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November 23, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-23

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, November 23, 1988

The Michigan Daily

6

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Say 'N'to the Sandinstas

Vol. IC, No.55

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Ml 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.
Moves toward pe aCe

T HE PALESTINIAN National Council,
the official governing body of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, took
a major step towards achieving a
peaceful settlement with Israel last
week. It declared the existence of an
independent Palestinian state and ac-
cepted U.N. resolutions 242 and 338
which implicitly recognize Israel. The
PNC also renounced all forms of ter-
rorism. -
In passing these resolutions, the
PNC made a major concession to the
United States and Israel: these steps
were the U.S. government's precondi-
tions for entering into negotiations with
the PLO.
Thiswasnotan esy tepfor the
PLO towtake.otTen ofasthousands of
Palestinians have ben beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, or kiled by th Idsraeli
government using U.S. aid ndarms.
Neither Israel nor the Unie States
have ever given any indica eti ofa
willingness to recognize th aetn-
ans right to self-determination, with the
United States explicitly opposing it.
For many Palestinians, miaking such
a conciliatory gesture at a time when
there is so little hope of reciprocity
seemed a pointless exercise in sub-
servience - one that would only
weaken the will of the Palestinian pei-
ple.
This was the view of George
Habash, the leader of one of the major
factions of the PLO. To Habash's
credit, and that of others who shared
his view, he agreed to concur with the
PNC's resolutions after stating his rea-

sons for opposition. This opened the
door for Arafat and the PLO leadership
to enter negotiations based on the
PNC 's resolutions.
The responses of Israel and the
United States prove Habash and other
skeptics correct. Israel's foreign minis-
ter, Shimon Peres, mocked the
declaration of an independent state,
pointing out that Israel continued to
control the West Bank and Gaza. Peres
also refused to acknowledge that the
formal acceptance of U.N. resolutions
242 and 338 was at all meaningful.
The U.S. state department was
equally quick to dismiss the PLO's
gesture, adding the bizarre criticism that
the PLO's declaration of a Palestinian
state was a unilateral action and that the
United States is opposed to unilateral
actions, preferring instead negotiated
agreements. This ignores the fact that it
is Israel and the United States who
refuse to negotiate.
If little else comes of the PNC's res-
olutions, they should at least demon-
strate uabigoul that it is the
United States and Israel that pose the
major obstacles to a peaceful settlement
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has
almost universally been recognized for
many years that the PLO represents the
overwhelming majority of the Pales-
tinian people. Although the PLO has
officially recognized Israel, renounced
terrorism, and met the preconditions
imposed by the United States for nego-
tiations, the United States and Israel
still refuse to negotiate with the PLO as
the representadve of the Palestinian
people.

By Manuel Olave and
Josh Shackman
Not surprisingly The Daily goes to an-
other extreme in its role as an apologist
for the ruling Marxist-Leninst Sandinistas
of Nicaragua. Their recent editorial "No
Yankee Aid" (Daily 10/14/88) is yet an-
other uninformed and extremely biased
view of the current events in Nicaragua,
typical of the naive idealists whom San-
dinista secret-police chief Tomas Borge
has called los tontos utiles, "the useful
fools."
First of all, The Daily defends the deci-
sion of President Daniel Ortega not to al-
low any U.S. aid to come into Nicaragua.
Even though much of this aid goes to the
Catholic Church of Nicaragua for
humanitarian and medical purposes, The
Daily opposes this on the grounds that the
Catholic Church is "conservative and
counter-revolutionary." If they knew their
history of the Nicaraguan revolution, they
would realize that soon after Obando y
Bravo became Archbishop, the Catholic
Church condemned the right-wing gov-
ernment of Somoza in 1970. As for
Bishop Pablo Antonio Vega, who is also
criticized in the editorial, he helped to or-
ganize the poor in the urban area and was
called the "red bishop" by Somoza. Are
these the actions of a "conservative and
counter-revolutionary?" No, those terms
are only used against those who oppose
left-wing dictatorships, which the Catholic
Church of Nicaragua is now doing.
Next, The Daily says the Sandinistas are
justified in not allowing U.S. money to
reach the opposition parties involved in
Nicaragua (most of which were also ac-
tively involved in the overthrow of So-
moza) on the grounds that "the United
States has no business involving itself in
the affairs of a sovereign nation." What
The Daily really means is that the U.S.
Manuel Olave and Josh Shackman are
mnembers of the Coalition for Democracy
in Latin America.

shoulu remain uninvolved only in the in-
ternal affairs of left-wing totalitarian gov-
ernments.
The Daily then goes to an even further
extreme, saying that the U.S. should give
unconditional aid to the Sandinistas on the
grounds that it is a democracy and provides
many social programs. They forget to
mention that these social programs are
given only to supporters of the FSLN,
which is hardly democratic; and even
Daniel Ortega has disputed The Daily's
claim that his country is a democracy, ad-
mitting that even if it lost an election, his
party would still not give up the power
(this in sharp contrast to El Salvador,
where the ruling party recently lost a
number of seats in the Legislative

That same month Daniel Ortega gave a
speech saying that he would only allow
"political pluralism within the constitu-
tional and institutional framework, not to
defy the government, not to defy people's
power, but to work with the government."
Of course, by "government" Ortega means
the FSLN. By "people" he means people
who support the FSLN.
Since neither a renewal of contra aid, or
that matter a U.S. invasion, is a realistic
possibility, the Sandinistas have nothing
to fear. So instead of closing, they should
be opening up the political space. But, of
course, they have no intention of doing
this, nor of course, would The Daily like
them to. In fact, the Sandinistas have ar-
rested many peasants suspected of

'Since neither a renewal of contra aid, or that matter a U.S.
invasion, is a realistic possibility, the Sandinistas have nothing to
fear.'

Assembly and has indeed lost a great deal
of power).
In yet another showing of hypocrisy and
ignorance, The Daily condemns the U.S.
for giving military aid to the contras who
have killed "hundreds of children and other
civilians."
Since military aid to the contras has
been cut off for almost a year, the only
"landmines and machine guns" coming
into Nicaragua are being sent by the So-
viet Union to the Sandinistas (14,300 tons
or $900 million in the first nine months
of this year).
Nicaragua has not gotten any more
democratic since aid was cut off to the
contras. As matter of fact, repression of
opposition parties, radio stations, and the
only opposition paper has increased and
Daniel Ortega recently increased and con-
solidated his power.
In July of this year, an opinion poll re-
leased with quite embarrassment by the
Sandinista-controlled University of Central
America found that only 28.3 percent of
the respondents supported the Sandinistas.

collaborating with the contras and forced
other peasants to relocate to militarized
"cooperatives."
* Participation in the Sandinista Defense
Committees has dropped so much that
most of the duties of these "neighborhood
watch" groups (controlling food ration
cards, delivering draft summonses,
collecting intelligence for the government)
have been shifted to the Interior Ministry
(i.e. secret police) for more deadly effi-
ciency. In a similar move, Ortega recently
announced that the Ministry of Justice
would be closed and its duties assumed by
the Interior (Chief Justice Borge?), elimi-
nating even the pretense of judicial inde-
pendence.
Thus, while the Coalition for Democ-
racy in Latin America (CDLA) opposes
giving 'direct aid to the Marxist-Leninist
Sandinistas because it will only go to help
the people who support the Sandinistas
and used against those who don't, we do
think it is of important human conse-
quence to send aid. Especially, now be-
cause of the recent hurricane, Nicaragua
does need aid to be used for humanitarian
and medical purposes.

a
6

r
Letters to the editor ~

Media bias on Mideast

T HE U.S. MEDIA'S response to the
Palestine National Council's recent
resolutions provides a striking illustra-
tion of U.S. media bias. While it may
be clear to the whole world that the
U.S. and Israel are the real rejectionists
when it comes to a peaceful resolution
of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this
fact is likely to be hidden from the
public through the eager propagandiz-
ing of the U.S. media.
The New York Times provides one
prominent example. The day after the
PNC resolutions in Algers, it printed
an editorial denouncing the step as be-
ing of no real significance, and called
*on the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) to make further
statements recognizing Israel and
renouncing terrorism. Even worse was
its news coverage, where it explained
in a front page news (not news
analysis) article that the PLO leaders
must have recognized that these
resolutions would not meet the United
States' pre-conditions for entering into
negotiations.
The whole thesis of the article was
that the PLO had made no real conces-
sions and that there was no way that
the United States or Israel could enter
into negotiations based on its resolu-
tions. In short it was almost identical
to the line the state department was
taking or what the Israeli foreign min-
ister was sending out under the guise

of' "damage control."
The media in this country have
worked hard and effectively to con-
vince the public that Palestinians and
their representatives, the PLO, are ter-
rorists, irretrievably committed to the
destruction of the state of Israel. They
have suppressed every indication that
the PLO was willing to accept the exis-
tence of Israel, including many explicit
statements from Arafat, which they
have faithfully ignored. Even the issue
of terrorism has been conveniently
twisted so that any act of resistance by
Palestinians against Israeli occupation
is labelled terrorist, while no amount of
violence inflicted by Israel against
by Israel against Palestinian civilians is
ever deemed "terrorist."
According to some accounts even the
rocks thrown by Palestinian boys at
heavily armed Israeli soldiers passing
through their villages constitute terror-
ism. While the deliberate targeting of
civilians for violent assaults in order to
intimidate a larger population can be
labelled a reprehensible act of
terrorism, striking out at a military
target does not fit the bill. It would be
a remarkable victory for the principle of
a free press if '"terrorist" came to be
used in accordance with its definition
and not as an adjective obligingly
associated with organizations and
governments that act against U.S.

Bus s
To the Daily:
On November 14, a self-
proclaimed "pro-Israel activist"
group built on the Diag a ply-
wood structure, painted to look
like a school bus. The phrases
"Israeli Public Schools" and
"STOP ARAB TERRORISM"
were written on the side of the
bus. Painted on the front are
the names of four Israelis killed
when a bus was attacked in the
occupied territories.
"S TOP AR AB TERROR-
ISM" is a blatantly racist
statement. If supporters of the
South African government
wrote "STOP BLACK TER-
RORISM" the phrase would be
quickly and angrily rejected, for
two reasons. The first is that
an entire ethnic or racial group
has been slandered. The second
is that the political and mili-
tary reality is so obviously the
reverse of the statement.
If the bus is intended to be a
monument to victims of
terrorist attacks, then it should
bear the names of the 430
Palestinian children, women,'

and men who have been killed
in their homes, cities, and vil-
lages in past eleven months by
the Israeli military. If the bus
was not meant as a slander of
160 million Arabs, it should
not have identified terrorism as
an Arab action, but should
have been specific in reference.
I would like to point out
three things. First, before an
attack in which several boards
were removed, the Palestinian
shanty said "STOP ISRAELI
OPPRESSION," a reference to
official Israeli policies of beat-
ings, killings, house demoli-
tions, deportations, arbitrary
arrests, and torture. The shanty
did not read "STOP ISRAELI
TERRORISM," as the Daily
mistakenly reported. Second,
the bus was erected at the same
time that the P.L.O. recognized
Israel and extended a hand for
negotiations, only to be re-
jected yet again by Israel and
the United States. Third, Israel
has bombed the neighboring
Arab capitals of Amman,
Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, and
Damascus and it regularly in-
vades its neighbors' airspace,
while Tel Aviv remains un-
scathed. Did the Lebanese in-
vade Israel in 1978 and 1982,
and then refuse to pull out?
Who attacks whom?
The Arab states support the
P.L.O.'s initiative for a
negotiated settlement. The re-
gion has lost enough blood,
enough martyrs. We Americans
must call upon our government
to live up to its stated prefer-
ence for negotiations. Addi-
tionally, the University of
Michigan community must re-
ject racist attacks on Arabs and
any other ethnic or racial
group, and act against racism
wherever it occurs.
-Hilary Shadroui
November 22

the recent terrorist bombing of
a bus in Israel where a woman
and three children died, Tagar
erected a wooden school bus on
the Diag last Monday,
November 14. On the
windshield, Tagar painted the
manes and ages of the woman
and three children killed and
depicted a fire. The political
slogan originally painted across
the bottom of the bus said
"Stop Arab Terrorism Come
To The Peace Table."
Several students found the
above phrase offensive because
they felt that it implied that
"All Arabs Are Terrorists."
Tagar in no way meant our
political message to be
construed as an ethnic slur.
We are sorry that we offended
any members of the University
community. Through the
wooden bus, Tagar' sought to
communicate facts about the
bombing in Israel and ,to urge
an end to violence by peaceful
negotiation. Our purpose as a
student group on campus is to
disseminate information and to
promote awareness regarding
issues affecting Israel. We do
not aim to denigrate the
ethnicity of our fellow
students.
Members of Tagar who are
of the Jewish faith have a
special appreciation for the true
evils of racism; Tagar had no
intention of appearing to
further this evil. After learning
that students found this
mess age offensive w e
immediately changed our
message to "Stop All
Terrorism Come To The Peace
Table."
Please accept our apologies.
'-Keith Hope
Laura Cibul
November 21
Fight

UMASC has every right to beq
angered and insulted. I feel,
however, your actions thus far,
are not in our best interests as
"minorities," in our fight to
end racism.
First, the remark was made
by an individual unaffiliated
with the Kappa Sigma frater-
nity or even the University. It
would be a different story had
the racist remark come from a4
fraternity member, but this was
not the case. I do not see how
any other actions on their part
could have mitigated the insult
to the Asian students.
The one at fault is not Kappa
Sigma, but that one man who
unfortunately cannot now be
held accountable. Kappa
Sigma, perhaps unintention-
ally, has been made out to be
racist. I do not see how the
November 21st march to the
Kappa Sigma house has any
relation to obtaining redress for
that one man's actions.
Kappa Sigma undoubtedly
made some mistakes in han-
dling the situation and should
have perhaps been more coop-
erative, but the blame they
rightfully deserve has been to-
tally blown out of proportion.
Racism is not going to end
through promotion of hatred
against supposed racists, as I
feel has been done to Kappa
Sigma. The solution is
through mutual learning and
understanding, and the promo-
tion of good, not bad feelings
toward one another.
UMASC stated that at the
present time, "no further op-
tion is available for redress."
Redress is indeed important,
but is not understanding and
working towards ending racism
even more important?
SIf Kappa Sigma is indeed
sincere in itsassertions thit

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