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February 11, 1986 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-02-11

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Tuesday, February 11, 1986 The Michigan Daily

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Edite m i tudnsat, The Univrs atyf ii
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCVI, No. 93

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

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Sing her praises

S HE IS A woman, "phenomenally
...." On Saturday night, Black
feminist writer Maya Angelou
spoke before a packed Rackham
auditorium to salute Black women
in celebration of Black History
Month. Angelou gave reason to
rejoice. Her own life story is a
model of ". . . what we can endure,
dlream, fail at, and still survive."
Angelou conveyed that message
with humor, passion, and style; in
the strict discipline of history, she
places the need for Afro-American
reconstruction of sensibility. She is
determined, not apologetic, "We
have loved because we have been
paid for ... We must pay for those
who come next." Within the con-
text of the Afro-American ex-
perience, she points out heroic
behavior about which to be
justifiably proud.
Angelou presents objective,
historical, and artistic evidence
that real love has always existed in
the Black community. She is not
preaching starry eyed romance;
when she speaks of love she is
talking about bonds that have held
Afro-Americans together through a
terrifying history in this country.
Her plea to young men and women
to show "incredible courtesy

toward each other. . . to be a
healthy people again" indicates
her sadness over problems that
face the Black community. At the
same time offers hope that Blacks
have suffered in the past, and have
a tradition of confronting pain with
intellect and flair.
The men of Alpha Phi Alpha
fraternity, who praised women
before Angelou spoke, appreciated
the necessity of recognizing value
and dignity in womanhood outside
the context of male use in
multidimensional roles, women
such as Mary McLeod Bethune,
Alexia Kennedy, Ida B. Wells and
Sojourner Truth. In a predominan-
tly white culture, there are no
realistic standards for the Black
woman. What does existtis a long
history that servants don't deserve
to be praised, that servants should
be invisible.
But Black women have played a
significant role along a spectrum of
activities-in politics, science,
domestics, and love. In the
elaborate structure of Afro-
American history and culture, it is
impossible not to be profound, not
to be grateful, not to say to Black
women, you are beautiful.

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U.S. government leads terror

Dark shadows

Looking underneath the glossed
surface revealing the dirty that
remains from the U.S. Department
of Labor monthly report on unem-
ployment released, Friday un-
covers some disturbing con-
clusions.
On the surface, the report
brought good news. Unemployment
in January fell to 6.7 percent, the
lowest unemployment rate since
March, 1980. For the first time
during Ronald Reagan's term in of-
fice, less than 7 million people are
unemployed.
And these figures should not be
dismissed. A lower unemployment
rate means that more people have
jobs, and can hopefully provide for
themselves and their families.
But underneath the improved
figures and Washington's gloating
lie some unpleasant truths that
shouldn't be overlooked. First, the
tnemployment rate for Blacks and
Svomen is significantly higher than
for whites. Black unemployment is
Consistently more than double
-white employment. What's worse is
that this discrepancy is so widely
aiccepted. This acceptance of in-
titutional racism must be changed
in order to avoid hypocrisy when
claiming a certain level of equality
in America.
On the statewide level, the news
also brought negativity.
Michigan's unemployment ac-
tually rose by seven-tenths of a
percent in January to 8.5 percent.

That eight tenths of a percent
represents 345,000 Michiganders
out of work.
And according to a report
released Thursday by the
Congressional Office of Technology
Assessment, those residents might,
unfortunately, be out of work for
quite a while. According to this
study, 40 percent of workers who
lost their jobs between 1979 and
1984 did not find new jobs in this
period.
Many of the displaced workers
were middle-aged people in
manufacturing "with long and
stable job histories." Of those
workers that had found new jobs,
only 55 percent found jobs that paid
as much as their old jobs had.
The study also provided evidence
to dispute the popular myth that
jobs in high-tech fields will supply
enough jobs to resuce a significant
number of workers who have lost
jobs in the manufacturing field. 94
percent of the non-agricultural jobs
created between 1970 and 1984 were
in the service sector. Also, former
manufacturing workers who do
manage to find new jobs usually'
experience some period of unem-
ployment in the transition.
The discrepancy in unem-
ployment between men and women
and Blacks and whites coupled with
the ugly picture painted in the
Congressional report casts a dark
shadow over the glowing statistics
released by the U.S. Labor Depar-
tment on Friday.

By Henry Park
Lately, Reagan has taken to scape-
goating Libya for aiding and abetting
terrorism in the Middle East. Long known
in the U.S. as a refuge for hijackers, Libya
evokes near-unanimous and simplistic
denunciations from Americans.
Libya's crimes are not of direct - involv-
ment. Supposed Libyan hit squads in the
United States never materialized when
Reagan claimed their existence. It is only,
now that Qadaffi is threatening direct
military action against American citizens if
the United States attacks Libya.
Rather, Libya is guilty for radical
rhetoric and aid to Palestinians engaged in
terrorism. Libya stands on the wrong side
of two conflicts - East versus West and
Palestinians versus Israelis. For this
reason alone, it is not surprising that Qadaf-
fi is labelled a terrorist by the same gover-
nment that views the Soviet Union as behind
an "international terrorist conspiracy."
At the same time, Qadaffi says the U.S.
government and Reagan are the biggest
war criminals since Hitler - both Qadaffi
and Reagan are right in their accusations.
If one counts assisting terrorists as Reagan
does, and defines terrorism as politically
motivated attacks on civilians as Reagan
does, then one can only come to the con-
clusion that the U.S. government is the
number oneterrorist criminal since W.W. II
with the Soviet Union trying to run a close
second.
Many will object that American violence
is usually organized. Often times, one
thinks of terrorists as isolated individuals.
On the other hand, the mafia is organized
and in any case, Reagan has defined "state
terrorism" to speak of the crimes of the
Soviet Union, which foments and abets
terrorism.
The distinction between war and.
terrorism is completely lost on its civilian
victims. If anything, war is the greater evil
carried out by more highly organized and
resourceful terrorists. Reagan is right that
only a label separates "freedom-fighting"
from "terrorism" or "liberation war" from
Park is the Associate Opinion Page
Editor

"terrorism" unless civilians are not the
target of violence.
If mercy for civilians stands between just
war and simple terrorism, the list of U.S.
crimes against civilians is still uncon-
scionably long.
eThe U.S. is the only country to have
dropped nuclear weapons - twice - on
predominantly civilian urban centers in
Japan.
eU.S. bombing that surpassed that of
WWII and massacres by the army in Viet-
nam and Cambodia took untold numbers of
civilian lives.
eU.S. military assistance allowed In-
donesia to kill what the Congress conser-
vatively estimates as 100,000 civilians in
East Timor in an invasion 10 years ago.
eThe C.I.A. assisted a coup in Indonesia in
1965 which resulted in the death of at least
200,000 civilians.
eThe U.S. government counts several
Salvadoran death squad officers on its
payroll; the U.S. officially does not count
this as assistance.
eThe U.S. provides weapons and oc-
casional personnel for the aerial bombing.
El Salvador.
-A former contra director admits working
on the assassination of hundreds of civilians
in Nicaragua under the direction and with
the aid of the C.I.A.
eWithout American economic and
military assistance, Israel never could have
carried out its share of terrorism in the Mid-
East - the various invasions of Lebanon
that killed over 20,000 in one case alone, the
aerial attack on Tunisia that killed another
60 recently and countless other atrocities on
the West Bank and elsewhere.
*Prior to an international arms embargo
and now under a loose interpretation of a
law that prohibits arms sales to South
Africa, the U.S. has permitted weapons to
go to the apartheid government. American
vehicles had a role in the 1976 Soweto
massacre that killed hundreds of blacks.
American banks made the $2 billion in loans
that saved the panicky South African
economy while the regime bought more
weapons. If one counts non-regulation of
American investors in Libya, South Africa,
Chile and the whole world, the American
government has directly or indirectly
delivered some assistance to terrorists.

responsible for almost all politically
motivated murders.
If terrorism is defined as politically
motivated attacks on civilians or assistance
to such attacks, thensthe U.S. has had a
terrorist hand in most Third World coun-
tries. Indeed, the history of $120 billion of
American military aid since 1953 alone
would be impossible to trace in its military
impact on innocent civilians, not to mention
its impact as part of the institutional star-
vation of Third World people.
Third World people need butter, but they
receive or seek guns to defend themselves
against First World aggression, First World
supported proxy insurgencies or their own
governments backed by one or the other of
two major imperialist blocs. For example,
the United States supports all sides in the
Middle East with arms, and why not? - the
more fighting, the more arms the U.S. sells
to cover the oil trade deficit anid the more
Middle Eastern countries and organizations
are dependenton the United States.
The list of terrorist incidents in all the
countries where terrorism involved
American supplied arms is too long. For a
start, see Noam Chomsky's The Washington
Connection and Third World Fascism and
Edward Herman's The Real Terror Net-
work.
Any U.S. official who spews forth moral
indignation with Qadaffi is like the head of a
mafia family that criticizes a hit man who
works for the competing family - the Soviet
Union. Parotting Reagan on Libya is to
condone the head of the largest terrorist
organization in the world in order to avoid
condoning a relative minor leaguer. The
truth of American foreign involvment
makes the story of Prizzi's Honor seem
quaint and pacifistic in comparison.
A hard-headed analysis that does not con-
done hit men or their organizers would have
to target the causes of war. Luckily, the
causes that iinpell people to violence are
almost as easy to cite as the horror of
terrorism - hunger, lack of national self-
determination and sexual, racial and
economic exploitation.
Recent "get tough on terrorism" talk is
militarist camouflage for America's own
terrorist impulse. Really getting tough on
terrorism means condemning the causes of
violence, even if that includes implicating
the United States government.

LETTERS:
Asian assimilation paints fas

is

To the Daily:
I would like to commend
Weekend (January 31) on the ar-
ticle: "Asian Americans:
Breaking Ground for a Third
Alternative." It was a very
honest and intelligent discription
of the problems faced by Asians
in American society. It did not,
however, focus on what I
believe to be two major aspects of
our problems, and I would like to
add to this article with my own
personal reflections. The first is
the major causes of our
nroblems. and the second is our

emotions. Asians in each war did
not exist as people, only enemies.
It is a fact that no major motion
picture or novel has ever tried to
portray the Vietnam War, or any
of the last three wars, from the
point of view of the Asian. No
thought is given to the hundreds
of thousands of Vietnamese who
died in that war. No mention is
made of the refugees and the
ravaged state of the land
Americans see Vietnam as a
strictly American tragedy. The
suffering we inflicted on the Viet-
namese. somehow. does not

rights of minorites, but we are
still very far from the free and
equal society that our laws
promise.
One aspect of Asian America
which the article did not take into
consideration is our own fun-
damental lack of organization.
There is no one unified national
political or social group claiming
to represnt the interests of all
Asians. Asians in America have
traditionally segregated them-
selves on the basis of culure and
nationality. Such a lack of
rttanininn .1at, at. c. av

,e picture
years. It consists of a picture
which I discovered in my
American History textbook. It
followed a single paragraph
which described the relocation of
Japanese Americans into "deten-
tion centers" in the Arizona
desert. The picture was of a
gymnasium. In it a large group of
Asians stood in a circular line
which curved in front of a row of
tables. It stuck in my mind that
everyone was wearing black and
carrying white pieces of paper. I
read the caption' three times,
nna ta p littne mm

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