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April 17, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-17

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, April 17, 1986

The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCVI, No. 135

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

NOW and forever

L OCAL FEMINISTS will be hit-
ting the streets on Saturday in
a march to celebrate women's
lives and reproductive rights. The
march, sponsored by the Ann Ar-
bor-Washtenaw chapter of the
National Organization of Women,
is another step in the right direc-
tion.
NOW has suffered a decline in
active membership locally during
recent years. While much of the
energy has apparently been con-
structively redirected to single
issue community service projects
and groups such as the Women's
Crisis Center and Women's Action
for Nuclear Disarmament, it is
important to continue to support
the umbrella women's rights
organization.
During the early 1970's local
women were instrumental in
securing the passage of the
Michigan Abortion Referendum.
Now that federal abortion
legislation appears to be
threatened, local NOW chapter
president Madeline Hansen says
it's time to mobilize to protect
those rights.
In the early 1980's the Equal
Rights Amendment provided NOW
with an accessible rallying point.
The proposed legislation offered a
tangible blueprint for the more ab-
stract concepts aimed at restruc-
turing American society. Unfor-
tunately, when the amendment
failed ratification, many activists

became discouraged.
Local activists are taking their
cue from NOW's national leader-
ship. Eleanor Smeal, who was re-
elected last summer as NOW's
national president, has consisten-
tly called for more visible and
vocal action. Last month's march
in Washington attracted more than
80,000 women and men, including
100 members of the local chapter of
NOW.
Ironically, many of the successes
of the women's movement have
made it more difficult for NOW to
operate. Long hours of grassroots
organization and lobbying are out
of the question for many women
who have pushed through the doors
opened to them during the 1970s,
and are now firmly established in
the business world. While com-
munity outreach services for
women in the Ann Arbor area are
excellent, there is a tendency for
those groups to be highly specific
and insular.
Effective organization in the
1980s to insure those freedoms
gained over the past twenty years
is vital to the women's movement.
Continued funding for Medicaid
abortions, rape awareness and
comparable worth are issues that
need attention and enthusiastic
advocacy.
Saturday's march is a step in the
right direction. But local women
must remember that in the larger
context, it's a long haul.

14
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Shapiro m ish an dles Man dela degree

Hidden past

EVIDENCE IS mounting that
former United Nations
Secretary General, Kurt
Waldheim, was a Nazi during
World War II. Waldheim is curren-
tly the leading Austrian presiden-
tial candidate; he should drop out
of the race.
Waldheim's continued
inadequate response to the charges
against him and the security
surrounding his UN file arouse
suspicion.
In 1938 Waldheim joined a Nazi
paramilitary organization called
the Brownshirts. Though he has
referred to this group as purely
social, it often attacked Viennese
Jews. Waldheim wrote in his
autobiography that his military
career on the Eastern front ended
in December, 1941. Now he admits
to having served as a staff officer,
in the Balkans, but claims
ignorance of any atrocities com-
mited there. Considering his
previous denials, however, it is
dubious that Waldheim did not
know about his own army group's
brutality. Waldheim served under
General Alexander Lohr who was
responsible for the deportation of
46,000 Jews from the city of

Salonika in Greece. As an inter-
preter, Waldheim would have had
to translate orders and as an or-
dinance officer he would have been
required to implement them.
Recently publicized evidence from
the UN archives accuses
Waldheim of "murder, (and) put-
ting to death of hostages."
Waldheim has also been im-
plicated for burning three villages
in a reprisal against Yugoslav
guerillas fighting German oc-
cupation.
United States intelligence ser-
vices may have known of the
charges against Waldheim
because the Yugoslav government
requested his extradition in 1947. It
seems that the CIA protected
Waldheim because his knowledge
of the Balkans would be helpful
during the Greek civil war.
In light of this possibility and the
evidence which has been revealed,
it is a positive sign that the Justice
Department's Office of Special in-
vestigations is participating in the
inquiry into Waldheim's past.
The UN's release of Waldheim's
file to the governments of Israel
and Austria suggests that justice
may finally be served.

To the Daily:
The university admnistration's
handling of the nomination of
Nelson Mandela for an honorary
degree has been both educational
and disillusioning to those of us
close to the process. After five
months of silence since the
nominating process was begun
last November, the Free South
Africa Coordinating Committee
(FSACC) learns that Mr. Man-
dela will receive no recognition
from this university despite the
fact that he is currently serving
his twenty third year in prison
and is in ill health. Yet President
Shapiro and the degree commit-
tee inform FSACC that it is not a
disagreement with Mandela's
political struggle for freedom
that obstructs the bestowal of the
honor. Rather, because his
refusal to accept conditions
placed on his release by the neo-
Nazi apartheid government of
South Africa prevents Mandela
from donning a cap and gown for
the commencement ceremony,
Mandela is ineligible for the
degree.
PresidenttShapiro's perfor-
mance in the last week has
revealed a rather cavalier at-
titude toward the concerns of
students. After a march through
the streets of Ann Arbor on April
4, in which an estimated 500
students, faculty, staff and com-
munity members participated,
members of FSACC have spent
hours each day speaking with any
administrator willing to listen.
The president has not been
among them and has not accep-
ted an invitation to meet with the
delegation.
On Wednesday April 9 after the
Daily broke thenews that a
technicality in the Regents by-
laws made Mandela ineligible,
Dr. Shapiro instructed a-
secretary to inform us that any
questions we still had would be
answered by his press release the
following day. Also on Wed-
nesday, we learned from a repor-
ter for the Detroit Free Press
that recommendations for
degrees had already been f or-
warded and that Mandela's name
was not among those put forth.
Pressing further for an ex-
planation FSACC members were
told by Vice President Kennedy
in the Office of Government
Relations that no future meetings
of the nominating committee
were scheduled or likely to occur
this semester,
On Thursday, in the aforemen-
tioned press release, the
President essentially offered a
non-statement saying that the

University to inform either
FSACC or the nomination's in-
itiators of the by-law's existence,
Students look to Dr. Shapiro,
administrators and faculty to
provide moral leadership. The
granting of an honorary degree to
Nelson Mandela would make
clear that the University of
Michigan stands in solidarity
with those oppressed by apar-
theid. It would also be en-

Oppose tyranny, honor Mandela.

4

Dear Dr. Shapiro:
I am surprised, disappointed,
and ashamed to learn from the
newspapers that the honorary
degree committee has decided,
on ostensibly procedural groun-
ds, not to offer an honorary
degree to Nelson Mandela. The
ostensible grounds are that a
recipient must be present in Ann
Arbor to receive the degree.
It surprises and disappoints
me, in the first place, to learn of
the committee's decision at this
late date and through the press
Why were those of us who, like
me, wrote to you supporting the
nomination not told at once that
such a nomination was im-
possible for procedural reasons,
if that was indeed the case? And
why have we now learned of it
only through the newspapers?
The long delay in advancing this
In absentia
To the Daily:
Nelson Mandela cannot come
to graduation to speak, so he will
probably not be given an
honorary degree. Regent Thomas
Roach said giving Mandela a
degree "would be an exercise in
futility." But how futile is it to
honor a man whose forced silen-
ce, along with his refusal to
renounce his views for his per-
sonal benefit, speaks louder than
any speech that could be given at
commencement? His silence and
all that it symbolizes speaks so
loudly, yet the regents have not
heard.
One reason offered for not
giving Mandela a degree is that
an honorary degree is not meant
to honor anybody, that it's just a
ritual attached to the graduation
ceremony. This means that all
the people who have spoken and
received honorary degrees were
not really honored, and the whole
idea of honorary degrees is poin-
tless. If this argument is used to
refuse Mandela a degree, the
name should be changed from
"hnrarv" fto "worthless.

argument and the manner in
which it finally became public
create a most unfortunate im-
pression of bad faith.
Even if the committee mem-
bers have acted in good faith,
however, their action shames me
as a member of this community
and ought to shame them as well.
The point of offering Nelson
Mandela an honorary degree is to
tell the world that the University
rejects totalitarianism and
honors those who place life and
liberty at risk to oppose it. Mr.
Mandela is a prisoner today,
unable to travel to Ann Arbor to
receive an honorary degree,
because the regime in South

Africa denies the elementary
rights of human being and citizen
to a majority of its people. Does
the University respect and en-
dorse that denial, and even ac-
cord it standing in our own
deliberations? Shall the Univer-
sity announce to the world that
we dare not declare hostility to
tyranny except within the restric-
tions that tyrants impose? I hope
that you, the committee, and the
regents will think again, and
think hard, before making such a
disgraceful announcement to the
world.
-Barbara J. Fields
Associate Professor
April 14

couraging to those who actively
oppose racism at home as well as
abroad. Finally it would fill an
urgent need given Mandela's
plight and the current climte of
oppression and unrest in South
Africa. Professors, students,
literary and political dignitaries,
MSA, and other who have writ-
ten, petitioned, marched, spoken
before the Regents, met with
administrators and spent cold
nights staffing the shanty on the

Diag' deserve greater respect
than President Shapiro has of-
fered. The Free South Africa
Coordinating Committee deman-
ds that consideration be given to
changing or suspending the by-
law and that the nominating
committee be reconvened before
the end of the term.
-Ron Shore
April 14

4

Politics start at home

To the Daily:
The Michigan Republican Par-
ty's newly-established precinct
delegate system, the first step in
nominating a candidate for the
presidency, will serverely impair
the Party's chances for a state-
wide realignment, particularly
on the local level. The defeat of
incumbent Councilman James
Blow, as well as the narrow vic-
tories for other Republican in-
cumbents, may be due in part to
the shifting attention spans of the
local Republican establishment.
Much energy has been devoted to
lining up precinct delegates for
the August elections and atten-
ding campaign speeches by
presidential hopefuls, rather than
helping local Republican can-
didates win their elections. For

example, this past Saturday Jack
Kemp spoke on campus. Yet,
local candidates who were busy
campaigning that day could have
used the support of students at-
tending the speech. Unfor-
tunately, presidential politics can
be much more glamourous than a
city council election. Even the
gubernatorial primary has been
subordinate to the presidential
maneuvering in the state. The
state Republican Party continues
to sing of grand days in the future
while ignoring the reality that
true realignment can only begin
on the local level.
-Seth B. Klukoff
Editor-in-Chief
The Michigan Review
April 8

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