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January 22, 1988 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-22

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OPINION

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol XCVIII, No. 78 420 Maynard St.
Vol. 0.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.

Friday, January 22, 1988

The Michigan Daily

LETTERS

4

Readers discuss MLK protest

No Contra aid

PRESIDENT REAGAN'S National
Security Advisor has threatened that
future U.S. economic aid to Central
American countries will be contin-
gent upon their public denunciation
of the Sandinista government. This
strong-arm tactic surfaced one day
before a crucial meeting of five
Central American leaders to evaluate
the success of the Arias peace plan
upon its five-month evaluation.,
The administration's blatant at-
tempt to thwart the plan appeared
successful when the presidents of
Honduras and El Salvador stalled
the meeting with hostile allegations
against Nicaragua. They primarily
complained that the Sandinistas had
not lifted the state of emergency or
allowed more political freedoms,
two requirements of the plan, in
spite of the re-opening of La
Prensa. No mention was made of
Honduras' continued support of the
Contras, also a clear violation of the
accord.
Ortega made significant conces-
sions on Saturday by agreeing to
direct talks with the Contras, sus-
pending the state of emergency, and
offering to free 3,300 "political
prisoners"(r'Many of these are former
members of the National Guard
convicted for acts of violence and
repression" under Somoza) as long
a,they leave the country. Ortega
a so agreed, under pressure from
-thy other presidents and the United
States, to the dismissal of the inde-
.;pdndent verification commission.
This was a drastic concession, since
this commission would have been

the only means to ascertain whether
Honduras was continuing to allow
its territory to be used as base for
incursions by the Contras.
Elliot Abrams, the Assistant Sec-
retary of State for Inter-American
Affairs, claims that the Sandinistas
cannot be trusted, in spite of the fact
that they have done more to comply
with the peace accord than any of
their neighbors. The United States
plans to continue to violate the
Arias plan by aiding the Contras.
Fortunately, even within the
government, Abrams is not consid-
ered a credible witness. Members of
Congress have been walking out on
his testimony since he was caught
lying under oath during the Iran-
Contra investigations.
The Reagan administration sim-
ply cannot accept the fact that peace
may descend on Nicaragua while
the Sandinistas are still in power.
Ortega's concessions at Saturday's
meeting and the agreement to nego-
tiate with the Contras demonstrate
his willingness to find peaceful so-
o)r even if it hurts him politi-
cally.
When Cong -ess is besieged by
the administration's publicity cam-
paign in the next two weeks, it
should keep in mind who is rigidly
demanding violent actions and who
is accepting alternatives. They
should ignore the Reagan adminis-
tration's hawkish rhetoric and focus
on the facts of the past week.
Congress must say on behalf of the
large majority of Americans, "NO
CONTRA AID."

A

010

People had to think
To the Daily:
Based on comments pub-
lished in the Daily and the Ann
Arbor News, there seems to be
some misconceptions regarding
the United Coalition Against
Racism activities on January
18. First of all, there were
pickets around the Angell hall
complex to encourage students
to make the small sacrifice of
observing the national holiday
by not attending regular classes
and participating in alternative
educational events in the
Union. The goal was to urge
students to confront and deal
with the issue of racism more
directly. The goal was not to
physically enforce a boycott -
which would have been
logistically impossible any-
way. Any student who wanted
to attend class Avas able to do
so. But no student went to
class, at least in that complex,
without thinking about one
political choice they were
making and what day it was.
Finally, while UCAR mem-
bers organized the pickets,
many non-UCAR members
also participated. It was our
intent to have a peaceful, but
spirited protest, not to intimi-
date other students, but rather
to inform and challenge them
to think about the issue of
racism. We do not take the
position that everyone who
went to class is "a racist" and
we regret if that message was
sent out by a few individuals.
Overall, however that was not
the imssage. The message was,
in the bo,,t spirt of the Civil
Rights Movement - take a
stand, not when it is easy but
when it is hard. If Martin
Luther King Day is going to
be a national holiday, let's ob-
serve it fully, not just with our
words, but with our actions.
As Dr. King once wrote in
his famous Letter f n a
Birmingham Jail defending his
unpopular participation in civil
disobedience agains segrega-
tion: "Perhaps it is easy for
those who have never felt the
stinging darts of segregation to
say 'wait'...[but] the shape of
the world will not permit us
the luxury of gradualism and
procrastination."
-Michael Wilson
Tracye Matthews
UCAR
January 21
No religious excuse
To The Daily:
It does not seem right to
cancel classes at a state run
university for a religious
leader. We do not technically
have days off to commemorate
Jesus Christ. Classes are not
cancelled for the Pope o r
Mother Theresa. The Univer-
sity will not shut down for
Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kip-
pur.
I recognize and admire the
accomplishments of the great
Dr. King but there are many
other ethnic, social, and politi-
cal leaders who deserve to be

commemorated: Mohandas
Gandhi, Malcom X, John
Lennon, Sun Yat-sen, Anwar
Sadat, Menachem Begin, Beate
Klarsfeld, John F. Kenndy,
George Washington, Abraham
Lincoln. The list goes on and
on. Obviously, we cannot ex-
pect to cancel classes to honor
all of them. They, too, made
great contributions to the hu-
man race. Are we supposed to
cancel classes for Dr. King just
because he was black? Or be-
cause UCAR demands it? Why
not for the other leaders, too?
That seems to discriminate
against every other group -
even if they also believe in
Dr. King and his dream. I don't
think that racism can be de-

UCAR apologizes
To the Daily:
As a UCAR representative, I
would like to extend an apol-
ogy to those students who were
called racist while on their way
to alternative MLK events, and
to those who respected the
UCAR blockade by using un-
blocked entrances into Angel
H1-all. Under the pressure of
confrontation, some individuals
made remarks that in no way
represent UCAR positions, or
the spirit of the boycott.
Our purpose was not to at-
tack students, but to present
them with an alternative to
regular classes on MLK Day.
Our purpose was also to show
professors and administrators
our displeasure and disagree-
ment with the lack of moral
leadership in their business as
usual approach to MLK Day.
We also wanted to gauge
support for the boycott. Un-
fortunately, there were people
who physically and verbally
attacked the peaceful protest.
To the people who did this, I
offer no apology if they were
called racists. By actively op-
posing our blockade, these in-
dividuals showed disrespect and
disregard for our cause, which
was specifically to honor Dr.
King, and in general to put
forth an anti-racist agenda. I do
not believe that any one would
rather fight to enter Angel Hall
than use an unblocked entrance.
I believe that those who decided
to fight through the blockade
were consciously fighting our
cause, and not for their right to
enter Angel all. In this case,
no apology is in order.
In the future, UCAR will try
to do a better job of communi-
cating with and understanding
thie University community. I
also hope that the University
community will understand
that the behavior of certain in-
dividuals does not represent our
organization as a whole.
-Michael J. Boraz
United Coalition
Against Racism
January 21
Violent graffiti
To the Daily:
"In the process of gaining
our rightful place we must not
be guilty of wrongful deeds."
Twenty-five years ago, a great
man of peace cried these words
to masses of wronged people,
hoping to educate them in their
a fight for freedomand dignity.
Yet however eagerly these
words, of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. were received, they
seem just as quickly to have
been forgotten. I refer to certain
frightening events on January
18th, the day set aside to honor
Dr. King, which marred the
noble intentions of most in-
volved.
Specifically I refer to (1) the
restriction of several persons
from entering and exiting An-
gell Hall by demonstrators,
thus infringing upon the lat-
ter's rights to pursue an educa-
tion, and (2) the violent graffiti
with the senseless message,
"Fight racism: Kill Steiner".

This behavior hardly emulates
the teachings of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. to "conduct
our struggle on the high plane
of dignity and discipline"
through passive resistance.
-Dawn Dean
January 18
Mockery of King
To the Daily:
"Standing in the school-
house door" is sadly reminis-
cent of the tactics of racial ha-
tred perpetrated by the likes of
George Wallace and Orval
Faubus. It reminds us not of
what Dr. King stood for, but
rather what he fought so tire-
lessly against. It is regrettable

UCAR misled
To the Daily: ,
UCAR had a prime oppor-
tunity to make a tremendous
statement. It also had all the
ingredients for success: a legit-
imate concern that needs to be
dealt with and whose solution
is long overdue (racism); the
people necessary to make
changes (the student body and
faculty members); and a date on
which to act that lends itself
completely to UCAR's cause
(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King's observed birthday).
There is, nevertheless, one
small problem: UCAR's atti-
tude toward protest.
On Monday morning, stu-
dents and faculty were physi-
cally refused the right to enter
and exit the main entrance to
Mason Hall. Granted m y
objection may seem small and
hardly worth mentioning, but
nevertheless a basic human
right has been violated. UCAR
put itself in a position o f
power above its' fellow stu-
dents and faculty members re-
gardless of race. What ever
happened to equality in the
human race?
(The sad thing about such
actions mentioned above is that
no matter how controlled the
protest was in other areas, this
one incident will stick out in
the minds of those who wit-
nessed it. Other incidents will
not be remembered.)
UCAR cannot possibly
hope to gain anything by such
actions. UCAR has displayed
to the campus community
completely opposite to those
which it is fighting for. The
attitudes being, "of course,
those of respect and of equal
human rights. Nothing posi-
tive can possibly stem from
this.
....-Matthew S. Ellis
January 18
Violated civil rights
To the Daily:
UCAR's actions constituted
a blatant violation of other
students' civil rights. Students
who sought to comply with
the university's academic
schedule were denied the right
to freely attend classes to
which they were contractually
entitled.
This infringement of other
students' rights was indefensi-
ble and illegal. The fact that
other entrances were left unob-
structed is beside the point. No
student should be forced to en-
dure such an indignant interfer-
ence with his civil rights.
UCAR's attempt to intimidate
other students offends the prin-
ciples of a just and free society.
Such hooliganism must not be
tolerated.
Particularly offensive was
the photograph printed on page
3 (Daily, 1/19/88). It shows
protestor Eric Williams direct-
ing student Tom Weber to a
side entrance of Angell Hall, as
Williams and other protestors
obstructed the main entrance.
What possible justification can
Williams claim for denying
Weber the right to freely attend

scheduled classes?
UCAR's first amendment
right to protest did not afford it
the prerogative of interfering
with the civil and contractual
rights of other students.
Williams and his cohorts did
no "honor" to the memory of
Reverend King by their ac-
tions. I call on the university
administration to take immedi-
ate and effective disciplinary
action against Mr. Williams.
The university must protect the
rights of all students, regardless
f their rac, as part of its con-
tractual obligation to maintain
an orderly educational envi-
ronment.

Protest contradicts
To the Daily:
At the University of Michi-
gan, UCAR, the United Coali-
tion Against Racism, has as-
sumed the key role in the
needed fight against racism.
They chose, as a symbolic and
educational act, to boycott
classes Monday in
commemoration of Martin
Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. I
chose to attend classes. Many
students who made this same
decision were confronted with a
picket line of UCAR sup-
porters at the doors of Angell,
Mason, and Haven Halls. The
picketers harassed the students
with intimidation tactics and
shouts calling them "racists"
for their decision to attend
classes. I respect the decision
of those who chose to boycott
classes. I do not respect the use
of intimidation and force to
push their views on others.
These tactics contradict the
values of the man whose
birthday they were celebrating.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was
opposedtothe use of violence
to end racism. This policy
made King the legend he is
today. Violence and force do
not end racism--they foster
racism. We will stamp out
racism when we are able to
understand cultures different
from our own, and when we
can all feel compassion for our
fellow human being, regardless
of race, creed, or religion.
Force separates people into
different camps, breeds
misunderstanding, and destroys
compassion. Reason must take
the place of irrational views.
Force breeds irrationality.
-Perry Shorris
January.19
Wrong means
To the Daily:
I was shocked and disap-
pointed to read about the con-
frontation between protestors
boycotting Martin Luther
King, Jr. Day, and students
trying to get, to class. What
disturbed me most about the
protest was an atmosphere of
complete disregard for those
who did not agree with the
protestors about ways to fight
racism. Attending classes
Monday was not proof positive
of racism. Most of the students
to whom I spoke in class sim-
ply felt that cutting class
would not accomplish much in
fighting racism.
But, according to Kim
Smith "if there was a con-
frontation, it was on the part of
people trying to violate the
blockade" - obviously, she
feels that if students are not
with the protestors, they must
be against them i.e. racists. To
those who feel that way, if you
dismiss those who did not
march with you as racists, you
are making as broad and unjus-
tified a judgement as any real
racist makes when s/he judges
someone by the color of their
skin. "Racists use the back
door" - what door did protestors
leave open to non-racist stu-

dents who simply did not agree
with the means?
-Rebecca Goodman
January 19
Blind judgement
To the Daily:
The reason I write this letter
is not to confess mine or oth-
ers' need to learn more about
racism. Rather, I feel some
people and some actions have
gone to far. Monday morning,
as my roommate went to class,
someone called her a racist. Did
that person know her? Do they
know her attitudes? Even other
actions she may, have taken to
commemorate Martin Luther

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