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February 24, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-24

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aq

OPINION
Friday, February 24, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

South

African

crisis

distorted

By the Steering Committee of
the United Coalition Against
Racism
Over two years ago the South African
Apartheid regime instituted extensive
censorship of national and international
media's coverage of the political situation
inside the country. This news -blackout
was put in place, to cover the crimes of
Apartheid - the detentions, torture, and
repression, behind an iron wall of silence.
Much of the international media has been
complicit in this attempt to censor the
news. Despite these obstacles, progressive
newspapers inside South Africa have
managed to continue to carry front page
coverage of protests and brutality in the
townships, risking not only their
journalistic privileges, but their very
lives. Given the conspicuous absence of
virtually any substantive news on South
,Africa since 1986, it is outrageous that the
media has gobbled up the recent disturbing
news about internal divisions within the
anti-Apartheid movement so readily; using
information being filtered and force fed to
'the press by the South African
government.
Front page headlines across the nation
over the past few weeks have focused upon
the allegations that Winnie Mandela's
bodyguards have been involved in violence
and possibly the mysterious murder of a
young township resident. Most anti-
Apartheid groups have censured Ms.
Mandela for not demanding greater
accountability from her bodyguards. At the
same time the African National Congress
has rightfully pointed out the fact that the
South African government has relied
increasingly on infiltration and internal
provocation to stimulate precisely the kind
'of situation that has emerged. This serves
the interests of the fascist regime in two
ways: it diverts attention away from the
major issues in South Africa - the
virtual enslavement of 23 million Black

committed by Mandela's followers, the
only reason she needs an entourage of
bodyguards to begin with is that her life
has been threatened repeatedly, and her
home firebombed, most likely by agents
of the government she has so vigilantly
opposed.
In this case and others the Pretoria
government has used this issue of so-
called Black-on-Black violence to portray
the anti-apartheid movement as bitterly
divided. Much of this violence is, in fact,
perpetrated by Mangosthu Buthelezi and
his Inkatha army, a Black puppet
organization funded and supported by the
South African government. The media has
told us very little about the violence
carried out by Buthelezi's followers in
campaigns to uproot Black squatter
communities in white-only areas of the
country. Despite a peace pact with the
United Democratic Front, Inkatha
members, encouraged by South African
officials, have continued a reign of terror
including murder, arson, assault,
kidnaping, intimidation, abductions, and
destroying or damaging property. The
South African government has released no
press statements on this issue, nor have
they invited journalists to accompany
them to make arrests or search homes, as
they did in the case of Ms. Mandela.
In sum, the charges against Mandela's
bodyguards are serious, and other anti-
Apartheid leaders have treated them as
such. At the same time it is important to
remember that, sadly, South Africa is a
very violent place right now, and not
because of individual acts of violence by
young Blacks, but because of wholesale
institutionalized violence on the part of
the white supremacist regime.
Meanwhile, the American press is
playing into the hands of the racist
government by exploiting and distorting
the real issues at the expense of those who
are continuing to challenge the brutal
regime, who are being met with a
heightened degrees of repression. The

crisis in South Africa is not the Winnie
Mandela accusations, but the recent and
not-so-recent actions of the South African
government. Black high school students
have been central to the anti-apartheid
challenge, and as a result they have faced
immense brutality by white security
forces. Besides arrests, detentions, and
torture, schools are being shut down and
students are being expelled for political

justice. However, the news media has
given the protest and the issue of illegal
detentions little, if any attention.
We have been led to believe that there is
a crisis within the anti-apartheid
movement. But the white minority
government's effort to silence the majority
is the real crisis. At a time when the anti-
Apartheid movement is at its height of
unity and has struggled for many years to

'We have been led to believe that there is a crisis within the anti-
apartheid movement. But the white minority government's effort
to silence the majority is the real crisis.'

a6

activity.
For the past thirty days, 300 political
detainees in South Africa have been on a
hunger strike. Most of these detainees
have been held for over two years without
being arrested or even charged. Many,
including large numbers of children, are
beaten and tortured. In a very militant and
courageous act, these detainees *have
chosen to risk their lives in an appeal to

achieve that unity, we shouldn't be
deceived by the headlines that the South
African government hands us. The U.S.
media needs to be aggressive and militant
in finding out what is happening behind
the closed doors of Apartheid. And we need
to be just as aggressive and militant in
challenging the racism of the South
African regime and the media's tacit
complicity with it.

Brown bag discussion
BAKER
MANDELA
CENTERSouth Africa coverage biased
CENTER
The Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center for Anti-Racist Education, a student or-
ganized and run alternative resource center, is sponsoring a series of weekly
brown-bag discussions. This week's topic is "South Africa Coverage Biased."
Bring lunch, drink coffee (free), and participate in the stimulating, informal dis-
cussion. Today at 12 noon in the Baker-Mandela Center, first floor of East Engi-
neering, Room 3.

Ms. Winnie Mandela gives a
Blck Power salute at a meeting
at her Soweto home, Sept. 11,
1986.
non-citizens and the continued brutality
and repression necessary to maintain that
system - and it weakens the credibility of
the movement overall in the eyes of those
supporters inside and outside the country.
Moreover, whatever crimes have been

64

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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711

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No. 104

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.
Slam-- dunk the students

STUDENTS WHO enjoy live basketball
and football games too often find
themselves stuck in seats well above
Crisler's up-close 'Blue' section or the
University stadium's infamous north-
west corner - better known as the
student section. Used to waiting in
lines and feeling like little more than a
number, most students don't object
when given poor seating. However, a
closer look shows the reasons why
students are denied ringside seats for
sports events performed by their fellow
students, events sponsored by an in-
stitution they support with tuition.
Who gets to sit up close? The people
who can afford it. In Ann Arbor that
means alumni. This type of exclusion
shows how revenue sports in the
United States are no more concerned
with the interests of the spectators than
multinational corporations are about
consumers. The motive in today's Big
Ten sports mentality is profit maxi-
mization.
For example, while students are only
sold a minority of tickets for each sea-
son's football games at $60 each, the
majority of ticket buyers - most of
whom are alumni - pay $120 each.
Basketball tickets can cost up to $80
per season ticket.

The recent Detroit Pistons' move to
Auburn Hills provides an example of a
franchise which now caters to a
wealthy suburb where people are able
to pay up to $40 per ticket - a price
too steep for the majority of bleacher
fans who lived in the heart of Detroit.
This is institutional racism. African-
Americans are affected negatively and
white people have benefited.
The Miami Superbowl is another ex-
ample. It was embarrassing to the
capitalist establishment because it was
emblematic of wealth inequality not
only in commercial sports, but in
society as a whole. Thousands of
downtrodden A frican-Americans were
locked inside Liberty and Overtown
slums while the wealthy flocked to the
big game, much like ancient Roman
senators shuffled past slaves on their
way to watch gladiators fight.
Money rules the bosses who run this
country's sports for profit corpora-
tions. Students, despite their somewhat
ironic status as the next generation of
the privileged class, must temporarily
feel the effects of those who have not
and who do not have the luxury of
choice. Economic stratification in
Crisler arena and the stadium is just
another corporate slam dunk in the stu-
dent's faces.

Daily naive
about frats
To the Daily:
As per your editorial, "Don't
Buy the Hype" (1/25/89), we
find it both offensive and hyp-
ocritical. Unfortunately, we
have come to expect this from
the Daily.
As members of Delta Tau
Delta Fraternity, this is partic-
ularly disturbing, because of
our reputation for being a very
diverse house - religiously,
economically and ethnically.
Our house at the present time
has brothers who are people of
color who contribute both in
the administration of house
functions and on a personal
level. Due to this, there are free
discussions on religion, poli-
tics, economic opportunities
and social activities. This atti-
tude allows us to be open to
incoming people who can con-
tribute more to our understand-
ing of diversity.
The editors who expressed
the opinions stated in the arti-
cle are, through their
stereotyping, themselves
hypocritical. You have deemed
yourselves prosecutor, judge
and jury, finding us guilty by
historical association. Indeed,
there may have been examples
of fraternities which excluded
people on the basis of ethnic-
ity, religion, economics, etc.
However, we cannot be judged
guilty because of the acts of
others.
We do not want to imply
that the Greek system and it's
process of attaining new mem-
bers is perfect. However, there
is simply no way of choosing
brothers in such a short period
of time, without adversely af-
fecting academics or other pri-
orities. Yet, there is the benefit
of bringing such a large insti-
tution into perspective. This is
simply another . way of
developing close, lasting
friendships. We are not allow-

more money through philan-
thropic events than most if not
all other organizations on
campus. We are projecting a
goal of forty thousand dollars
from Greek Week activities
alone - this does not include
individual house fund raisers.
The Daily is quick to praise
and support bucket drives on
the Diag, yet is as quick to de-
nounce the Greek system - a
system you do not understand,
nor wish to.
Finally, the individual must
make the decision of whether
to rush or not to rush. This
decision should be made with-
out bias or misinformation as
presented in your article. Our
personal decisions to rush were
based on the people in the fra-
ternity and not those that you
suggest.
-Matthew Wexley
John W. Simms, III
February 1
Establish
PIRGIM
To the Daily:
This letter was written in re-
sponse to the article on Feb.
1,1989 about reestablishing a
PIRG in Michigan.
The people of Michigan, as
well as students at the Univer-
sity, have basic consumer
rights. As consumers, we have
the right to be informed. We
need to be told which foods
have been grown with aid of
dangerous chemicals and the
possible affects of ingesting
them. About how supermarkets
doctor the appearance of foods,
the possible affects of local
waste dumps, and the policies
of various companies that af-
fect us.
As consumers, we also have
the right to choose. Only when
we are fully informed can we
intelligently exercise are right
to choose. For example, if it is

policies that infringe upon our.
inherent consumer rights.
A PIRG, public interest re-
search group, is designed to
help us protect our right to safe
consumption. It gives us in-
formation on safe consump-
tion, enhancing our ability to
choose, and it gives us the
power to act collectively to
make our consumer world bet-
ter by preserving our environ-
ment and natural resources.
A PIRG has existed on
Michigan's campus for a long
time and has a long history of
consumer and environmental
victories. An essential quality
of a PIRG is that it needs stu-
dent support in order to exist,
and it is obtained through a re-
fundable student fee. The PIRG
in Michigan presentlyhas the
support of 40,000 citizens.
With a student fee, PIRGIM
will have the additional support
of the student body and could
hire a second lobbyist . A stu-
dent fee would also allow
PIRGIM to expand on the
amount and depth of issues
worked on.
With the plethora of prob-
lems among us, the state of
Michigan needs the power of a
PIRG to fight for consumer
rights, environmental issues,
and local hunger. The students
of Michigan need the resources
of a PIRG so we can have a
common tool to protect our
right to information, our right
to choose, and our right to be
heard. PIRGIM is the unifying
organization that we students
need to consolidate our com-
mon consumer interests.
-Sam Nigro
February 7
students
slighted
To The Daily:
I am writing in regard to a
problem that I believe merits
the attention of the Athletic

and mascots at other schools
roam around yelling and cheer-
ing, fans at Michigan who run
around the arena are followed
by security guards and forced to
sit down in their seats.
Admittedly, the crowd gets
loud at certain points- in key
games, but the noise usually
lasts no more than a minute
because a large group of older
fans refuses to cheer and yells
at students to sit down. In a
recent game between Michigan
and Ohio State, Dick Vitale
made the observation that fan
noise is lacking at Crisler
because alumni, not students,
sit in the lower tier.
Simply moving some
students closer to the court
would not fully solve the
problem. One of the reasons
the crowd is so loud at
Michigan football games is
because the students all sit in
one area of Michigan Stadium.
I feel that placing students to-
gether in the lower tier would
help increase the volume of
noise at Crisler.
There are two problems
which have been cited when
this idea has been proposed in
the past. First there are the
objections of the many alumni
who, after having donated
much time, effort, and money
to the school, would be forced
to give up their seats in the
lower tier. However, my
proposal does not advocate the
removal of all alumni from the
blue section. Instead, many
would just be relocated to dif-
ferent .portions of the section
where some seats will have
been freed up by the moving of
students to the student section.
Second there is the problem
of a lack of students who
actually want to attend basket-
ball games. Many students,
however, decide not to purchase
season tickers because of the
lack of noise and fun at Crisler.
I believe that the formation of
a student section at Crisler
Arena would bring the fun back *

Clarification:
About that course.. .

IN AN EDITORIAL on Wednesday,
February 22, the Daily failed to ade-
quately define the proposed require-
«. « C- -......, . - n ic m ltn n.

proposed courses and determine which
courses satisfy meet those criteria.
The administration's counter-pro-
posal proposes no such oversight

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