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March 16, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-16

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, March 16, 1989

The Michigan Daily

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No. 113

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All otl ar
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Shanty must survive

6

THE ATTACK on the Palestinian
shanty by arsonists Monday night is
yet another example of the anti-Arab
racism that persists on this campus.
The shanty stands as a memorial to
the more than 400 Palestinians who
have been killed in the Intifadah, or
uprising, against Israel's occupation of
the West Bank and Gaza. It includes
the names of more than 200 victims of
Israeli violence.
An attack on a symbol of this sort,
regardless of who may have
perpetrated it, cannot be taken lightly.
It is a statement of blatant hostility
toward the lives and struggle of the
Palestinian people.
A conspicuous and continuous
reminder of the Intifadah is especially
necessary in view of the media's steady
reduction of coverage since the
uprising's inception in December,
1987. Hardly a day goes by without a
Palestinian being shot in the occupied
territories, but mainstream press
reporting is minimal. For example, this.
week (3/13) the New York Times
demoted only a two-sentence article to
an incident in which a Palestinian youth
was shot by an Israeli soldier.
According to the army, the youth had
stabbed the soldier in an altercation
which resulted from soldiers ordering

several Palestinians to take down
Palestinian flags and cover up pro-PLO
graffiti.
The attack on the shanty is
particularly important in light of the
virtual absence of criticism of Israel in
the public domain, and the numerous
efforts to silence statements of
Palestinian solidarity. For example,
last month a Detroit medical clinic was
vandalized after its owner financed an
advertisement which expressed the
concerns of American Jews and Arabs
about Israel's violence in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
Moreover, in spite of more than a
year of uprising and the hundreds
killed in its suppression, there is
absolutely no talk in Congress about
reducing aid to Israel. There is not even
significant discussion of making any of
the more than three billion dollars of
annual aid contingent on respecting the
human rights of Palestinians.
The attack on the shanty is an implicit
attack on the Palestinian people. We
certainly hope that it will cause
President Duderstadt to reiterate his
"deep concern." As he has said, "it is
important to state once again that
racism, anti-Semitism, and all other
forms of bigotry have no place at the
University of Michigan." Perhaps a
public statement would be in order.

,.44
Tuesday night the Palestinian shanty on the Diag was burned. An attack on the shainty is an attack on the
right of Palestinians to self determination.
L e.. t.....e....s. ..::.the.......d itor...

Boycott Eastern,

Airlines:

Support the strike

ACCORDING TO Frank Lorenzo, the
chair of Eastern Airlines, people would
rather work for low wages than not
work at all. The takeover and subse-
quent restructuring of Continental in
1983 in which Lorenzo "abruptly de-
clared bankruptcy" [NYT 3/11/89] in
order to destroy the union and halve
wages was a demonstration of this
philosophy.
He is now attempting to repeat this
strategy at Eastern. "Lorenzo's aim is
to start up a new low-cost and low-fare
airline, and it's a carbon copy of what
he did when he took Continental Air-
lines into bankruptcy in 1983." [NYT
3/11/89]. After seventeen months of
negotiations, the International Associa-
tion of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers went on strike last Saturday
(3/3/89) at Eastern. Their strike lines
were immediately honored by the pilots
and flight attendants at Eastern, effec-
tively shutting down the airline. As of
this morning, the 8,500 strikers have
remained solid. Only 200 of the 3,700
Eastern pilots have crossed the picket
lines and the airline has been able to fly
only 100 out of over 1,000 flights a
day.
Since Lorenzo's takeover of Eastern
in 1986, he has initiated a deliberate
strategy designed to break the unions,
even at the cost of bankrupting the air-
line. In 1987 he began selling some of
Eastern's assets as a punitive tactic to
pressure the unions to accept wage and
benefit concessions. Many of these
were sold below market value. Lorenzo
is now demanding $150 million dollars
in wage and benefit concessions.
However, over the last ten years East-
ern employees have already made wage
concessions totalling $1.5 billion dol-
lars. Currently, the wages paid at
Eastern are the lowest in the airline
try, except for those at Continental,
which is not unionized. Dan Ashby a
spokesperson for the pilots at Eastern
states that, "Lorenzo wanted the strike

so he could shut Eastern down, using
its remaining assets to bolster Conti-
nental Air...It was all preconceived"
(LA Times 3/5/89).
Although it is only 12 days old, this
strike must already be seen, in many
ways, as a success. Given the gradual
decline of the American labor move-
ment since the 1950's and particularly
within the context of the Reagan-Bush
pro-industry regimes, the immediate
cohesive and effective nature of this
strike is heartening. But, in order for
this "labor- management conflict" to
exist as more than just a momentary
boost for labor, it needs to sustain itself
until Lorenzo has no other financial
option other than to negotiate on the
worker's terms or (unfortunately more
likely) to sell Eastern.
One of the original arguments for the
airline deregulation was that it made the
airlines more responsive to the cus-
tomer. Increased competition suppos-
edly provides the consumer with more
choice and thus more power. The con-
sumer does hold the power in this situ-
ation. Lorenzo's strategy in the future
will be to try, depending on his ability
to bring in new pilots (either through
hiring new pilots or using Continental
pilots to fly Eastern planes), to intro-
duce drastically reduced prices on an
increased number of flights.
This strategy can only succeed with
the cooperation of the consumer. If
people are unwilling to buy those seats,
no matter what is decided in the
bankruptcy courts, Lorenzo will be
unable to keep Eastern Airlines in the
air. In the next few months, your
decision not to fly either Eastern or
Continental will be essential in
supporting the unions in fighting back
against Lorenzo.
The machinists union is holding a
rally this Saturday at 11 a.m. at
U.A.W. local 600, 10550 Dix Road,
in Dearborn. Be there.

Rushdie
insults Is-
lam
To the Daily:
Salman Rushdie is a writer of
imense imagination and intel-
lectual versatility. But his
book "The Satanic Verses,"
serves to further misinterpret
Islam and Muslim societies for
its Western readers. The book
does not merely present an al-
ternative vision of Islam, it
treats the followers of Islam
with undisguised contempt.
This contempt can be inferred
from some references in the
book- references which a
Western reaer would miss since
Rushdie makes extensive use
of Arabic and Urdu phrases.
Thus a dream sequence is set in
a mythical land called
"Jahilia"- the word "Jahil" in
Urdu refers to an ill-mannered,
uneducated brute and Jahilia
would be a land where such
peole lived. It has already been
pointed out in the press how he
has very thinly disguised the
names of the Prophet and his
wives.
The furor surrounding the book
has been compared to the in-
dignation expressed by Chris-
tians when "The Last Tempta-
tion of Christ" was released.
But there is an important dif-
ference between the two in that
the film never questioned the
divinity of Christ, only offered
a different interpretation of it.
The film tried to make a
philosophical point. "The Sa-
tanic Verses," on the other
hand presents the Prophet as a
fraud and his teachings as mere
figments of a human's imagi-
nation rather than the word of
God. As such, it makes no
contribution to our understand-
ing of Islam and Islamic cul-
ture.
Salman Rushdie is well aware
of the emotional ties Muslims
have to their religion and must
have known that his work
would illicit outrage from the
Islamic countries. Indeed, he
seems to have relished the
prospect of the notoriety which
he has earned and it is unfortu-
nate that countries like Iran,
Pakistan and India played right
into his hands. But it is painful
to see a writer of Rushdie's
stature use his talents to need-
lessly provoke people and
spread cultural misunderstand-
ing, instead of trying to
"coordinate [the] scale of val-
ues."

there have been several letters
to the editor in response to an
editorial entitled "Ethiopians
Exploited". The letters defended
Israel's action of transferring
Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
What amazed me about these
letters was their authors' failure
to recognize the irony of trans-
ferring Jews on to land confis-
cated from Palestinians.
Land, however, is not the
only issue. Jews from any
where in the world may claim
Israeli citizenship. However,
Palestinians who were born on
that land, and whose ancestors
were born and buried on that
land, may not even claim resi-
dency, and in some instances
may never be permitted to visit
there homeland. I find it very
ironic that a Jew who has never
seen Israel and who has no di-
rect ancestral connection to that
land, may claim citizenship,
where as I who was born in
Palestine and who can trace my
family history back ten
generations to that same land,
am not granted that same right.
Is this the same state that the
authors of these letters are de-
fending? These same people
who express horror at the idea
of Jews who suffer just because
they are Jews? How about
Palestinians who suffer just
because they are Palestinians?
Or don't human rights apply to
them?
One of these letters listed
several injustices imposed on
the Ethiopian Jews. These
same injustices and more are
suffered by the Palestinians
under Israeli hands.
Palestinians must carry
identification cards at all times;
their license plates are distin-
guished from those of Israeli's;
they can be arrested and held for
six months without being ac-
cused of anything, and this de-
tention can be renewed; they
may not dig wells on their own
land without permission from
Israel and permission is rarely
granted; they wait 10 or 15
years to have a telephone in-
stalled; they're beaten and shot
indiscriminately; their homes
are demolished; their trees are
uprooted; their villages are put
under curfew; they're not per-
mitted to travel freely; they are
deported; their land is confis-
cated for Israeli settlements....
The list goes on and on.
The state that is so concerned
about justice for Jews is at the
same time denying basic hu-
man rights to Palestinians. I
see an irony in this, too bad
these defenders of Israel do not.

Friday March 10 on the firing
of CBN's Publicity Director
Henry Hardy was so journalis-
tically proper in its objectivity
that it fell short of giving a
full picture of the situation.
I'm the former Production
Director at CBN. For three
years I was Producer/Engineer
for Gray Matters and Press-
watch and still occasionally
work on Gray Matters. I
worked regularly with Henry
Hardy and saw two aspects to
his participation at CBN.
On each of our shows, Henry
contributed keen political in-
sight, vast knowledge of con-
stitutional law, and humorous,
irreverent opinions on every-
thing else. He also conducted
fascinating interviews with
people like Allan Ginsberg,
Timothy Leary, and Barbara
Jordan.
Unfortunately, off the air, he
contributed to divisiveness and
ill will at the station as well.
Too often I have seen him react
to staff members in an overly
argumentative and intimidating
manner that was entirely dis-
proportionate to the problem at
hand. It was behavior that
would have been deemed intol-
erable long before last week if
CBN were anything other than
a volunteer operation. It was
similar behavior that forced
Emily Burns to terminate his
activity at the station.
There is, no doubt, a touch
of irony in that Emily ran
against Henry for the CBN
General Manager position and
now has had to fire him. How-
ever, the Daily's statement that
CBN's board of directors chose
Emily "after much debate" is
misleading. I was part of that
debate. Prior to the Board's
closed-door decision, the
biggest debate centered on how
to be fair to Henry despite a
lopsided tide of opinion that
Emily was the far more level-
headed and fair-minded candi-
date. So there was no rivalry
involved in Henry's firing, but
rather a practical action taken
for the good of CBN. Emily
Burns has the respect and
affection of everyone at CBN.
She had an unnerving decision
to make. After verbal and writ-
ten warnings to Henry, she
made it swiftly. And she has
my full support.
I also doubt seriously that
Henry's departure will have the
"chilling" effect on "risky"
programming at CBN he says
it will. What attracted me to
the network in the first place
was the lack of pretense and
.- ' - r e - - - _ _._ . w-. .--'

Henry Hardy arrived, and it's
not likely to change now that
he's gone.
-Frank Steltenkamp
March 11
Issue is
artistic
freedom
To the Daily:
In the February 23 issue of
the Daily, I was misquoted in
the lead article, which covered a
gathering held at Rackham on
February 22 in support of
Salman Rushdie and artistic
freedom in this country.
The issue, for me, is this. A
head of state in Iran has directed
Muslims everywhere to kill a
novelist who is a citizen of
another country. Make this
distinction: this is not a "death
threat." Salman Rushdie is
living under an execution order.
There is a difference. Individu-
als "threaten" to kill other in-
dividuals all the time, but for a
national and religious leader in
Iran to "command" millions of
people all over the world to
hunt down a British citizen and
murder him is unique and un-
precedented, and is having a
staggeringly wide spread effect
around the world. What artist
has not had second thoughts
about his or her work since
hearing of this order? Whose
imagination has not been in-
fected? This act - a command
to murder - is what I called "a
rape of the imagination," for it
has the power to cause all
artists everywhere to examine
their own thoughts even before
they commit them to paper (or
canvas or film).
There is no easy response to
this unprecedented act. In the
days immediately following
Khomeini's outrageous edict,
some critics perceived writers
(including poets, novelists,
scholars, journalists, and
essayists) as responding
slowly, and thus being "too
quiet," or "cowardly." But I
didn't. How could anyone have
responded quickly to this
situation? Who was prepared
for it? I did not say that our
gathering was an expression of
solidarity with Rushdie and an
assertion of our right to think,
write, buy, and read what we
want.
There can be any number of
reasons for a person's saying
nothing and taking no action
(disinterest and indecision
.-nr mthm\ vs T vIwold not

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