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September 18, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-18

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41

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, September 18, 1986

The Michigan Daily,

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Edit mgbsanersity
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

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Vol. XCVII, No. 11

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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.

NOi TIAT WE'VE 60T OUR
FrIRST PAYCHECKS WRTHE
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WHAT A~- ESUVoe
To Do W 1T HT~E EXT R\tMOEY-

Ensuring hunger

THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S
refusal of Oxfam America's
application to distribute $41,000
of supplies to Nicaragua is an
example of how hunger is not a
question of food shortage but of
policy decisions and political
situations.
Last May, under the
International Emergency Econ-
omic Powers Act, President
Reagan declared a trade
embargo on Nicaragua. The
embargo allows for the
transport of humanitarian aid
and aid to the Contras, based on
individual evaluation. Since
each case is reviewed
separately, and without a
general requirement, there have
been inconsistencies in the
definition of humanitarian aid.
According to the Geneva
conventions of 1949 and the
Protocols of 1977, humanitarian
aid ( aid to relieve human
suffering ) must be equally
distributed to both sides in a
conflict and then only to those
civilians or combatants who are
sick or wounded. Last April,
the State Department sent a
helicopter to the Contra forces
to carry front line soldiers back
for treatment. The copter was
classified as humanitarian aid.
For the past three years, Oxfam
has collected agricultural books,
tools, and seeds to send to
Nicaragua. The tools being sent
through Oxfam are a part of

Oxfam's philosophy that
sending only food stuffs to
impoverished areas creates a
dependency, whereas supplying
materials can empower people
toward self sufficiency.
The State Department has
declared that Oxfam is sending
supplies to Sandinista groups.
Actually, Oxfam ships supplies
to the Catholic Social Service
Agency and Agricultural Train-
ing School which then
distributes them .
According to World Bank
studies, 35 million people,
mostly children, die of hunger
related illness each year. Last
year in the United States there
were 320 million metric tons of
surplus grain
This summer, the president
passed through $100 million of
aid to the Contras, who target
food silos and producers. As
aid to the Contras increases, so
does hunger in Nicaragua.
If the United States really
believes that democracy and
capitalism is the best system for
other countries as well as this
one, it should not have to starve
people into submission. Rather,
by sending aid and setting an
example, the United States can
provide peoples in other
countries with first hand
knowledge that development
and economic stability is
possible with justice and
equality.

St\VE IT, NVET IT
OR SPND IT ?

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LETTERS:

Vigil to remember Sabra andShatila

Changing schools

THE FIRST DAY of classes for
Ann Arbor school children was
accompanied with more than the
usual excitement. This year, the
Ann Arbor schools opened for the
first time as a desegregated
school system.
The reorganization and de -
segregation plan, approved by the
school board last winter, brought
about the closing of seven
predominately white elementary
schools. As a result, over 2,000
students have been re-distributed
among the remaining 19 schools,
establishing a better racial
balance and more efficient usage
of school facilities.
The implementation of a
desegregation plan in Ann Arbor
is particularly significant, in that
every preceding plan in recent
years has been challenged by
parents, and eventually dis-
mantled. The Ann Arbor Save
the Schools Committee, (SOS), a
group of parents opposing the
approved plan, attempted last
June to recall seven Ann Arbor
school board members who had
voted for the plan. Their efforts,
however, were not sufficiently
supported by the community; the

school board as well as the
reorganization plan remained in
tact. Now, two weeks into the
new school year, parents are
resigning themselves to work
within the system. Their
complaints focus primarily on
issues of organization, such as
the confusing bus routes.
. It is encouraging that the Ann
Arbor school board aspired to do
more than accomodate state
guidelines for minority dis -
tribution of students. The plan
has also provided for minority
representation, on the faculty of
every school, for the first time.
The administration also seeks to
ease the absorbtion of new
students into schools, by creating
"game days," which serve to
unify the student body.
The changes in the Ann Arbor
system are welcome; but come
disturbingly late for such a self-
proclaimed "progressive" com -
munity.
Ann Arbor school children
now have the opportunity for an
equal education. If their parents
will encourage and support the
new system, it should be a
successful one.

To the Daily:
Today the Association of
Arab-American University
Graduates and the November
29th Committee for Palestine
are sponsoring a vigil in
memory of the Sabra and
Shatila Massacre at 12:00 on
the Diag.
Between September 16th and
19th, 1982, approximately
4,000 Palestinians and
Lebanese were slaughtered in
the refugee camps of Sabra
and Shatila in Beirut,
Lebanon. Their killers were
Lebanese militiamen opera-
ting under the control of the
Israeli Defense Forces, who
had invaded Lebanon on June
6th, 1982. The massacres
have often been depicted as
horrible aberrations from
standard Israeli military
practices, or as the isolated
acts of the Lebanese
Phalangists (cf. Menachem
Begin's comment "Gentiles
kill gentiles and they blame
the Jews!"). However, Sabra
and Shatila were the logical
consequences of the Israeli
invasion of Lebanon. When
placed in the context of the
massive destruction caused
by the invasion and the
repeated shellings of Beirut,
Sidon, Tyre, Ain el-Hilweh,
and Mieh Mieh, the
massacres are merely one
more example of the Israeli
government's brutal and
genocidal policies towards
the Palestinian and Lebanese
people.
A few statistics should
illustrate the point. Lebanese
officials estimate the number
dead as a result of the
invasion at approximately
20,000, the number wounded
at 40,000, the number
homeless at 300,000, 100,000
without shelter, and several
hundreds of thousands
destitute. These estimates
date from 1982. They exclude
the people who have been
killed or maimed since then,
as a result of Israeli
bombings and of the
continued occupation or
southern Lebanon
Why did this happen? Not,
as Begin and Sharon would
have it,hbecause "terrorists"
in southern Lebanon were
making actions across the

the Palestinians politically,
socially, and militarily.
They wanted to eradicate the
Palestinian people's aspira-
tions for national self-
determination. This means
that the very existence of a
self-conscious Palestinian is
a threat to the existence of the
state of Israel. In this
scenario, then, there is no
distinction, made between
civilians and fighters.
Therefore, even after the
PLO left Lebanon in August
of 1982, in accord with the
Habib agreements which also
guaranteed the safety of the
Palestinian civilians re-
maining in Lebanon, the
Israelis still felt they had to
clean out the "terrorist nests"
in Sabra and Shatila.
So, on the evening of
September 16th, the Israelis
allowed the Phalangists into
the camps. The Phalangists
had a well-known historical
vendetta against the
Palestinians and were prone

to state'ments such as "the
only good Palestinian is a
dead Palestinian." In the
aftermath of Bashir
Gemayel's assassination on
September 14th, only a fool or
someone planning mass
murder would have allowed
the Phalangists to go into the
camps.
The Israelis had absolute
control of the camps. They
had promised the PLO and the
Lebanese and American
governments to protect the
civilians in the camps. Yet
the Israelis let the
Phalangists in and they
didn't let any civilians out.
They had no proof that
fighters were in the camps.
All they had was the concept
of "terrorist." What is the
effect of labelling Pale-
stinians "terrorists?" It
means that somehow they
become less than human, they
become-to use Menachem
Begin's term-"two-legged
beasts," men, women, and

children alike. Therefore, it
becomes necessary to exter-
minate them. This is how
massacres like Sabra and
Shatila occur. Our argument.
is that Sabra and Shatila is a
logical extension of Zionist
thinking regarding Pale,
stinians.
Under the cover of wary, iths
much easier to stage.a
massacre. But the Israeli
government's policy is
genocidal even in "peace-
time," because it aims to deny
the Palestinians their human
and national rights. Rea]
peace in the Middle East will
only come when the
Palestinians have. their
human and national rights
restored, when both peoples
can live together in a united;
democratic, and secular,
state.
-Steve E. Ghannam
-Hilary Shadroui
September 18

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