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October 07, 1986 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-07

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

OPINION

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,

Page 4 Tuesday, October 7, 1986 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 24 420 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.
Weak sanctions

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THE SENATE'S vote to override
President Reagan's veto of
economic sanctions on South
Africa makes a neces -
sary-however belated-moral
statement, at home and abroad.
Deeper analysis of these
sanctions, however, reveals their
economic insignificance. Con -
gress, in its rush to appease the
public, disgregarded its op -
portunity to impose effective
sanctions and opted instead for
only hollow measures. South
African export of strategic minerals
and U.S. corporate interests-a
considerable portion of the South
African economy--are allowed to
continue. The danger now, is that
these sanctions will be viewed by
the public as the United State's
fulfillment of all obligation to the
plight of South African blacks - an
assumption which is premature.
Sanctions, having been debated
by Congress and the public, are
considered by some the most
obvious and potent U.S. weapon..
against apartheid, but felt by others
to be harmful to the welfare of
South African blacks. The latter
argument is a desperate attempt by
the administration to disguise its
aversion to economic sacrifice
behind a mask of benevolence.
Appropriately, Congress looked
to the oppressed South Africans,
instead of the administration.
Many black leaders have long
called for stronger U.S. action
against the apartheid government,
making a mockery of the
administration's claim to have been
acting in the interest of South
African blacks.
Congress's decision is a
demonstration of government

working to represent the will of
the U.S. people. A final effort to
uphold the president's veto was
made by South Africa's Foreign
Minister, Pik Botha, who called
Farm Belt Senators-through the
help of Senator Jesse Helms-and
threatened a cut-off of grain
purchases from the United States,
if sanctions were implemented.
This strategy served only to
reinforce the convictions of many
senators that there existed a need to
protect the integrity of the United
States government. Another ar -
gument raised to dissuade
legislators away from a vote for
sanctions, was an appeal to
Congress' "responsibility" to
support the president in matters of
foreign policy.
For students, the government's
action should serve as strong
incentive to. increase pressure on
the University administration. The
legislature's decision to act
decisively was the result of years
of national protest and lobbying
efforts. The struggle for divest -
ment on campus can only end with
determined effort by students and
faculty to sustain pressure on the
administration. The establishment
and rededication of the shanty is
essential to maintain awareness of
apartheid, as are all forms of
protest and education.
It is important to remember that
economic sanctions are only a
weapon; they will not insure the
elimination of apartheid. In this
light, students must view their
protests as significant. Despite the
approval of sanctions, the South
African regime, as well as the
University administration could
continue to turn a deaf ear.

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Expose of absurdity

Allow me to introduce myself: I am
Tim Huet, a new columnist for the Daily.
I picked such a strange
column name because I plan
to have a strange column. I write mostly
political satire. My schtick is finding the
Laugh until
you cry,...
Tim Huet
humor in South Africa, Central America,
famines, Reagan's presidency, and other
disasters. That's no easy task.
Yet, I don't find political disasters and
injustice funny at all. That is why I
write political satire. The object of
political satire is to strip injustice of its
grandoise rationalizations and reveal it at
its most pure-that is, at its most
offensive and absurd. To quote Byron, "If
I laugh at any mortal thing, it is so that
I do not cry."
There are some real difficulties in
writing political satire. The first is that,
sometimes, no matter how hard one
tries, one cannot find humor in the world

situation. The other is that, sometimes,
your object of satire is so ridiculous that
you cannot make it appear more absurd
than it already does.
I have been wrestling with the
latter problem this week. I wanted to
satirize the recent letters to tle Daily
calling for demolition of the anti-
apartheid shanty. Yet, after tremendous
effort, I have come to the conclusion that
those letters were so absurd that I could
do nothing funnier than to quote them.
And, believe me, I tried many ways to
satirize them.
The letters complained that the shanty
was an "eyesore." So I thought I might
write an article suggesting that we tear
down that ugly shanty and build a really
exquisite monument to monumental
stupidity and moral complacency. After
all, the shanty is supposed to be an
eyesore; it's supposed to look like the
ugly shantys that South African blacks
have to live in. What did they expect the
Free South Africa Coordinating
Committee (FSACC) to build-a
beautiful, post-modern, split-level ranch
house?!
Then I decided to write something
about the amazing gall of someone, who
has never made any noticeable
contribution to the campus anti-apartheid

0

at large
movement, complaining that it doesn't
seem to be accomplishing anything. I
was going to suggest that, since this
person had so much anger to direct
against the . shanty-a symbol of
apartheid, maybe he should direct some
anger against apartheid itself. A person''
who has the time and energy to criticize
aesthetically unpleasing architecture
probably has the time and energy to
overcome the political stagnation he',r
bemoans. Yet, that kind of hypocrisy and
gall made me so mad I couldn't sit still,,
much less write.
When I read a charge in one of the
letters that the shanty "is stirring up,
emotions of anger and apathy," I knew I ,
was defeated. If I had written the letter
myself as satire, I couldn't have come up ,,
with something more absurd. The shanty
was responsible for campus apathy?!!!!-
And how can one "stir up the emotion of
apathy?" Last time I looked it up, apathy
meant the lack of emotion. Better yet;
how can one stir up both "anger and,
apathy?" Were half the people made
angry and half the people apathetic?..
Maybe people were angry but didn't care. '
Perhaps people are apathetic and it's really
making them mad. I couldn't participate,,
in a battle of wits with an unarmed
opponent.

Research review

THE GUIDELINES proposed by
the ad-hoc committee appointed by
President Shapiro to govern
classified research at the University
are unacceptable for a number of
reasons, none more compelling
than the omission of independent
committees in the contract review
process.
Under the current guidelines,
research projects which generate
classified information or require the
use of classified information must
be reviewed by the three-person
Classified Review Panel. Two
faculty members and one student
examine each project proposal and
determine if any aspect of the
contract violates the University's
openness and publication
guidelines for classified research.
The panel also determines if the the
project has any application harmful
to human life, in which case it is
forbidden by the guidelines. If a
panel member thinks the guidelines
would be violated by accepting a
contract, the University's Research
Policies Committee must review
the project and make a
recommendation to the Vice
President for Research.
The guidelines proposed last
summer by a special committee
would eliminate the Classified
Review Panel and the review
authority of the Research Policies
Committee. Authority to decide if a
project violates the guidelines
would rest with the faculty member
proposing the research, his or her
unit or department head, and the

their own ambiguities, however,
which make this argument
questionable. One clause of the
proposed guidelines forbids
restrictions on publication beyond
one year of the end of the project's
funding period "under all but
extraordinary circumstances." It is
unreasonable to suggest that
individual researchers are objective
enough aboutdtheir project
proposals to determine what
"extraordinary circumstances" are.
Another proposed rule
empowers a project sponsor to
"include reasonable provisions" in
a contract which allows the
sponsor to review research results
before publication. Again, an
ambiguous term such as
"reasonable" needs to be
interpreted. University researchers
and their sponsors do not enter into
contracts that they believe have
unreasonable provisions, but
neither can they be expected to be
objective about their own work.
The special committee assures us
that "the accessibility of contracts
to public inspection, which our
policy ensures, provides a further
check on possible violations of the
policy." While the policy of
openness is laudable, the public
inspection it boasts of is available
only after the project has been
accepted.
Furthermore, the elimination of
the committees from the review
process also eliminates direct
student input into the interpretation
of research policy. Allowing

LETTERS: x

Separation of Church and

To the Daily:
I believe that the
author of the October 1
editorial, "Re-quiring Respect,"
has some basic misconceptions
about the American
constitution and the legal
rights it provides. Our country
was founded upon, among
other principles, the separation
of church and state. The
University of Michigan is a-
state school; it should be
completely detached from the
religious community, and
certainly should not be obliged
to respect religious holidays.
The faculty is
obligated to respect only the
students' constitutional rights,
not their religious beliefs.
Freedom of religious
expression guarantees that
anyone can worship as he/she
pleases, but there is no surety
that worship will not interfere
with activities outside the
realm of one's religious
beliefs.
Conflict arises when
one must face the effects of

brating Christmas or Easter.
The fact that a similar event
would never have been
scheduled during a sacred
Christian holiday indicates that
our society caters to a
Christian population.
Neither the University
nor any other public institution
should respect any religious
holiday if the separation of
church and state is to be
upheld. Un- fortunately, this is
nearly imposs-ible realistically,
for most insti- tutions in our
country revolve around the
majority, who consider
themselves at least somewhat
Christian. Vast numbers of
people would request time off
at Christ-mas and Easter, even
if it con-flicted with work or
school. This would render most
schools, businesses, and
services dramatic-ally
underpopulated, and would
cause many vital activities to
be temporarily halted. The fact
that most public instututions
recognize Christian holidays is
a defiance of our constitution,

them to purely religious cele -
brations re-stricted from public
institutions. Requiring public
institutions to respect the
holidays of minority religions
is a step towards this same
breech of our constitution. On
a practical level, consider the
effects of mandatory
recognition of every religious
holiday known to man.
I have little sympathy for
the student who finds his
religion conflicting with his
education. At least a student
choosing between religious
expression and fulfilling school
work can consider his/her
priorities before making a de-
cision. Often, students with
health problems, personal
crises, or work have no choice,
and are forced to face
conflicting test times, paper
due dates, and hostility from
the faculty.
I agree completely
with the author's observation
that Christian holidays are

State 1
widely rec-ognized by public
institutions while the holidays
of most relig-ious minority
groups are generally ignored. V
fundamentally oppose tie
author's opinion that the Un:
versity should recognize the.
holidays of non-Christian relig-
ions. The recognition of any
relig-ious holiday obscures the.
boundary between church and
state which was initiated by,
our constitution more than two
centuries ago. No religion,
including Christianity, shotld
be able to affect the pubtii
institutions of our country.
Un-fortunately, the more basic
law of majority rule
undermines our right to live'
free from religious ex-pressiq 4
Recognition of other religious,
holidays would be a repeated
mistake. .
-Toshi Foster
October J$

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