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October 23, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-23

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, October 23, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Gheft hiantiy
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No. 35 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Nicaragua's' natural

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enemies'

Peace possibilities

T sraeli Prime Minister Shimon
Peres' announcement of a
"possible blueprint" for renewed
Mid-East peace process talks is
reason to celebrate.
The announcements, made
during a special session of the
United Nations honoring the
organization's 40th anniversary, is
both an affirmation of the U.N. 's
potency as an international forum
and a long-awaited glimmer of
hope on the Mid-East horizon.
While the blueprint offered by
Peres is not a radical departure
from previous policy statements -
the new willingness to travel to
Jordan for negotiations or utilize a
non-partisan international
organization to initially facilitate
the talks is certainly a new tact.
Despite the fact that the Jor-
danian delegation and the majority
of all Arab delegations walked out
on Peres' speech at the U.N., Jor-
dan's King Hussein has announced
his desire to negotiate, issuing a
somewhat vexing double message.
In any case, the main thrust of
Peres' message was to present a
plan for the immediate resum-
ption of peace talks. The potential
for discussion between Israel and a
Jordanian-Palestinian delegation
discussion has most recently been

thwarted by acts of terrorism per-
petrated by numerous middle
eastern factions.
Indeed, the last significant
negotiations have lost most of their
relevance as Camp David and the
Carter administration slip into a
historical context.
Most heartening, perhaps, is
Peres' declaration that he intends
to negotiate pursuant to the U.N.'s
security council's resolutions 242
and 348 - which refer to Israel's
right to exist and the sovereignty
of occupied territories - and the
"willingness to entertain
suggestions proposed by other par-
ticipants."
While the United States has con-
sistenly been instrumental in
facilitating peace talks, it is a
renewed commitment to the
possibilities of the U.N. forum that
indicate a seriousness in the
proposal. While the U.S. and Israel
are constantly coming under fire in
the U.N. General Assembly, it is
encouraging that Israel does not
feel so alienated as to deny the
ideals and function of the inter-
national body which was basically
designed to mediate in such
chronic and complex conflicts as
the type that now engulf the Middle
East.

By Peter Rosset
The plane coming down. A smell
of insecticide. And Sergio tells
me: "The smell of Nicaragua."
-from a poem by Father Ernesto Cardenal,
Nicaraguan Minister of Culture
This line of poetry by Nicaragua's poet
laureate, Ernesto Cardenal, captures the
essence of the pesticide crisis in that coun-
try prior to the 1979 revolution. While our
press daily debates the merits of
Nicaragua's Sandinista leadership on a
variety of points, one of the Snadinista's
most remarkable achievements has been
overlooked. They have begun to reverse a
thirty year legacy of insecticide abuse that
claimed thousands of victims every year
and crippled Nicaragua's national
economy.
The story revolves around the addiction of
"ol' king cotton" to pesticides. Cotton and
coffee are Nicaragua's two main export
crops; together they provide the bulk of the
desperately foreign currency that pays for
medicine, seeds, fertilizer, spare parts, and
Rosset is a U. of M. graduate student
who recently spent two years as a pest
management advisor to the Nicaraguan
Ministry of Agriculture.

everything else that Nicaragua cannot
manufacture locally. Yet under the long and
brutal reign of the U.S.-back Somoza
dynasty, the costs of imported insecticides
grew so high that the country as a whole
began to lose dollars on cotton.
Heavy U.S. foreign assistance spurred the
massive introduction of cotton in Nicaragua
in the 1950's. At that time there were three
kinds of insect pests, and farmers sprayed
their cotton about three times a year. But as
the years passed, and acreage grew, more
and more chemicals were sprayed. The in-
sects became resistant from constant ex-
posure to chemicals, and the natural
enemies that once preyed upon them were
wiped out. As a result, by 1979 therewere 24
important kinds of pests, and the average
farmer sprayed 30 times. Some farmers
even sprayed 50 to 60 times a season.
In 1967 every hectare of cotton in
Nicaragua was doused with 99 liters of
liquid and 19 kilograms of powdered insec-
ticide. 75 different kinds were sprayed,
many promoted by U.S. companies despite
the fact that they were not approved for use
at home. Mother's milk contained 80 times
more DDT than the maximum permitted in
the U.S. for cow's milk. The United Nations
recognized Somoza's Nicaragua as a world-
class pesticide disaster.
But that has all been changing since 1979.

By the fifth year of the Sandinista revolution
national pesticide imports had been reduced
by more than 25% through the use of in-
novative, ecologically based pest control in
cotton. It is simple and elegant.
During the dry season the insects usuall4
hibernate because there is no cotton to eat.
So the farmers now plow all the after-har-
vest cotton stalks under ground, leaving just
a small island or "trap crop" of stalks in
each field, about 2 by 50 meters in size. All of
the pests are attracted to these small islan-
ds of potential food, where it is a simple
matter to eliminate them. The next growing
season there simply aren't as many pests,
so the farmer doesn't need to spray as
much. And yields have actually been higher.
Based on this dramatic success in cotton,
the most impressive by far in the Third
World, Nicaraguans are now searching for
similar, ecological sound techniques to use
on their other crops. If left alone, they could
turn Nicaragua into an ecological showcase
for the world. Even the U.S. might learn
something. But the Reagan Administration
has shown no inclination to let Nicaragua
be. Nevertheless, I say we must give change
a chance, because the way things are now i
most of the Third World not much of
anything is working and millions are star-
ving.

I

Wasserman

AC-MGM12IN THE 60's WE WREALWAYS 11- CMt1- ThT VWOULD SPI'NMIuiOw N5 W.L,13ONER, WE
l..OcPN& FORQ T{EISSV& f1AT CULD INTO 11WSCR2ETSTo MA~?AA A&rA1NT N~r IWL'}SAVE Iy. N(CDt6
A.SoF "TIE MA~e.? Co~RTC-TYAY12J*4-- Is&uE SoM)TAiCK?/
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__ _ ___ * Q

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I

LETTERS
Daily coverage of Bush protest skewed

11

Minding Marcos

T HE REAGAN Administration
this week made a concerted
pitch to allay the deteriorating
political and economic situation in
the Philipines in an effort to con-
front growing influence of the
communist party in the country,
presently estimated at 30,000.
Reagan sent Republican senator
Paul Laxalt of Nevada to appeal to
Philipine President Marcos for
economic and political reform. Un-
fortunately, according to Marcos'
spokesman, the President told
Laxalt that the Philipines had not
been overrun by insurgents in the
1950s and the 1970s and "will not be
overrun by this one." The Laxalt
commission was deployed at a time
when the U.S. Department of
Defense was planning to invest $1.3
billion in two of America's largest
military bases - the Clark Air
Base and the Subic Bay Naval Base
- both located in the Philipines.
Clearly, Reagan's proposed
reform initiatives represent a step
in the right direction. Since Sep-
tember 1972, Filipinos have lived
under a brutally repressive state of
martial law. Civilian courts have
been supplanted by military
tribunals and previously
established freedoms of the press,
speech, and assembly have all been
revoked. Until the recent Laxalt
pronouncement, Reagan seemed to
believe that 'constructive
engagement' "Filipino style" was
effectively insuring cordial
relations in the long-standing
alliance and simultaneously laying
the groundwork for a new base-

and-aid agreement.
In effort to bolster the alliance
and to cement pending military
proposals, in 1981, Vice President
George Bush, stated in a toast to
Marcos: "We love your adherence
to democratic principles and to
democratic processes." In the
second Presidential debate last Oc-
tober with Walter Mondale,
President Reagan claimed that
communism was the only alter-
native to Ferdinand Marcos.
The sudden change in Ad-
ministration outlook on the Filipino
oppressions appears to be an-
chored in strategic political con-
cerns. Despite Filipino claims, to
the contrary communist
aggressions continue at a rapid
pace with guerrillas operating in
areas that were previously im-
pregnable to attack.
In the face of these hostilities it is
becoming clear to Reagan that
there must be an alternative to the
Marcos regime, because if there is
not, communism will surely
prevail. Although Reagan's
initiatives might appear favorable
on the surface, they must be
assessed in a strategic context
rather than as a sincere effort by
the Reagan Administration to end
the repressive rule.
The actual impact of Laxalt's
visit will not become apparent until
the details of Administration
pressure on Marcos are released.
In the meantime, it is encouraging
that Reagan has altered his view of
Marcos' oppression, although this
attitude alteration may have come
too late.

To the Daily:
Last week we witnessed a
disgraceful event: the rude and
obnoxious behavior of a small
group of people during the
ceremony designed to celebrate
the Peace Corp's 25th Anniver-
sary. The Michigan Daily had a
crucial role in orchestrating this
spectacle.
On Monday, before the event,
the Daily actively encouraged the
protest by focusing on Vice-
President Bush's visit and on the
plans of the people who were
going to protest that visit rather
than on the anniversary
celebration itself. They even
went so far as to identify several
different protest groups and
name a contact person for each of
those groups, just in case people
wanted to join in.
The next day, the Daily repor-
ted the story that they had helped
create. The front page story gave
top billing to the protestors com-
plete with photographs. While the
continuation of the story on the
inside pages acknowledged the
presence of Pro Bush people, they
were labeled in the caption of a
photograph as Young
Republicans, sorority women, or
Michigan Review staff persons.
The Daily failed to mention
that the hecklers upset the
majority of the audience who
wanted to celebrate the anniver-
sary of the Peace Corps. The
Daily failed to mention that the
hecklers upset and embarrassed
the majority of the audience who
wanted to see and hear the
speakers. Finally, the Daily
failed to mention that the
hecklers upset and embarrassed
the majority of the audience who
wanted to show their respect for
the office of the Vice President of
the United States. In fact, the
only thing the Daily did not fail to
mention was the content of
Bush's speech. We are sure the
majority of the audience ap-
preciated this since so few could
actually hear the speech.
Wouldn'trit have been in-
teresting if the Daily had inter-
viewed some of the people in the
audience who strongly disagreed
with the current administration's
political stances, yet had the good
manners to show respect for the
nerson holding the second-

would not have produced the
same sensational headlines.
(Imagine 100 LEAVE RALLY!
3,900 REMAIN!)
We are proud of The University
of Michigan and believe it is a
priviledge to be a student here,
but we are embarrassed to be
represented by a newspaper
which advocates bad manners as

a legitimate form of protest. The
University is a respected in-
stitution and deserves
distinguished speakers. We hope
that the experience of Vice-
President George Bush and
Peace Corps Director Lorraine
Ruppe will not suggest to other
distinguished men and women
that they may only speak on this

campus if they present a
viewpoint which is consistent
with the Michigan Daily's
current editorial position.
-Tim Crowe
Doug Krol
October 14
This letter was cosigned by
22 university students.

'Today' shows sanitized slice of

U life

To the Daily:
Yesterday morning while at-
tending the filming of the Today
Show on the University of
Michigan campus, a friend and I
attempted to display a banner
which read "NBC: Report the
Bombing of El Salvador." (Yes,
it is true that there are large-
scale aerial bombings occurring
in El Salvador. Yes, it is true that
the U.S. is involved. And yes, it is
also true that NBC has not
covered this story. But that is not
what this letter is about).
While attempting to display our
banner, we were approached by
an Ann Arbor police officer,
Seargant Hughes, and a Univer-
sity of Michigan Security Officer
Tim Shannon, and asked without
explanation to move away from
where we were standing. We
pointed out that other persons
were standing in exactly the
same area as we, and since none
of them were being asked to
leave, we felt that we should be
allowed to remain.
When we did not move, the of-
ficers became more aggressive
and Seargant Hughes grabbed our
banner in the middle so that we
could not display it, and holding
the banner and the arm of my
friend, attempted to force us to
move. I stated that we had a legal
right to protest silently and
display our banner - we were not
obstructing the sight of other per-
sons, were not being disruptive,
and had a ticket to be attending
the event like everyone else stan-
ding there. To this the officer
replied, "They don't want this
here," referring to our banner.
The obvious implication was the
NBC did not want our banner to
be viewed on television.
BLOOM COUNTY

The message for the Today
Show was "M Go Blue" and that
was the only message that would
be seen or heard. It is clear that
NBC came here to show its
predetermined message that
there is no activism on this cam-
pus, and that U of M students
don't care about what goes on in
the world. It's frightening just
how far they will go to sanitize
the environment in order to ob-
tain the desired results. It's too
bad that the University and Ann
Arbor Police feel it necessary to
harass and intimidate students
who have a different message to
present. Since when do Ann Ar-
bor Police and University of
Michigan Security Officers work
for NBC?
I find it frightening the way in

which Campus Security of the U
of M and the Ann Arbor Police
are cooperating to suppress the
legitimate rights of students an*
community members to symbolic
protest. It seems that the right to
free speech is only good as long
as you don't try to use it. When
George Bush appeared on cam-
pus he said of the protesters that
it would be "nice" if they could
take their act to Moscow. Yester-
day we couldn't even take it to the
Diag. At one point during our
confrontation with the officers
yesterday, I said "I have a leg
right" to which one of the officer.
replied "Your legal rights have
nothing to do with this." That
much at least, is self-evident.
-Kathryn L. Savoie
October 18

Hired killer' responds

To the Daily:
I would like to respond to some
of the comments made by
Michael Taussig in his letter
printed in the October 16 issue of
the Daily. As I am one of his so-
called "hired killers," I take
great exception to his comments
regarding the armed forces. If
Mr. Taussig had taken the time to
find out anything about the
military, he would discover that
those of us who choose this par-
ticular career swore an oath that
puts a great emphasis on the
defense of the Constitution, in-
cluding, of course, the right of
free speech and the freedom of
the press. In other words, Mr.
Taussig, we, who you see fit to
vilify as "hired killers," are

sworn to protect your right to d
so.
If you feel so tainted and used
by your somewhat tenuous
association with us (by appearing
in the same publication?!), I
submit that you might be better
off in an academic environment
where such publications do not
exist. We certainly don't want to
lessen your "academic worth and
work."
As citizens of this country, it i
our right to express our opinions; -
however, I don't believe this
should extend to defamation. We
don't insult you for your choice of
profession whether we like it per-
sonally or not, Mr. Taussig; don't
insult us for ours.
-Thomas Gould
October 17
by Berke Breathed

We encourage our readers to use this
space to discuss and respond to issues of
their concern. Whether those topics
cover University, Ann Arbor com-

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