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December 11, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-11

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, December 11, 1985

The Michigan Daily

e ad m rbtnan tichigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

'The beast'

in Pretoria

+

Vol. XCVI, No. 68

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

An

ugly alliance

N A RATHER disturbing trend,
Britain appears eager to imitate
various American initiatives. Last
Nyeek, the British government of-
fcially withdrew from UNESCO -
thie United Nations Educational,
scientific, and Cultural
Organization; an action paralleling
3 U.S. move last year. Ad-
$itionally, less than a week ago,
Britain chose to become the first
jountry to sign an agreement to
participate in the Reagan ad-
pninistration's Strategic Defense
Initiative program.
In both cases Britain's actions
Piave been a partial response to
J.S. pressure. Secretary of State
Qasper Weinberger, has said that
the U.S. was "very eager" to bring
tn other European nations in
research for the "new generation
Of weapons." Mr. Weinberger also
sees this pact as ammunition
against "Star Wars" opponents in
Washington, by demonstrating a
high level of interest and support
for the program among allies.
British Defense Minister Michael
Heseltine and Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher view this
agreement as a potential boon to
the British economy - by providing
jobs and opportunities for British
scientists as well a plus for in-
dustry.
In securing this agreement,
Heseltine and Weinberger are un-
doubtedly feeling equally accom-
plished. It should be noted
however, that other British leaders
are expressing some very valid
concerns regarding their country's
new committment. Various Labour
party leaders are questioning the
implications of the use of British
technology as a possible violation
Day of r
COME SAY it is the erraticism
natural to youth and others at-
tribute it to just plain laziness, but
whatever its cause, there can be no
denying that college students have
a tendency to postpone.
Procrastination is perhaps too
unkind a word to describe the
phenomenon which manifests itself
equally in all-night, one-night 12
page papers as it does in study
groups wherein each member
assumes the others have done all of
the readings.
Whatever the name of the syn-
drome, it has reached its logical
fend.
Today marks the beginning of the
day of reckoning, when the
following ten calendar days seem
like one long mid-morning. Exams
blend in with one another as
various lasts - last papers, last
finals, last parties - fall in sequen-
ce like so many dominoes.
But the real reckoning comes af-
ter the academics are finished. The

three week winter vacation is as
much a repository of delayed
aspirations as the exam period, yet
there isn't the impending prospect
of academic failure providing that
vital caffeine-like impetus to con-
tinue working.
Think back on all the supplemen-

of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty.
Others have called the "Star
Wars" project "destabilizing and
and dangerous."
The UNESCO pullout is another
ugly U.S.-British "joint venture"
deserving of further examination.
Essentially the reasoning appears
to be consistent; Britain together
with the U.S. challenged
UNESCO's basic philosophies
regarding the "institutions of a free
society" and objected to the diver-
sion of funds from cultural and
educational programs to other
Soviet-backed programs, such as
problems of peace and disar-
mament. The American and
British withdrawals do nothing to
put UNESCO back on track. The
U.S. was the largest single source
of funding for UNESCO - which
has been unable to make up this
loss. Britain's action will only fur-
ther the organization's financial
problems. It is unfortunate that
amidst the world-wide concern
regarding the role of the United
Nations in international affairs and
the effectiveness of its programs,
the U.S. and Great Britain would
opt to deny UNESCO crucial sup-
port instead of working for the im-
provement of such a valuable
organization.
It is particularly disheartening to
see the administration's "Star
Wars" fever spreading among our
allies. Such an alliance serves only
to discourage any hopes of a sub-
stantial agreement at any future
summit, and shifts energy away
from the aims of the most recent
peace talks. Sadly, Britain's desire
to get in the game may prove
fatal step towards the last
epidemic.
eckonin
"sound good, I'll have to read that
over break." Conjure up, if
possible, all of the many spon-
taneous urges to see movies, visit
museums, or write old friends that
were squelched for lack of time
during the school year.
The most pressing concern of
winter break is almost surely the
brain's appetite for sleep, but by
the end of the first week of vacation
even the most bleary eyed exam
goers have had ample opportunity
to make amends with their minds.
The real challenge of break
comes then, when the momentum
has shifted from something com-
parable to an Indy 500 car to
something more like a middle-aged
professional's jogging pace. It
comes when it's every bit as easy to
turn on MTV as it is to pick up Fit-
zgerald or Hemingway and when
library visits mean getting in the
car and going downtown.
There's time, of course, for
visiting high school friends and
staying out until all hours - and

with the chief goal of vacation
being revitalization those activities
shouldn't be scrapped - but
there's time also, perhaps, for
some of the side-paths of academia
that, once explored, could make the
next day of reckoning a bit less im-

By Philip Smucker
As the South African government steps up
its crackdown on the press, it is important
for Americans to continue to look into the
nature of "the beast" in Pretoria today.
While tools of deception are rudely enfor-
ced by racist police censors, it is less well-
known that the apartheid policy is justified
biblically and espoused on the pulpit by
many of the most powerful South African
theologians.
Thesevoices speak for something much
more comprehensive than a minor league
cult. The majority of ruling Afrikaners
were raised to believe that they are the
modern children of Israel who brought God
to the heathen Africans and were given
apartheid as a way of life sanctified by God.
"Apartheid is a political as well as
theoretical policy built on a heretical inter-
pretation of the Bible," says the Rev. Ed
Mulder, general secretary of the Reformed
Church in America based in Grand Rapids,
the sister church of the dominant Reformed
Church of South Africa.
Many South African theologians,
ironically cite passages from the Tower of
Babel, referring to many nations with many
tongues as a justification for apartheid's
"homeland" segregation policy.
More disguised, however, is the in-
volvement of these same religious leaders in
the Broeder Bond, a secret organization,
exclusive of blacks, which pulls the political
strings in South Africa.
The church is "part and parcel" to the
political repression controlled by the
Broeder Bond,according to the managing
editor of the recently banned South African
Rand Daily Mail, who was recently in Ann
Arbor.
Theologians have banded together to for-
mulate government policy in South Africa
since the Afrikaners took the reigns of
authority over three decades ago. The bond
of secrecy within the Broeder Bond is as ex-
clusive as that of the KGB or the CIA.
Made up of both political and religious
leaders, the Broeder Bond's wrath
emanates from smoke-filled conference
rooms every time the status quo is distur-
bed.
It is not uncommon for outspoken church
leaders to be threatened by both their chur-
ch and their government. The Rev. Allan
Boesak, head ofethe Mission Church, a
coloured sister church of the Reformed sect,
was cut off from his church stipend when he
began to speak out against the repression.
Accusing his sister church of
manipulating religious doctrine to its own
selfish end was one thing, but when Boesak
began to attack the political reality of a
theocratic mind-set, he was threatened with
detention by his government.
The essence of this message handed down
from above goes something like this: Stick
to religion black man. If you were meant to
speak out on political issues God would have
made your skin white!
Smucker is a graduate student in
journalism.

But when black church leaders go about
the business of preaching the Gospel's con-
cern for the undereducated and
malnourished, they, again, find themselves
up against "the beast." "They (the gover-
nment) are using the word 'communism'
and they apply it to almost anybody who, on
the basis of his or her Christian convictions
looks at apartheid and says to the South
African government, 'I'm sorry, but I have
to be on the side of the poor and the weak
and the oppressed,' " says Boesak in his
book, "Walking on Thorns."
The branding of devout religious leaders
as communists, however, is not new.
Americans need only harken back to the
rhetoric of men like Senator Jesse Helms
(R-N.C.) who made continuous and unsub-
stantiated claims that Martin Luther King
was a communist in an attempt to stifle his
political voice as well as his physical
mobility during the civil rights struggle in
this country.
Repressive leaders here and abroad
usually have an answer to doubters who
wonder why black religious leaders should
constantly turn the other cheek towards
their oppressors. The Rev. Dr. James
White, professor of race relations at Calvin
and Hope Colleges in Michigan and a mem-
ber of the Reformed sect, was
"enlightened" with this logic when he asked
a white churchman in South Africa if it
bothered him that his church was suppor-
ting apartheid. "No," he said. "We are the
only Christians with a ministry to the com-
munists,"he said, referring to the Dutch
Reformed Church's policy of handing
religious pamphlets to Russian sailors when
they dock in South African port cities.'
But while religious leaders deny that
much of the repression in South Africa today
has its roots in an inherently heretical con-
viction, faith in both God and man is on the
decline in South Africa. These are sad and
disillusioning times for many rebellious
black youths who have severed, their
allegiances with the, church and a
philosophy they see as perpetuating
slavery.
"The-Dutch Reformed Church is too con-
nected to the Broeder Bond," said George, a
black South African student at Grand Valley
State College, who requested anonymity.
"Religious teachingsiare calculated to
achieve political motives. I can't under-
stand how what is immoral can be justified
on the basis of religion."
A new generation of blacks in South Africa
have come to see the idea of turning the
other cheek as a means for white rulers to
control the minds of blacks. They have lost
the faith that once gave their parents hope
for the future.
But while the religious struggle for
equality is undermined by the government,
the fighting on the border and in the streets
continues as white religious leaders offer
prayers for the white soldiers they consider
to be keeping the "peace."
At the same time, white political leaders are
meeting with these same religious leaders,
branding the "communists"-and thinking of
new ways to pacify the masses with
manipulated religious and political doc-

trine.
The unique marriage of religious convic-
tion and political institution is allowed to
grow and flourish in South Africa today. The
majority of South Africans, unlike
Americans, do not have a constitution that
prevents "the beast" from stifling their
voices of freedom.
South African leaders have made many
laws respecting religion, something the
framers of the American Constitution
sought to prevent. In South Africa, as
through much of recorded history, it is the
political institution that has come to embody
the repression that has sprung forth from
deeply felt convictions about superiority of
class, intelligence and race. Institutional
mechanisms, preventing mobility in jobs,
travel and education are the result.
If the South African government ever
gives in to concrete constitutional change it
can learn a lesson from America. Only when
men with a wary eye for despotism, as the
writers of theAmerican Constitution,
recognize the nature of "the beast" as a
repressive animal, do individual rights
remain protected.
Separation of church and state in America
is an attempt to allow for the voice of
religion as a force for change, but not for the,
formulation of law. A man's religious con-
viction does not prevent him from lobbying
for a cause, but the establishment clause of
the Constitution prevents religious
organizations from having a controlling
voice in politics, according to visiting
University of Michigan law Professor, John
H. Garvey.
An understanding of history allowed the
framers of the American Constitution to
foresee the creation of manipulative in-
.stitutions like the ones so prevalent in South
Africa today.
Whereas the voice of the black individual,
The Rev. Allan Boesak, is often silenced, the
idea of racial superiority, which began as a
religious conviction advocated by a
relatively small band of white religious
leaders,prevails condescendingly over the
rights of the majority. Deep seated hatred
and prejudice is disguised with a thin in-
stitutional veil.
Yet even when the reigns of
discrimination are taken out of thehands of
despotic governments, as was done in the
South over 100 years ago, deep seated fear
and hate can still flourish. Even the most
overt attempts to ameliorate past
discrimination can prove to be futile if the
individual resists. People can run away
from the problem, as exemplified through
"white flight," or people can attribute the
problem to someone else.
All of which makes one wonder if real
change can be affected at all by political
mechanisms. Maybe all we can ask for from
a good democratic government is a chance
for change through the prevention of in-
stitutionally enforced repression. Afterall,
the framers of the Constitution were placing
faith in the individual not the institution to
affect change. They created a framework
for equality, not equality itself, and in so
doing they gave birth to an environment
which would allow for revolutionary change
from within.

LETTERS:
Call for action against segregation

To the Daily:
Separate and unequal
education is a fact of life for black
schoolchildren attending public
schools in Ann Arbor. Elemen-
tary schools that are primarily
black, such as Northside School,
receive much less in the way of
resources than schools that are
overwhelmingly white, and they
suffer from long time policies of
neglect and decay. Racist prac-
tices in all the public schools, like
academic "tracking" segregate
children, disproportionately
black and minority, into lower
pre-determined slots from which
there is no escape throughout
their school years. Ad-
ministrators, and too often many
teachers, do not have any high
expectations for these kids. The
students themselves begin to ab-
sorb the message that they will
never succeed and this has a
psychological effect of lowering
the incentive to academically
acheive in school. In addition,
children whose families are con-
tinually discriminated against by
economic and social racism, are
in need of special attention and
support systems of parents,
teachers, and students in order
for the children to be better able
to get by in the school environ-
ment. Added pressures, such as
racist hostility toward black
children in school, and curriculum
that do not teach the real history
and aeheivements of black and

to nearby Northside Elementary.
School. Now, they would be
prohibited from sending their
kids to Northside and the new
reorganization plan would have
them bussed to either over-
crowded Thurston Elementary or
across town to a potentially
hostile environment in white, up-'
per middle-class Burns Park at
Burns Park Elementary. under-
standably, with educational
programs and facilities so
horrendous at Northside, many
parents are eager to send them to
what might be perceived as any
type of an improvement
somewhere else. But many
Arrowwood parents clearly want
to fight for quality education at
Northside for their children, with
the option of busing for those who
do not want to stay at Northside.
Against this background of in-
stitutional racism in the Ann Ar-
bor public schools, black parents
have been organizing for quality
education and an end to
segregation in the schools. The
Board of Education has been
talking for 20 years. Finally, af-
ter parents of Northside children
filed a complaint with the Depar-
tment of Justice in April 1984, the
Board started to develop a plan
for school closings and busing to
acheive a better racial balance in
the elementary schools. Under
the school reorganization plan
approved at the Oct. 16 Board
RIBOM COUNTY

meeting, seven schools would be
closed and the remaining schools
would range in black enrollment
from 9 per cent (Hailey) to 25 per
cent (Bryant-Pattengill), with a
total of 17.6 per cent black
enrollment in Ann Arbor as a
whole. The present range is 0.7
per cent black (Freeman) to 69.2
per cent black (Northside).
While this plan may make for
less segregation in the Ann Arbor
public schools, the special
problems of black students are
still not being adequately ad-
dressed. Black children are ex-
pected to bear the entire burden
of the school dsegregation plan.
They are the ones who will be get-
ting up earlier to take buses
across town. It is their parents,
many of whom do not own their
transportation, who will be less
able to participate in after-school
parent-child activities in a
strange school on the other side of
town.
In order to finance the school
desegregation and to continue
with the operation of the schools,
the public library, and all extra-
curricular activities, and school
busing, The Board is calling for
approval of a millage renewal
and increase in a special election
to be held Monday December
16th. Some white parents op-
posed to school integration have
called for a defeat of the millage
and are attempting to recall the

school board. However
inadaquete the Board's plan may
be, and despite the financial bur-
den being placed on small
homeowners, it is very important
that the millage be passed as a
statement against racism and to
immediately finance the
education of Ann Arbor's
children. University of Michigan
students registered in Ann Arbor
can make a positive contribution
to this by voting 'yes' for the five
millage proposals on the ballot.
University students who want
to fight racism in all its forms,
can help in several ways. ,First,
get out and vote for the school
millage! Then support the paren-
ts and students in their fight for
decent integrated education. Th-
e Committee Against Racism and
Apartheid, (CARA), a
multiracial group of University
students and workers, is attem-
pting to build support for the ac-
tions of the black parents in their
organizing. We are trying to
build a movement by uniting
students, campus workers (many
of whom are also
schoolchildren's parents) and the
Ann Arbor community, so that
all our struggles will be
strengthened.
- Paul Lefrak December 10
Lefmk is a member ofthe
Committee Against Racism
and Apartheid
hbr Re.e Reathed w.

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