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March 09, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-09

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, March 9, 1988

The Michigan Daily

1 t itigan tlu
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII No. 106 420 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.

A

voice from El

S .

Africa needs change

T HESOUTH AFRICAN government
recently moved to effectively dis-
mantle that nation's anti-apartheid
coalition by banning all activities of
17 anti-apartheid organizations. The
new, more extensive crackdown is
the government's most recent at-
tempt to ensure that legally man-
dated discrimination will continue to
be the national policy.
The government has now prohib-
ited such divergent organizations as
the mostly Black Azanian Peoples
Organization (APO), the multiracial
United Democratic Front (UDF) -
the largest of all anti-apartheid
organizations - and the South
African National Students'
Congress "from carrying on or per-
forming any activities or acts what-
soever." An additional order forbids
the nation's largest trade union fed-
eration, the Congress of South
African Trade Unions, from carry-
ing on any activities of a political
nature.
These organizations were estab-
lished to help abolish the bestial
system of apartheid. Thus the gov-
ernment's ban clearly belies South
Africa's self-description as an ad-
herent to western, democratic val-
ues. Democracies allow their citi-
zens the right to dissent, but South
Africa demonstrates that no group
or individuals seeking to reform its
system of rigid, racial subjugation
will be tolerated.
Last week, Archbishop Desmond
'Iltu (1984 Nobel laureate) and Dr.
Allan Boesak (president of the
World Alliance of Reformed
Churches), two internationally
prominent religious leaders, were
arrested with other members of the
clergy while attempting to deliver
anti-government petitions to the
racially segregated parliament. This
is just the latest case of a circum-
vention and disregard of freedom of
assembly and protest.
Rather than crushing legitimate
political opposition, the South
African government should attempt
to negotiate and reform, and thus
avert the continuing bloodbath
caused by their intransigent poli-
cies. A beginning would be the re-

lease of political prisoners, espe-
cially Nelson Mandela, the sym-
bolic leader of the African National
Congress (ANC).
The government should also ter-
minate efforts to dominate and
destabilize neighboring Black
African states, end its support of the
RENAMO and UNITA insurgen-
cies, and withdraw its troops from
Namibia and Angola. The South
African government is not only a
repressive force domestically but
also regionally.
For the vast majority of South
African citizens, their government is
simply a police state - complete
with official news censorship, de-
tentions, systematic state-sponsored
repression of political opposition,
and unexplained deaths of political
prisoners in police "custody."
How can peaceful change come to
South Africa when the very move-
ment which seeks this outcome is
banned from all activity?
The United States must help fa-
cilitate a peaceful change to true
democracy. Positive U.S. actions
need to include recognizing and
supporting the African National
Congress, diplomatically and fi-
nancially.
Furthermore, the U.S. must take
a more active role in encouraging a
substantive improvement in South
Africa. A complete U.S. economic
boycott of South Africa would also
(1) demonstrate that the United
States does not seek to prosper
from the slave-like system of
apartheid, and (2) signal to Pretoria
that it stands to lose significant eco-
nomic benefits by maintaining
apartheid. Thus far the United
States has been reluctant to convey
either of these messages even in
more tacit forms.
The already atrocious situation in
South Africa is worsening by the
day. Any reluctance to support
initiatives for change in South
Africa must be deemed as tacit ap-
proval of the established regime. It
is time for Washington to exert its
considerable influence towards
reaching a transition to democracy
in that country.

The following is an interview with Eliseo
Ascencio, secretary of political affairs for
AGEUS, the student government of the
University of El Salvador in Santa Anna.
The interview was conducted by opinion
page staffer Brian DeBroux and translated
by Julie Laser.
D: What is the history of AGEUS?
A: AGEUS was started in 1927 by three
revolutionaries, Farabundo Marti, a legal
student at the time like I am now, as well
as Luna and Zapata. It was a progressive
organization for that time. They were
confronted by many problems, the same
problems we have today. AGEUS is the
General Association of Salvadoran
University Students made up of conscien-
tious people in the different departments of
the university. The student government is
run by nine people including secretaries of
information, organization, academic af-
fairs, a president, vice-president, and a
secretary of political affairs. I am the sec-
retary of political affairs.
Q: What kinds of political activities is
AGEUS involved with?
A: Our political activities are very com-
prehensive. For example, we are fighting
for the self-determination of our people,
for the sovereignty of our nation, and for
an end to the war. We work in harmony
with the university administration. This is
*a historical development. In the past the
students struggled against the administra-
tion because the administration used to be
in the hands of the dominant class of the
oligarchy, the bourgeoisie, and the multi-
national corporations. Now it is very dif-

ferent. For example, I am from AGEUS
and I am with the rector [president] of the
university. We have the same ideology and
we are fighting in the same struggle with
the people of El Salvador. When people
visit us from the United States everyone
tells us how they are fighting against the
administration. One of the first things
people ask us is what class the
administration comes from and what is
their ideology.
Q: What kind of resistance are you getting
from the government and the military for
your activities?
A: The history of the University of El
Salvador is a history of repression. We
have always faced repression at the
university. Farabundo Marti was assassi-
nated by Colonel Maximiliano Hernandez
Martinez in 1931. The same happened to
Zapata and Luna. They were the founders
of AGEUS. In the same way, today uni-
versity students are captured, tortured, per-
secuted, assassinated and disappeared.
Since 1980, 400 students have been
disappeared and more than 300 students
have been assassinated. In addition 400
students have been captured and are held in
clandestine prisons. This is only part of
the policy of repression against the uni-
versity because the students identify with
the poor people of El Salvador and fight
against the government to meet the needs
of the people. But this is minimal com-
pared to the total repression against the
university.
The government of Maximiliano
Hernandez Martinez killed more than
30,000 people in the 1930s including
students, workers, and peasants. And now,

)alvador
Duarte's government has killed between
64,000 and 70,000 people. The repression
of Duarte's government is the same as in
the past. Now there are more than 1 mil-
lion displaced people, more than 7000
disappeared, and more than 1 million peo-
ple have emigrated because they either.
don't have employment or are fleeing the
death squads. Since 1932, more than
150,000 people have been killed. The
struggle now is the most together and
combative that it's ever been.
The platform of AGEUS contains the
following demands. We demand that the
U.S. government stay out of our internal
affairs. We demand that Duarte resign. We
demand a government of broad and open
participation. We demand respect for hu-
man rights. We demand no intervention.
We demand an end to the war, and a solu-
tion to the national crisis. These are also
the demands of the Salvadoran people as
well as the church and the human rights
organizations. This is the reason AGEUS
is fighting to achieve these demands.
D: Are you putting yourself in particular
danger by coming here and speaking out
like this?
A: It's true it is a risk, but it is only one
part of the struggle. It is important that
the American people understand and be-
come conscious of what's going on in El
Salvador because they can put pressure on
their government and Ronald Reagan.
Reagan's policies are of intervention,
militarism, and death for the countries of
Central America, especially El Salvador.
For us, if this represents a risk, it doesn't
matter. It's not important.

LETTERS:

Homophobic myths perpetuated

To the Daily:
An open letter to President
Fleming:
I congratulate you on the
award you received from the
American Civil Liberties
Union in 1970. However, I
would like to amend an item or
two in your letter (Daily,
1/25/88) to make it more
realistic.
First, to reflect the truth of
the University position, your
inaugural address should pro-
ise "a climate in which
controversy can flourish, and
can do so in an atmosphere of
dignity and respect for others
(unless they are homosexu-
als)."
Second, the article should
read that at the University of
Michigan there exists a

"genuine openness, the will-
ingness to listen, to debate, to
present one's argument in open
forum and hear those of others
(unless, of course, they are
homosexuals)."
The list of necessary
amendments could go on, but
the point is made. At the Uni-
versity of Michigan, an
"atmosphere of dignity and re-
spect" does not exist for
homosexuals. The University
regents decided unanimously
that homosexuality should not
be included in the non-discrim-
inatory logo. This makes me
probably the only minority
(non-person?) that can be
legitimately discriminated
against: discriminated against
in employment, in the class-
room, and in public. This, of

Men against rape

course, disregards the harass-
ment and violence against ho-
mosexuals which goes so un-
challenged so as to seem legal.
Has Affirmative Action ever
investigated claims of harass-
ment against lesbians and gay
males? Needless to say, I am
not included in the Affirmative
Action logo either.
I apologize, President
Fleming, for directing this at-
tack against you. But you, as
well as the Regents, have never
really demonstrated "the will-
ingness to listen." The few
meetings concerning homo-
sexual issues that have taken
place were obviously un-
successful because the ad-
ministration involved in those
meetings continue to hold very
ignorant opinions about my
lifestyle. These uneducated
views are ones that most first-
year students cast out after an
introductory course of psy-
chology.
First, my lifestyle cannot be
equated with the actions of a
pedophile or an incestuous
relationship as Regent Baker
suggested. A relationship be-
tween two consenting adults is
quite different from the sexual
molestation of a child.
Secondly, to contradict Re-
gent Roach's suggestion, it is
unjust to discriminate against
lesbians and gay men in camp
counseling positions. After
two great years of camp coun-
seling experience, I can hon-
estly declare that I have no
affinity to small children.
However, many of my hetero-
sexual co-counselors were dis-
missed for their sexual indis-
cretion with campers. Just for

the'record, I would like to refer
to an actual study which
concluded that "the adult het-
erosexual male constitutes a
greater risk to the underage
child than does the adult
homosexual male." (A.N.
Groth, 1978, Archives of Sex-
ual Behavior)
Finally, if you and other
administrators are truly inter-
ested in addressing the in-
stances of sexual activity in
public buildings and not con-
tinuing the history of gay ha-
rassment, I have a few sugges-
tions. If the administration is
honestly interested in putting
an end to sexual activity in
public buildings, I recommend
that the heterosexual "hot-
spots" be monitored. Spots
such as the graduate library
stacksaand various classrooms
are the places to begin. Also, if
an environment of "respect and
dignity" were to be created on
this campus, the need for ho-
mosexuals to "closet" their
lifestyle and, therefore, to meet
in bathrooms for anonymous
sex, would not be as strong.
I could continue to argue
these points, but I am sure you
get my message. I want you to
promote civil liberties to
demonstrate your worthiness of
this ACLU award. It is impor-
tant that I be treated as as equal
- to be included in the non-
discriminatory logos of the
University and to have those
statements enforced. If this
were to happen, there would be
no need for me to fear public
acknowledgement of my life-
style. If this were to happen, I
could sign this letter to you.
But until then ...
-Anonymous

Unconventional wisdom

AT LAST WEEK'S NORTH Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) sum-
mit meeting in Brussels, the West-
ern allies agreed to negotiate reduc-
tions in the Warsaw Pact's
"quantatively superior" convention-
al forces. President Reagan de-
scribed the plan as the "next prior-
ity" for the United States in arms
control.
While cutting conventional arms
on the European continent is worth
pursuing, it should not take prece-
dence over the continuation of nu-
Clear disarmament.
Many politicians complain that
Europe cannot be further denucle-
arized unless the disparity of con-
yentional forces between the War-
saw Pact and NATO is reduced.
They believe if the disparity is not.
reduced, Western Europe would be
vulnerable to attack by a conven-
tional invasion.
fThe proponents of a NATO con-
ventional buildup or negotiating
cuts in Eastern Bloc conventional
weaponry are buttressed by numer-
ical statistics. Yet these numerical
advantages are irrelevant.

successful invasion of Western Eu-
rope. It is estimated that for either
side to launch a conventional inva-
sion, it would need a 3-to-1 or even
4-to-1 advantage in conventional
power, much greater than the 3-to-2
advantage that it presently holds.
According to the International In-
stitute for Strategic Studies: "The
conventional military balance is still
such as to make general military
aggression a highly risky under-
taking for either side.... There
would still appear to be insufficient
overall strength on either side to
guarantee victory. The consequen-
ces for an attacker would still 'be
quite unpredictable and the risks
remain incalculable."
So even if the Warsaw Pact has a
conventional lead on NATO, it has
a long way to go before it is able to
launch a successful invasion of
Western Europe.
The numerical conventional "im-
balance" just does not matter. It is
hard to imagine either side attacking
without leading to the possibility of
a nuclear escalation. Perhaps the
numbers are exploited for the

To the Daily:
Men rape. Men can stop
rape. Men must stop rape. We
feel that it is time for men to
stop proving masculinity
through violence and create a
culture that doesn't inhibit de-
velopment of empowerment
and communication in all peo-
ple. Men must start accepting
responsibility for changing the
patriarchal culture we are apart
of and acknowledge the change
we must make within our-
selves to promote a culture of
equality and respect for all
people. A culture which em-
braces the values of personal
communication and empower-
ment can exist when men be-
come aware of the patterns
which perpetuate stereotypes
and rape culture.
Earlier this week, a judge
threw a sexual assault case out
of court without even allowing
a jury trial. The judge, a man,
listened to the victim's testi-
mony and then used his posi-
tion of power to declare that
there were no grounds for a
trial, thus, denying the woman
a right to prosecute her alleged
assailant with a jury of peers to
judge what was, or wasn't,
grounds for conviction. This
case is yet another example of

men trying to interact in a
noncompetitive way to initiate
a shift from a male-dominated
patriarchal society which is
conscious of the feelings be-
tween people and can express
those feelings with consistent
actions and behaviors. We meet
every Wednesday at 7:30 at
1402 Hill St. Our current plans
include writing a radical men's
journal and generating ideas for
a men's event to coincide with
the "Take Back the Night
March." We welcome all men
who are interested in changing
our community.
-David Collins
-Kurt Hulander
-Blane McClane
-Mark Weinstein
February 9

February 18

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