U.S. marines earlier this summer
may provoke anger here, but it is

the sort of action that can be ex-
pected, given the U.S. military's
involvement with every aspect of
the war. The U.S. military not
only trains and supplies El
Salvador's armed forces, but it
has also directed battles, coor-
dinated bombing strikes, and in
such circumstances we can't ex-
pect that our military personnel
will be immune from attack.
If there is to be a peaceful set-
tlement in El Salvador it must be
brought about through
negotiations, which the guerrillas
have consistently supported and
Duarte has backed away from.
Continued support for Duarte can
only mean more death squad
killings and more bombings as
the government tries to enforce a
solution that preserves the status
quo. A status quo that the people
of El Salvador are resolved to
-Dean Baker
September 16

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