Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

December 04, 1985 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Page 4

Wednesday, December 4, 1985

The Michigan Daily

S. African poet:



Dennis Brutus, an exiled critic of
apartheid South Africa and former
political prisoner held at the notorious
Robben Island, won his case against
deportation from the US in 1983. The
legal attempt by the US federal gover-
nment to deport Brutus lasted three
One New Right publication (ab-
breviated as "I" in the interview at-
tempted to link Brutus's activism to the
Soviet Union, but found itself unable to
publish its direct questioning of Brutus
on the matter. What follows is that in-
In speaking to Daily Opinion page
staffer Henry Park, Brutus extended
thanks to all those who helped in effec-
ting the University's 99 percent effective
divestiture from companies operating in
South Africa. Asked what he thought
the next step in the movement to cut ties
to South Africa was, Brutus mentioned
"labor action, " which would "scare

them [United States policy-makers]
Interviewer: One of the things Gordon
Winter wrote in his book [inside BOSS, the
Bureau of State Security in South Africa ] is
that you received 10,000 pounds from Fidel
Castro in 1966 to be used in your legal
defense fund. Is this true?
Brutus: The publishers said that they had
made an attempt to get a correction and it
was at the printers.
The fact is that I received no money from
Castro. Winter also says that I had a private
audience with the Pope, and that is not
correct either.
I: Are you in favor of ending US invest-
ment in all countries with discriminatory or
oppressive practices?
B: I would say that the US should be
committed to human rights everywhere.
This would include socialist countries,
communist countries and capitalist coun-
tries, but there are two special dimensions
to South Africa. One, you are dealing with a
country whose constitution denies all
political rights to 80 percent of the
population. It is not a matter of convention
or tradition. It is in the constitution. Two,
you have to distinguish between the coun-
tries where the US trades and is an accom-
plice to the denial of human rights, and
countries where the US has no direct in-
fluence on the political structure.
There are over 400 American cor-
porations in South Africa. There are 14.6
billion dollars of American money in South
Africa. The United States is South Africa's
number one trading partner. It buys more
from South Africa than any other country
does. It sells more to South Africa than any

other country does. It sells enriched nuclear
material for weapons. It supplies South
Africa with technology to control the 80 per-
cent black population - computers,
Motorola walkie-talkies. You are in a very
special situation. While I make a general
statement for all countries, I would still say
South Africa is a special case.
[The interviewer also asked about
Brutus' difficulties with governments allied
to the apartheid regime. Defense witnesses
were questioned in court as to whether or
not Brutus was or is a communist.]
I: The Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) mentioned "secret evidence"
as a possible reason to deny you permanent
resident status. Do you know what evidence
they could have been referring to?
B: No, but I did try to find out. One of my
attorneys asked the judge three very
specific questions. He asked him: "Does
this classified information refer to any
organization, or to any particular country,
or to any particular dates?" The judge said
there were no dates, no organizations and
no countries. He said that all the infor-
mation had done was to embarass him. He
had not felt that it was significant.
I: You were quoted in the New York
Times as saying that you feared that the
INS has information from the South African
Bureau of State Security files.
B: Mainly, of course, I'm referring to the
book by Gordon Winter, who is a defector
from the South African secret police and
who says that he handed over a dossier
which he had prepared on me to the US of-
ficials in London. So we have that suspicion,
but we don't have hard evidence:
I: Winter also wrote that someone, he
didn't know who, had tapped your phone in
London. He said that you had mentioned in a

conversation that you were privately war-
ned by an American official that your visa
would not be renewed if you started
agitating politically in the U.S.
B: As you said, we don't know who was
tapping my phone. I think it may have been
BOSS in collaboration with the British In-
telligence Service. I know that some of the
information Winter has is correct. The thing
about agitation I don't recall precisely.
I: Nevertheless, given your temporary
residence status over the last ten years,
have you felt at all intimidated?
B: Yes, in the sense that I often had dif-
ficulty when my visa came up for renewal.
The last time, as you know, my file was lost.
Then they said that my application was late,
but that was more of a bureaucratic dif-
ficulty than a political difficulty.
I: Are you saying that your problem with
getting permanent residence was a
bureaucratic, not a political problem?
B: No, on the contrary, I think it was both.
That's where the secret evidence comes in.
If it were a purely bureaucratic fight,
classified information would not have been
introduced. When the judge did not allow
me to see the classified information, it
became a political fight.
I: You are a very in demand person. Do
your political efforts take time away from
the poetry you love?
B: The three years I spent in a depor-
tation fight were very time-consuming and
a great waste of energy, and in that sense,
yes, I think my writing suffered. But, in
terms of my political efforts, whether they
affect my writing, I believe the answer is
no. I see my political work, and my creative

work as all part of one pattern directed to
the same goal. So when I am speaking and
could be writing I don't regret that, because
I see both writing and speaking as serving
the same goal.
I: So you consider your poetry and your
politics as one and the same?
B: They are different expressions of the
same action.
I: Do you support armed resistance to
B: It seems to me that to overthrow the
apartheid regime at least three factors will
have to be involved. One will be political
pressure, external and internal. You will
have strikes, sit-downs, protests and civil
disobedience, which will eventually
paralyze apartheid. One will be economic
pressure - embargoes, boycotts and so on.
But because the apartheid system is com-
mitted to preserving itself at the point of a
gun, it will be inevitable that there will be a
third component to that struggle, and that
will be armed struggle. The apartheid
government has stated that it wants to stay
in power for a thousand years, that it will
fight until the blood comes up to the horse's
bits, and that they will never surrender.
Because they have made it illegal for chan-
ge to take place through peaceful means, I
am convinced that armed struggle will be
part of the change.
I: Roughly how much time does apartheid
have left in South Africa?
B: My own analysis is two-fold. A victory
for the people of South Africa is inevitable,
but how long it will be before we arrive
there will depend on the United States. If the
United States withdrew its support for the
apartheid regime, I think it would crumble
in one to three years. Otherwise of course
the struggle will take longer.


Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Call for mutual respect in Mid-East

Vol. XCVI, No. 63

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Freedom fighter

F REEDOM IS A word which
has different meanings for dif-
ferent people. In today's super-
power struggle, both the Soviet
Union and the United States em-
ploy various interpretations of
freedom to protect strategic in-
terests in compliance with their
realpolitik policies throughout the
As so often stated throughout his
tenure as president, Ronald
Reagan upon returning from
Geneva last Friday reiterated to
the nation his standard defense of
freedom and the right to self-
determination for all peoples. In
addressing this issue, Reagan cites
regional conflicts in Afghanistan.
Nicaragua, Ethiopa, Angola and
Cambodia. He argues that these
are all conflicts "where insurgen-
cies that speak for the people are
pitted against regimes which ob-
viously do not represent the will or
the approval of the people." While
noble in theory, Reagan
systematically ignores the fact
that human rights abuses stem
from both excesses of the
autocratic right as well as from the
Communist left.
Reagan's freedom in the name of
anti-communism has reper-
cussions both at home and abroad.
At home, crusading anti-com-
munism has led to a collective self-
delusion of American
righteousness, excessive
patriotism, and a marked growth
of the military-industrial complex
at the expense of an increasing
trade deficit and an unprecedented
national debt. Abroad, anti-com-
munism has brought us the ar-
maments race, increased nuclear
terror, and the strengthening of
nnnressive aitneraeies around the

As Reagan understands and
publicly condemns, communist
rulers have consistently proven
themselves as adept at surpressing
political dissent and exercising
autocratic power. One need only
to recall the Stalinist purge trials
of the 1930's, and the successive in-
vasions of Hungary in 1956,
Czechoslovakia in 1968 and
Afghanistan in 1980.
If the U.S. truly opposes those
uses of power which violate the
human spirit than it must not limit
its opposition to communist tyran-
ny but must also oppose persisting
injustice, exploitative privilege
and despotism as found today in-
such U.S. supported "democratic
allies as the Philippines and
Since President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt's historic signing
of the historic Atlantic Charter in
1941, successive American
presidents have pledged
traditional support for the self-
determination of free peoples
everywhere. In reality, however,
strategic considerations such as
the maintenance of the Clarke and
Subic Bay bases in the Philippines
or ITT investments in Chile have
come at the expense of human
rights. If Reagan acknowledged
and justified human rights abuses
in thse areas and elsewhere as a
tragic necessity of strategic
security instead of denouncing the
Soviets as if it were evangelistic
saviors of the "free" world, U.S.
policies would probably be easier
to swallow. But until U.S. policies
match its often puritanical
rhetoric, Reagan should abandon
his double-standard denunciations
of the Soviet "evil empire."

To the Daily:
In response to the letter
"Zionism is racist expression,"
(Daily, Nov. 21) I would like to
expound upon a few points. Mr.
Khoury suggests that the same
system of "secular democracy"
that is applied here in the United
States in the attempt to solve con-
flicts and problems of minorities,
also be applied to Israel, as
perhaps the first step in a move
toward equal rights of the
Palestinians there. With respect
to this suggestion I am in
agreement; all voices of a state
should have an equal opportunity
for constructive and critical in-
However, the basis of any
stable democracy presupposes
the existence of separate political
groups wishing to contribute to
the democracy through peaceful
means and not through terrorist
acts. The prime objective of the
PLO (the most agreed upon
representative of Palestinian
people) is not a peaceful con-
tribution to any political system,
nor is its sole purpose the
establishment of a homeland for
Palestinians (perhaps through
some agreement of land
sharing), instead the PLO's
prime objective is the destruc-
tion of the Jewish state of Israel.
So when one speaks of racism, he
should indicate which party is
clearly the threat.
Zionism is no more racist than
the desire of any people bound by
either religious or cultural
reasons to establish a safe
homeland. Zionism is for Jews
what the liberation of Palestine is
for the Palestinians, the only
major difference is that Jews need
not destroy the Palestinians to
achieve this end. Both peoples
are entitled to live in peace in the
Middle East; both claims to land
are legitimate, but one group can
not be sacrificed so that the other
may achieve its goal. Zionism
does not presuppose this, can the
PLO say the same?
On the other hand, people (Mr.
Khoury included) may argue that
Israel is unjust in denying rights
to the Palestinian refugees, and
again I am in agreement; it is a
great injustice. Yet the barriers
to a Middle East settlement lie
not just with Israel, but with all
the parties concerned. Peace,
fairness, and a Palestinian
homeland will only occur when
all sides sit down and
"democratically" discuss the
issues. Nothing will be solved
when the Arab countries (with
the exception of Egypt) walk out
of the U.N. General Assembly

with one another and talk. Stop
the bombings. Stop the
retaliation. Stop the walkouts.
And especially stop the
generalization that the desire for
a Jewish homeland within secure

To the Daily:
No, I do not think someone
could contract AIDS from a door
knob. Monday's Daily,
("Misconceptions Surround
AIDS Causes," Dec.2) however,
reported that I hold this
ridiculous belief.
This comical remark came af-
ter some ten minutes of conver-
sation. I had pointed out that the
AIDS virus has been found in
blood, semen,sand tears. The
Daily reporter and I were
discussing the extent of the
myths concerning the disease,
whenbIibrought up this asinine
possibility concerning doorknobs.
I used thenpronoun "I" as
quoted because of the conver-
sational atmosphere; few studen-
ts would say in a relaxed conver-
sation, "If one touches the same
doorknob and bites his/her nails,
that person could get AIDS and
This gross misrepresentation
of my opinion, unfortunately,
permeates the entire news story.
I have no misconceptions regar-
ding AIDS. In the beginning of
my conversation with the inter-
viewer, she had quizzed me on
my knowledge of AIDS, and had
told me I understood the subject
well. She also said I had a few
misconceptions about AIDS.
There is, however, great cause
to be alarmed with AIDS. It has
no curerand kills the victim. A
medical doctor who teaches
physiology oncampus recently
spoke to my residence hall. In
conversation following the
meeting, it was mentioned that
AIDS could be the next plague,
killing one-third of our
population. The doctor agreed.
My opinion, to summarize, is
that we do not know a lot about
the AIDS virus, and how it can be
transmitted. For that reason, we
should be careful with how we
deal with it; we cannot afford to
take AIDS lightly.
Why, then, did the reporter
choose not to show my correct
opinion in her article? I can only
guess she needed somebody to
appear misinformed in order to
make her point - that students

do not know about AIDS. This is a
point well taken, but to make this
point, she must not misrepresent
a student's opinion, print his real
name, and make him seem an
uninformed fool. She should not

need to distort the truth.
She did just that, however,
showing poor taste, and poor
Kenneth Gordon

borders is inherently racist.
Nothing will change; in fact
things will just get worse until a
mutual respect for the basic
rights of both peoples is
acknowledged, not only by the

Palestinians and the Israelis, but
also by the world community as
represented by the U.N.
-Razum Lyuday
November 24

View on AIDS misrepresented

Action against AIDS

To the Daily:
On November 4, 1985 I attended
a semi-annual medical center
employee meeting held by John
Forsythe, the hospital's chief
operating officer and ad-
ministrator. At this meeting Mr.
Forsythe reported on the "state
of the hospitals". He very
proudly announced that the
University is hoping to become
nationally recognized pioneers in
two fields. These will be sports
medicine and heart transplants.
He also told us that the University
will be looking into developing
several other fields, or "centers
of excellence" as he termed
During the question and an-
swer part of the meeting I asked
him whether there are any plans
for the University of Michigan
Hospitals to become a center of
excellenceton Acquired Immune
Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS). I
mentioned that the University
has no medical research being
done on AIDS, that there are no
standard policies for staff or
students either with AIDS or
testing positive for the AIDS anti-
body, that there are no nursing
homes or convalescent centers in
all of Southeastern Michigan that
will accept AIDS patients, and
that there is a glaring and
pressing international need for a
center of excellence on AIDS.
Mr. Forsythe told us that the
University had considered this
option, but that it had been flatly
rejected. The first and foremost
reasn being that the medical
complex suffers from a lack of
parking places and that this
would inconvenience the current
staff far too much. AIDS patients
would simply take too many of
our precious parking places! Mr.
Forsythe went on to state that a
center of excellence in AIDS

would not be cost effective.
Little more needs to be said. It
is clear that the U of M cares
nothing about the raging public
health crises for gay men, IV
drug users, Haitans, Central
Africans, and really ALL human
beings. It is also clear that the
health care industry in the United
States exists NOT to benefit poor
and oppressed people, but to
make billions of dollars for drug
companies, medical equipment
companies, insurance com-
panies, doctors, administrators,
and the rest.
Meanwhile it is now estimated
that nearly two million people in
the United States have been ex-
posed to AIDS and over 14,0000
have contracted the disease. But
because this disease hit gay men
first in the United States it is
being called a "gay disease" and
is not receiving the necessary
funding for research, treatment,
and support services. AIDS and
anti-lesbian/gay bigotry must
both be fought. Mr. Forsythe
may have some hard lessons to
learn. Medicine in this country
will never be able to meet tha
nDeds of the vast majority people
as long as it is run for profits.
Health care must be run by
working people, minorities and
health care professionals, not big
In Ann Arbor, Action Against
AIDS-Ann Arbor(A5) is
organizing to bring about
changes in the U of M's attitude
and policies on AIDS. The nex
meeting will be on Tuesday
December 10 in the Michigan
League. Clearly we have a very
big, but important task ahead of
-Judy Levy
December 3
Levy is a member of Task
Force on sexual orientation.
by Berke Breathed _






"V i

T 1

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan