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December 08, 1986 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-12-08

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OPINION
Page 4 Monday, December 8, 1986

The Michigan Daily

0hr fNitC gan aiy
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigon

Siel

AI

Vol. XCVII, No. 66

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.

Fathers know best

To
St '

jc? SHPIN@ N
)i

LAST MONTH, THE NATION'S
Roman Catholic bishops issued a
well-timed and desperately needed
letter pleading to end poverty in the
world. They called for all economic
policy to be formed according to
three criteria: what it doesto the
poor, what it does for the poor,
and how much chance it gives them
to participate in their own future.
Their knowledge, gained by
experience with the suffering, is
channelled into eloquent writing
about the farm crisis, single parent
families, and the Third World.
They recommend state
intervention to help the poor
through specific programs such as
national minimum welfare benefits,
public and private funding for job
training, legislation protecting
small and medium sized farms
from agribusiness, reducing Third
World debts, and perhaps most
importantly, reducing defense
spending. They declared that most
of the military budget is "both
wasteful and dangerous for world
peace."
The main purpose of the letter is
to make American Catholics more
aware of the poverty dillemma in
the United States. It asks them to
turn away from prevailing U.S.
culture "that emphasizes material
display and self-gratification"
toward "bonds of community and
solidarity." A three year program
of sermons, speakers, and
videotapes which will be used in
almost 10,000 Catholic schools
and 20,000 parishes will follow up
the letter.
The Reagan administration and
business groups are threatened by
this letter which decries their
conservative business policies as
morally unjust. White House
Communications Director Patrick
Buchanan criticized the bishops'
economic recommendations. The
Lay Commission on Catholic
Social Teaching and the U.S.

Economy, a consortium of
conservative Catholic
businessmen, responsed that the
bishops should concern themselves
with moral issues and avoid
economic ones. The bishops are
correct in realizing that the
economy is a primary indication
and determinant of a just or injust
society.
The free-market has not worked
to ensure social or economic
justice. Over 33 million Americans
are in poverty, including one out of
every four children. In the past
six years of Reagan's pro-
business, free market policies, 54
percent of U.S. total net financial
assets have been concentrated in
the hands of 2 percent of U.S.
families and the gap between rich
and poor is widening.
One of the proposals the bishops
made was for a more
interdependent U.S. domestic and
foreign policy. The Lay
Commission responded to this by
advising, "in a world in which
poverty is the rule and prosperity
the exception, our bishops would
do well to study the causes of
prosperity." It is unfortunate that
the Commission is using free
market exploitation of the poor to
justify the accumulation of U.S.
wealth. The Contra war and U.S.
support of regimes such as Gen.
Augusto Pinochet's in Chile and
Pieter Botha's in South Africa are
directly tied to U.S. mutinational
corporations' ability to secure the
cheap labor and natural resources
of those countries.
In a political arena where the
arms race is justified in perverted
moral terms and the president
considers cutting welfare for single
mothers and their children to be
"pro-family", the bishops' letter is
a refreshingly realistic look at the
United States unjust poverty'
situation.

LDETROIT
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Letters:
Accusations, half-truths deter peace

'I

To The Daily:
We have read with great
interest the letter to the editor,
"1987: The year of Palestine"
(Daily, 11/20/86), about the
misfortunes of the Palestinian
people, signed by Ms.
Shadroui, Mr. Ghannam and
Mr. El-Haj.
The authors of that letter are
well known to the readers of
the Daily from their previously
published letters and interviews
that attempted to discredit
Israel. This trend has become,
unfortunately, quite fashion-
able in the Daily during the
past several months.
Half truths, as we know, are
more misleading than lies.
The letter written by Shadroui
et. al. is of this nature. The
letter goes to a great effort to
describe the structure and
organizations created by the
PLO. However, the authors
failed to describe the main
activities of the so called
"military for its people's
defense," nai ely, their
initiation, encourag ir nt and
execution of worldwide
terrorism. During the past 18
years, 557 (!) acts of
international terror outside the
state of Israel were carried out
by the PLO. In these acts 498
innocent people were killed and
1,766 were injured-96 percent
of these casualties were non-
Israelis (Israeli Defense Forces,
Terror Abroad: June 1968 -
July 1986).

Another example of
misleading information is the
failure to mention the
historical events that occurred
following the 1947 UN vote to
partition Palestine into two
states. The authors complain
that "after forty years the
Palestinians still lack the
fulfillment of even a portion of
their national rights." The
truth of the matter is that
despite the fact that the
proposed partition was ex-
tremely unfavorable to the
Jewish population, it was
accepted by the leadership of
the Israelis, an acceptance that
meant the establishment of an
Arab Palestinian state besides
the Jewish state of Israel. The
reaction of the Arab League,
however, was a total rejection
of the proposed partition
accompanied by the escalation
of hostilities against the
Jewish population that reached
its peak when seven Arab
states invaded the newly
established state of Israel.
We must also ask why it
is that during 19 years, from
1948 to 1967, when the West
Bank and Gaza Strip were under
Arab administration, no
attempt was made even to
"partially fulfill" the national
aspirations of the Palestinian
inhabitants of those territories.
During this time the
Palestinians were ruled, often
harshly, by Jordan and Egypt
and all Arab efforts were geared

toward the total destruction of
the state of Israel. This goal
remains the essence of the
Palestinian Covenant up to
this day. An e'xample for this
current aspiration could be
found in Ms. Shadroui's
concluding sentence in the
Daily's interview on October
17 - "When Israel falls... we
are going to create a democratic
secular state...."
In contrast, Israel and the
Israeli people have been
engaged in a continuous effort
to find a peaceful solution for
the Arab-Israeli conflict. These
efforts have included endless
calls for direct negotiations
between Israel and any other
party that will be willing to
accept its existence. One
should take into consideration
that throughout the history of
the Arab-Israeli conflict,
progressive Arab leaders such

as King Abbdallah, President
Sadat, PLO representative Isam
Sartwai and lately the Mayor of
Nablus, Mr. El-Massri, were
murdered by their Arab brothers
because of their more moderate
approach toward Israel.
A long lasting settlement
of the conflict that will satisfy
all parties can be reached only
by recognition and direct
negotiations. Accusative dec-
larations and failure to
recognize the existence of the
state of Israel will only
exacerbate tension'and lead to
further suffering for the people
of the Middle East.
-Yossi Harel
-Haim Helfgot
-Noah Stern
-Israeli Student and
Scholar Association
November 23

''4
I

Discouragement equals sexism

Unimpressive

T HE PRESS HAS RECENTLY
awakened from its extended
slumbers - and it seems to have
woken up on the wrong side of the
bed. The press is suddenly
indignant about deals with Iran,
arms sent through foreign
countries, and covert aid to the
Contras. What is most surprising
is that these events are being
reported in the mass media.
The press has been filled with
exposes of covert arms deals as
though these are something new.
Reports that the United States is
funneling arms through Israel and
Saudi Arabia to UNITA in Angola,
rebels in Afghanistan, and the
Contras in Nicaragua are not
"news in the true sense of the
word. The Jerusalem Post recently
reported U.S. officials affirming
that Israel has been assisting the
Contras at Reagan's behest ever
since the 1979 revolution.
Laundering blood money and arms
through third parties has been

been trying to court Iran since
Reagan took office. For
Reaganites, the strategic and
economic interests of allying with
Iran outweigh any considerations
of maintaining a consistent or
moral foreign policy. No one,
including the press, should be
shocked by the administration's
willingness to deal with repressive
regimes.
Quite often what the media
presents as revelation is only
recognition of a long-standing
practice or condition. Suddenly the
drug epidemic is banished to the
inner recesses of the newspaper to
make way for front-page stories
about clandestine arms deals. The
press does not look beyond day to
day events for a greater political
context. Once a story has had its
week in the headlines, it is no
longer newsworthy. For example,
not much has been written lately
about the famine in Ethiopia.
People continue to starve, as they

Bouquets of discrimination

To The Daily:
I am a Japanese woman
who arrived here a few months
ago. I would like to correct Mr.
Feintuch's ("Feminists must
open their minds," Daily,
12/1/86) misconception of the
status of women in Japanese
society.
Inyspite of some recent
gains by women, their position
in society is not equal to that
of men. Very few women have
obtained high positions in
business or professional life,
for a number of reasons.
A woman is still expected
to be a wife and mother above
all else. A mother is expected
to care for her children and not
entrust them. to anyone else.
Unless her salary is needed to
support the family, she will be

more self-confident, talented
and wiser than women.
Therefore, a company would be
held in low esteem if any of its
top executives were women.
Moreover, few Japanese men
would accept a woman boss.
There is a Japanese proverb
that aptly expresses how
women are viewed in business:
"Women are the flowers of
companies." In other words,
men do the important work and
are valued for their brains;
women are purely decorative
and provide comfort; they are
valued for their looks and
charm. Companies like to
employ young, pretty women,
and like fowers, they are
replaced by fresher ones.
Women have a difficult time
a-,,in inhennr th . nr

To The Daily:
I realize there has already
been some articles written in
The Daily that deal with
sexism and more specifically,
rape culture. But I would like
to address another aspect of
sexism that is less visible but
also very important. It
concerns the behavoir of certain
faculty members and
administrators.-
I personally know. several
students who will soon
graduate, who, during their
years at Michigan, have run up
against very blatant sexism
coming from those authorities
who should be here to
encourage, not discourage,
dedicated students. In one
incident a student asked a
professor for help with
difficulties she was having
with some of the course
material. During the course of
the discussion this professor
told the student that she
probably couldn't handle the
material and complicated
theories because she was
female.
She did not complain
because she says he was not
the only professor she could go
to for help. But what if he had
been the only one? What if she
had not received support from
friends, some of whom had
similar experiences? In a

hostile to female ambition that
goes beyond traditional female
occupations, professors can
discriminate against female
students by simply failing to
encourage them, let alone
discourage them.
With the 50 percent divorce
.rate, the rise in single parent
households, and the
feminization of poverty, it
should be very clear that what
the future needs are women
who can hold the better paying,
presently male-dominated
occupations so that they can
support themselves and their
families alone or in times of
crisis. Sexist attitudes coming
from usually respected and
honored authorities in any field
are simply one more obstacle
that erodes self-esteem and
fosters self-doubt.
What can be done?
Supporting those who feel
discouraged is good, but I feel
we must be more direct and
protest by contacting
department heads and making
use of organizations such as
Tell Someone, that are here to
deal with such problems. Let
us also congratulatye those
women who have made it
through despite the added
obstacle of sexism.
-Elizabeth Schuck

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