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October 31, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-31

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OPINION

Page 4

Monday, October 31, 1988

The Michigan Daily

b ' £idb4gan Vzd1 j
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Reason fails protestors

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. M! 48109

Vol. IC, No.38

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the D.aily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed article.s, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
In praise of witches .

A GROUP OF PARENTS, members
of. the Word of God religious
community, have asked the Ann Arbor
Public Schools to eliminate witch
costumes and other Halloween
Activities from elementary school
classrooms. In other communities,
Parent groups are trying to remove
"Casper the Friendly Ghost" and
"Esmeralda the Good Witch". They
don't want their children exposed to
What they see as a celebration of the
occult and the evil power of witches.
Although their position is extreme, it.
pales in comparison to that taken by
their predecessors in the Catholic
Church of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Church was responsible for taking
the lives of millions of women
condemned to burn as witches, a
massacre which has yet to make it into
our history books. Unchallenged, this
anti-woman attitude has continued into
the present, as illustrated by these
groups' efforts.
The popular image of the witch now
is the haggard, ugly old woman casting
spells and brewing pdtions. Witchcraft
is seen as pure superstition. This. image
is a tremendous distortion which has
led to an almost complete ignorance of
the meaning of these women's deaths.
(Of those killed in the witch burnings,
one in a hundred were men.)
The word witch, comes from Wicca,
an ancient goddess religion in Europe.
The women who were killed as witches
were generally. peasants - either
Wiccans or others the Church wished
" to suppress, among them midwives,
healers and lesbians. These women
were convicted of witchcraft by the
Church, whose evidence included trials
by- drowning - if she drowns she's
innocent, if not she's a witch - and
confessions' after weeks of gruesome
toiture.
this holocaust against women
happened at a time of sudden change in

a society which had been very stable
for hundreds of years. In the turmoil,
the Church and others were fighting to
maintain and consolidate their power.
The . Judeo-Christian religions had
already been identifying goddess
worship with devil worship for.
centuries (the goddess' consort was a
horned god of the hunt, who became
the model for the Christian devil), and
it was an easy step to begin burning
those considered heretics.
The midwives and traditional women
healers were accused by the new male
medical profession of achieving their
results by witchcraft. Actually, the.
traditional means of healing, now'
considered "old wive's tales," were
often more scientific than the doctor's
methods. Generations of observation
of results had given women healers a
wealth of information.
In fact, many of their herbs are the
basis of medicines in use today in
modern medicine. The doctors, on the
other hand, were trained in the classics,
with no laboratory experience at all. By
blaming the healers' superior results on
witchcraft, the doctors neatly removed
their competition: midwives and healers
were a special target of the witch
burnings.
All the religions which worshipped
the goddess also honored nature.
(Halloween was one of the eight
festivals of the changing seasons.)
The image of witches has been
greatly maligned through the centuries.
Real witches were women and men
who worshipped the goddess, in a
religion which honored the natural
world. Other women accused of
witchcraft were healers, midwives, and
women who just didn't fit in the
patriarchal order set out by the church
and medieval society. Tonight we
should remember them, honoring their
courage, and mourning the loss of so
many lives.

By Brian Burt
The letters in the Daily on October 24
that criticized the actions of the
inauguration protestors disturbed me. .
Jeff Ritter accuses the protestors of
whiny, spoiled behavior - an a d
hominem and question begging argument
that fails to define or justify a standard of
"mature" behavior at protests. Such
arguments do little more. than trivialize
important issues.
Similarly, Mark Knoll derides MSA
president Mike Phillips for his impolite
display of dissatisfaction with Duderstadt.
on e
~ U
~Of course, Phillips and the protestors were
impolite. A protest is inherently impolite.,
Protestors believe they. have, impolitely,
been excluded from decisions that directly
affect them and have exhausted polite
methods of change. Since when is
impoliteness against the law? And yet four
students are facing criminal charges.
If you think that polite, reasoned
arguments affect University policymakers,
you need only talk to the two MSA
representatives who attempted, politely, to
talk to Public Safety director Leo Heatley
about campus security's actions at the
inauguration protest. They'll tell you that
not only did Heatley impolitely refuse to
discuss the matter, but that he impolitely
threatened to arrest them for trespassing if
Brian Burt is a PhD. candidate and TA
in the Department of English.

. they persisted in asking questions. This
incident is indicative of what happens here
when you try to proceed politely through
"proper" channels. If "polite" methods
changed anything, then "impolite" protest
would be unnecessary.
Sadly, Ritter and Ten Ashe (in another
letter) play a particularly cruel- game of
Blame the Victim. They unfairly and
mistakenly only question the actions of
the protestors. But what about the
protest's wider historical context? Why
draw the boundaries of the debate so
narrowly by focusing only on protestors at
one protest?
Did the protestors deputize campus.
security guards while completely ignoring
student input? Did the protestors choose a
gung-ho laser weapons researcher as the
University's president? Did the protestors
implement a protest code despite student
objections?
And at-the protest, did the protestors
have guns, handcuffs, and billy-clubs at
the ready? Were the protestors rubbing
Heatley's or Duderstadt's face into the
pavement, as the officers at the protest did
to Rollie Hudson? Did the protestors flip
any officers on their heads?
Ashe should think hard about this last
question. She describes an Ann Arbor
police officer's assault on Sandra
Steingrabera s follows: "I saw no
brutality. I watched from a high-up ledge
and saw Sandra Steingraber go down. This
was going too far and now someone went
and got herself hurt." Ashe has completely
severed cause from effect here, has erased
human agency -- and thus responsibility --
for the violence perpetrated against
Steingraber.
Perhaps Ashe's "high-up ledge" was so
high up that clouds fogged her vision
completely, and she could not see an Ann

Arbor police officer twice Steingraber's
size flip Steingraber on her head. Had
Ashe been at Kent State after the Ohio
National Guard gunned down four anti-
Vietnam War protestors, would she have
argued that the protestors deserved to die
since they went to a disruptive protest and
put themselves in a position where they
might possibly get in the way of National
Guard bullets?
And if University security forces were
not seeking confrontation and were merely
trying to keep uninvited people out of
Hill, why did they decide to array 20-30
security guards and armed police officers
outside the Auditorium rather than just
inside the doors?- Wasn't this a strategy
designed to intimidate protestors and incite
police violence?
- I saw protestors, arms at their sides,
attempt to enter a public building. I saw
officers respond by throwing people down
the steps of Hill. I saw people standing
around an unmarked car containing police
and an arrested protestor. I saw officers,
with no warning whatsoever, wade into
this crowd and begin shoving people,
some to the ground.
At this point, not once did I hear any
officer warn the protestors that they were
breaking the law. Not once did I hear any
officer threaten to arrest protestors if they
did not move.
If the protestors were breaking a law by
standing around an unmarked car, why
didn't the police arrest them? Why did the
police choose to toss people aside instead?
Why would the administration have
chosen a deliberately confrontational path
that led inevitably to arrests, police
intimidation, and brutality? I challenge.
Duderstadt or his hired gun, Heatley, to
.justify their actions in a letter to the
Daily.

4

Don't hesitate to report rape,!

By Carrie Bree

On October 26 therd was a comnmunity
meeting concerning the recent reports of
- sexual assault in the Ann Arbor area. The
meeting was organized by the Sexual As-
sault Prevention and Awareness Center,
and was attended by representatives from
SAPAC, the Department of Public Safety,
and the Ann Arbor Police. The purpose of
the meeting was to address questions and
concerns regarding security both on and off
campus, information about the recent as-
saults, and what the University and police
are doing about it.
Officer Jerry Wright of the Ann Arbor
police confirmed that there have been three
reported sexual assaults in this area since.
September 22. They suspect that it may
be the same assailant, but are unsure.
They have increased the number of patrols
in those and nearby areas in response. to
this, as well as given higher priority to'
calls concerning prowlers or suspicious
persons. Dialing 911 (off-campus phones)
is not strictly for emergencies. It will
connect you with the Ann Arbor police,
who then prioritize calls depending on the
urgency of the situation. Do not hesitate
Carrie Bree is a student volunteer for
SAPAC.

to call if you feel at all threatened: The
police also provide security surveys, in
which they will come out and inspect the
security around your home, apartment,
etc., and notify your landlord if the secu-
rity around your home.is-not satisfactory.
This service is free, and anyone interested
should call 994-2979.
If you live in a dorm, dialing 911 will
'connect you vith the Department of Pub-
lic Safety. They will respond to all calls
from campus, including the calls from the
emergency phones. If you need assistance
and are near an emergency phone, all you
need to do is pick it up, and the DPS will
dispatch someone to the location. Other
services include the Nite Owl bus service
which runs from the Undergraduate Library
to locations covering much of the area
(maps are available); Safewalk, a walking
service which will escort you between any
two locations within 20 minutes walking
of campus (# 936-1000). The DPS also
provides escorts to and from locations on
campus, but primarily in emergency
situations. All of the services mentioned
above are free.
In order to keep things in perspective, it
is important to remember that 90 percent
of all rapes occurring on college campuses
are acquaintance rapes. This means that
the chance of being assaulted by someone

you know is greater than the chance of
being assaulted on a dark street by a
stranger. This does not mean that the dan-
ger does not exiSt, and that fears are not
valid. Take precautions! Use the services
provided by the university and the com-
munity. Be aware of your surroundings,
and trust your instincts. If you feel threat-
ened, act on it. Don't be afraid to draw at-
tention to yourself.
The question of whether there are more
rapes occurring now than there have been
in the past is difficult to answer because
rape is the most underreported of all
crimes. It is probable that the number be-
ing reported has increased, but that the
number of actual rapes occurring in the
area this year is close to the numbers from
other years. The important' thing is that
more people are aware of the situation, and
that more people want to do something to
change it. If you have any questions or
concerns, or want more information, the
SAPAC office located at 3100 Michigan
Union, (763-5865). There is also a 24-
hour crisis line available for information,
reference, and questions, as well as crises.
It is the responsibility of the Daily to
report on information that is crucial to the
University community. The next time a
meeting is held providing this informa-
tion, the Daily should attend.

1

E

- .9

(T
i::

Letters to the editor

:<;

:::..... ....... _ ..... _ ... ... w _.._.. ... ...... .... ...._.....

Mexico's debt relief:.
Welfare for big banks.

AN ITEM THAT PASSED without
much nctice was the recent decision of
the Reagan administration to extend
Mexico approximately $3.5 billion in
debt relief. This was not however a
case of Reagan doing the unthinkable
(aiding the people of an impoverished
nation). Rather it was Reaganism at its
best (using taxpayers' dollars to fuither
the rich in their difficult quest to get
richer.)
At $100 billion in the hole, Mexico is
currently up to its neck in debt. An
astonishing three-fourths of Mexico's
export earnings must be paid out on the
interest alone. Mexico is now a capital
exporter, a financial absurdity which
has imposed incredible hardships on
the Mexican people. Living standards
for peasants and workers have declined

comes in. Reagan recognizes that
Mexico's ruling party (the PRI) is
being put in an untenable position. In
order to help it -through these difficult
times, Reagan is giving 3.5 billion in
debt relief to help meet this year's
interest payments. This should allow
the PRI to get through its current
political crisis without giving in to
pressure to default on the debt.
Virtually every government in Latin
America is in almost exactly the same
situation. Third World debt now is well
in excess of one trillion dollars, and
very few nations have any real hope of
being able to pay off this debt. If a
major debtor such as Mexico were to
default, there would be a tremendous
danger-of nations throughout the Third*
World refusing to pay back loans.
What mnaln h+Ain n.. rnm t.ho k

Protest Feds
on campus
To the Daily:
Julie Stein's insightful
comments ("New Pres Panders
to Right Wing," Daily,
10/24/88) present the need for
the student body to act quickly
to counter President
Duderstadt's callous action of
inviting the ultra-white, ultra-
right Federalist Society to host
their national convention at the
law school next semester. .
With diversity a critical goal,
how can we as students sit idly
by while Duderstadt's Federal-
ists attempt to feed us their
cornucopia of hatred, racism,
sexism and bigotry? It is no
secret that the Federalist Soci-
ety, under the mask of the
"Framers' Intent," supports a
variety of racist and sexist
vie,- The thnnaht of Mr

blind to his hypocrisy? If it is
true that Duderstadt is kissing
up to the far right now that it
appears Dukakis will lose, he
has no right to use our univer-
sity to further his racist and
sexist aims.
I call on UCAR, the MSA,
and all others who are dedicated
to fulfilling diversity here at
Michigan to protest Duder-
stadt's offices and demand that
he not let the Federalists on
our campus. We have enough
problems, President Duderstadt;
furthering your goal of
increasing the ultra-white, ul-
tra-right wing constituency on
campus has no place in aca-
demics.
-Mike Cohen
October 24
Israel's
policies.
A o nv .. a,,_ 4-

disturbed by what seems to be
a case of moral degeneration on
the part of Israeli leadership.
Last week, eight Israeli soldiers
were killed by a car-bomb.
This was indeed an act of cru-
elty and barbarism. I sincerely
believe that the individuals re-
sponsible for this should be
captured and brought to a fair
trial. Unfortunately the Likud-
dominated Israeli government
is of a different opinion. They
have responded with a series.of
four air-raids in which dozens
of Palestinians were killed and
many others were left home-
less. To call this an overreac-
tion would be to make an ex-
treme understatement.
Present Israeli policy . is
morally wrong: In order to
succeed in this policy, Israel
would have to at least .come
close to utterly annihilating the
Palestinian population.. At a
minimum, Israel would have to
crush the Palestinian cu1ture.

On the other hand, if Israel
does not go to such extremes,
the policy is doomed to failure
as it will only intensify Pales-
tinian nationalism. In this
case, Israel is killing
Palestinians for the sake of ex-
pressing their military
machismo. Both of these alter-
natives are unacceptable.
Let me repeat that I am not
opposed to the existence of Is-
rael. It is indeed wrong for a
people to be denied from hav-
ing a homeland. The point to
remember is that it is still
wrong if the people lacking a
homeland are Palestinian. Israel
should take the moral high-
ground of aggressively pursu-
ing peace. Instead, Israeli lead-
ers have chosen a policy that
can only lead to more senseless
killing of innocent people by
both sides.
-Gary Sutnick
October 27

4

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