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April 14, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-04-14

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, April 14, 1989

The Michigan Daily

I

'I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. IC, No. 134 AnnArborMI 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.

I

I

Czars are

everywhere

By Noah Finkel
Our political leaders have come up with
a variety of ways to quell a "crisis" when
one pops up.
Liberals see a crisis and throw money at
the problem.
Conservatives see a crisis and blame the
victim.
And of course, the remedy favored by
politicians of every ideological stripe is to
set up a blue-ribbon committee and com-
mission a study when faced with a crisis.
But the fashionable method of handling
a crisis these days is to identify the prob-
lem and name a "czar" to oversee the han-
dling of it. We're at the point now that
there are few crises without their own czar.
The trend could be traced back to Sen.
Paul Simon's (D-Ill.) bid for the 1988
Democratic presidential nomination. Iden-
tifying the trade deficit as one of the great
ills of the country, Simon said "we need a
trade czar" to solve our trade woes.
Simon's presidential bid failed, but the
bow-tied Senator did leave a lasting im-
pact.
Noah Finkel is a Daily news staffer.

This year, President Bush appointed
William Bennett, the former Secretary of
Education, drug czar to solve the "drug
crisis." In fact, Czar William "the Terri-
ble" was one of Bush's first presidential
appointments.
Bush then appointed an ethics czar due
to a perceived crisis in the ethics of those
in government.
Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard, not
to be outdone, last month appointed his
own state drug czar.
Last week, Detroit Mayor Coleman
Young named 36th District Court Judge
Adam Shakoor as his crime czar.
Even Vice President Dan Quayle got
into the act. This week he joked with re-
porters that he was Bush's "funeral czar."
And just Tuesday, neighboring Augusta
Township named an anti-landfill czar (yes,
that is the real title) to coordinate efforts
to stop the Augusta Development Corp.
from operating a hazardous waste landfill
and incinerator in the township.
Why are czars so popular now? One
would think that czars, the autocratic
rulers of Russia from 1533 until the 1917
February revolution, would be feared, not
desired.
These czars were absolute monarchs

who had no regard for civil liberties and
civil rights. They enslaved the peasants of
the Russian empire and unleashed
pogroms on the empire's Jewish popula-
tions. A good case can be made that
Stalin's totalitarianism was simply a
modernized version of czarist policies.
Even Peter "the Great" was known as
such partly because his army was adept at
killing Swedes, and Catherine II was
known as "the Great" because she sliced
up Poland and added it to the Russian em-
pire. Imagine what Ivan "the Terrible" was
like (for the record, Ivan was given that
moniker because of his use of terror. He
also happened to kill off the heir to his
throne).
Perhaps our new-found love of czars is
because we think our problems can only
be solved by someone with unlimited
power.
But that goes against the grain of
American political thought. We distrust
large concentrations of power. We tradi-
tionally think of that as dangerous to
individual liberties. This infatuation with
czardom is peculiar.
Modemn-day Romanovs are proliferating
at federal, state, and local levels of gov-
ernment. I say send 'em to Siberia.

4
I

Homeless Action Committee members
proposed new parking structure.

House people,
ANN ARBOR has a housing crisis due which h
to a lack of affordable low and middle- since it:
income housing. Shelters have pro- Downto
vided assistance to some of Ann Ar- occupan
bor's approximately 1500 homeless, which ir
but these efforts are not long-term Lou Be
solutions. and con
During the Reagan/Bush administra- 1983.
tions the federal budget for low-cost After
housing has been cut from $32 billion one Rej
to $8 billion. The Ann Arbor city pressed
government has failed dismally to affordal
respond to these cuts with increased of "thes
municipal funding. commer
;Ann Arbor's Downtown Develop- titude th
ment Authority (DDA) is chiefly re- ment po
sionsible for this atrocity. Created by and ignc
City Council in 1982 to preserve and incomec
restore the downtown district, the DDA Thoui
cl'aims to be committed to "preserving have cat
t*e balance between commercial, office ness con
a4d residential uses that has generally cies are
been lost in central city areas." How- from se
eyer, since its creation in 1982, the Area co
DDA has spent nothing on housing reported
while it has allocated $13 million for to Ann
parking structures. learned
Now, the DDA plans to grant a $3 houses
nillion dollar subsidy for the ployees
cinstruction of another parking struc- The C
ture at the sight of Kline's department structur
store's parking lot. priorities
An Affordable Housing Task Force The H
conducted a survey of community planned
housing needs in 1985, and reported to parking
dity Council that Ann Arbor was in set up
need of 1,000 units of low-cost hous- "housin
inig. No affordable housing has been ernmen
btilt since that report. The insufficient Help se
housing that did exist has been must pr
squeezed out by commercial construc- the hom
tion, despite the 20-30 percent vacancy tional 1
rite of commercial spaces downtown. member
A boarding house was destroyed to a.m. Sa
nrake room for the Belcher Building, Ashley 1

not cars
has remained largely vacant
s construction in 1986. The
wn Club provided single room
icy for 68 people, before a firm
ncluded then Ann Arbor mayor
;lcher purchased the building
verted it into office space in
the task force's report in 1985,
publican council member ex-
concern that construction of
ble housing would attract more
se people" into the city. This
nt is indicative of the classist at-
hat creates downtown develop-
licies which favor the wealthy
ore the needs of low and middle
citizens.
gh City Council and the DDA
tered to the whims of the busi-
mmunity, their misguided poli-
actually keeping businesses
ttling in Ann Arbor. A Detroit
mpany employing 800 people
Ily stopped considering moving
Arbor when the company
that only approximately 20
were available that their em-
could afford.
City desperately needs to re-
e its inhumane and misguided
5I.
[omeless Action Committee has
an occupation of the Kline's
lot. Cardboard boxes will be
to symbolize the type of
ig" to which the city gov-
t has forced people to resort.
-nd the message that the City
rovide affordable housing for
eless before it constructs addi-
housing for cars: join HAC
rs in a demonstration at 7:30
turday. Kline's is located on
between Liberty and William.

0

Letters to the editor

A
u

Take back the night

Faculty
vote not a
conclusion
To the Daily:
Thanks to Peter Steiner's ar-
bitrariness, I was not allowed
to introduce a motion which
was on the agenda at the April
meeting of the LSA faculty.
Instead, we were allowed to re-
fer the question of how to deal
with racism and other forms of
cultural discrimination back to
committee for another year.
My motion would have directed
the faculty of the College to
consider in a serious way all of
our curricular offerings, to de-
termine how best we could ad-
dress this serious question, and
to bring our findings before the
whole faculty for further dis-
cussion and appropriate action.
The motion which referred
this question back to commit-
tee was made in good faith but
I am distressed by what it must
mean for the College: we are
committed, once again, to do-
ing nothing.
We have no excuse for inac-
tion. I voted against the mo-
tion to institute a required
course on racism, not just be-
cause I distrusted the idea of a
required course as a solution to
the very real problem of racism
in our community, but also
because I object to the faculty's
making the student body our
scapegoats. The problem of
cultural discrimination is a
community problem, not a
student problem, and must be
addressed as such.
One of my colleagues has
suggested that the most appro-
priate way of dealing with the
problem of racism and other
forms of cultural discrimina-
tion which face us might be
the recreation of teach-ins.
We used them to learn about
the war in Vietnam. We could
well use that same kind of fo-
rum to learn about racism and
other kinds of cultural prejudice
in our community now.
Perhaps we could institu-
tionalize the teach-in this time,
and propose to ourselves that
every September we begin the
school year with a teach-in on
cultural prejudices. That might
be a better way to begin the
year than with a football game,
or a Computer Kick-Off! The
result would not be transcript
certification of our student
body as decent, though it
might help us to become a
better community.
As Professor Williams said,
we could well be on the verge

all belong. If we can't solve
the problem within the
University, then we aren't a
university.
And if we aren't a university,
then we can't have a College,
and we don't need a Dean.
-Bert Hornback
April 9
Turkish
students
respond
To the Daily:
We are writing on behalf of
the University of Michigan
Turkish Students Association
in response to two letters to
the editor entitled "Remember
Armenian Tragedy" (Daily,
3/24/89) and "Join Armenians"
(4/6/89).
We are distressed to see the
encouragement of racism
against the Turkish people, and
the promotion of the "terrible
Turk" image by Armenian
Students Cultural Association
Club, with their allegation of
genocide leveled against Turks.
No one has ever denied the
overall tragedy that 74 years
ago brought death and suffering
to all the peoples of the Ot-
toman Empire's eastern
Anatolia region, including a
significant number of Armeni-
ans who perished as part of this
tragedy. What we reject, how-
ever, is the selective focus on
the suffering of one ethnic
group, while ignoring the suf-
fering of millions of Turkish
and non-Christian peoples.
It has been well established
that the Armenians of eastern
Anatolia joined the invading
Czarist Russian armies in re-
bellion against the Ottoman
Empire. Their subsequent relo-
cation, in addition to inter-
communal warfare, disease, and
famine, took a heavy toll.
However, tragic loss of life
was not confined to the Arme-
nian community. The non-Ar-
menian death total, which was
largely the result of Armenian
revolutionaries, was over 2
million. These events cannot
possibly be termed "genocide"
on the part of the Ottoman
Empire. Ottoman responsibil-
ity, if any, must lie in the em-
pire's inability to protect its
civilian populations (both
Muslim and Christian) from
wide-scale civil war, famine,
and disease.
69 prominent American
scholars, who have signed a
statement published in the
Washington Post and New

panel discussion featuring both
Turkish and Armenian partici-
pants will follow.
We do not wish to minimize
the scope of Armenian suffer-
ing; but we are cognizant that
it cannot be viewed as separate
from the suffering experienced
by other inhabitants of the re-
gion. Throughout the years in
question, the region was the
scene of continuous warfare,
not unlike the tragedy which
has gone on in Lebanon for the
past decade.
Continued allegations of
genocide serve to spread the
seeds of animosity, bigotry,
and hatred between Turks and
Armenians. We ask that Turks
and Armenians alike acknowl-
edge the human tragedy which
has befallen all the peoples of
eastern Anatolia during World
War I, and strive to promote
understanding and friendship
instead of hatred.
- Bahadir Inozu
Kenan Akfirat
April6
Whites
unfairly
accused
To the Daily:
In response to the letter by
Mark Wilson (Daily, 4/5/89), I
must say that I resent the big-
oted, socially slanted intona-
tions. Mr. Wilson implied that
white, middle class students of
this school have no social
conscience, while the students
of the predominantly Black
Howard University had a ri-
otous spirit that was "always
motivated by some pressing
social issue."
It was clear to anyone who
attended the celebration/riot
that the revellers, although
predominantly white, also in-
cluded people from many dif-
ferent races. Calling this crowd
of approximately 10,000
people "irresponsible" based on
the actions of one to two hun-
dred people (that's about 1-2%o)
is like calling the U of M all
Black because 5% of the
students are Black. No one
would say something that idi-
otic, yet Mr. Wilson made the
same mistake in his letter.
He even states that he had
doubted the political sincerity
of the students before coming
here and he also said that the
Ann Arbor Police would have
treated the crowd much worse
had it been a race other than
white. Although some say po-
lice actions in the past have
been questionable, to state as
fact that they would abuse
nonno hoorl n r~r-

tional person, but is the
symptom of an angry individ-
ual taking his frustrations out
on an entire race.
Although I agree that the ac-
tions of some revellers were
shameful, shame on Mark
Wilson for judging our politi-
cal and social values based on
the actions of these few people.
-Joe Wickenheiser
April 5
Racist fliers
response to
letter
To the Daily:

FOR MANY women, night and dark-
ness are frightening times, times to
avoid being out alone, because of the
danger of sexual assault. Although
date and acquaintance rape are the most
prevalent forms of rape, the danger of
p ysical and verbal assault by strangers
is a daily occurrence in Ann Arbor.
:This Saturday, April 15th, the 10th
atnual Take Back the Night Rally will
take place at 7:30 pm at the Federal
Building on the corner of Liberty and
5th. Two rallies will be held, one for
vwomen, and one for men, after which
tile women will continue the protest
With a march. Men are encouraged to
attend the rally to show solidarity with
women who are demanding their rights
to safety and freedom during the night.
The march and rally will draw atten-
tion to the need for rape awareness and
,1evention, and address crucial issues

4

4

4

111

On April 5, a racist flyer was
slipped under the doors of the
Baker-Mandela Center, the
Lesbian and Gay Rights Orga-
nizing Committee (LaGROC),
and the Latin American Soli-
darity Committee (LASC). The
flyer said, "Faggots, niggers,
and spic lovers- BEWARE!
You have gone beyond accept-
able criticism. NEVER
AGAIN will you go unpun-
ished."
The day before this flyer ap-
peared, an open letter to Presi-
dent Duderstadt was published
in the Daily, calling on him
not to appear at a fund-raising
dinner for the Jewish National
Fund, on the basis of its dis-
criminatory practices. (He ul-
timately decided not to go, and
denied that he had agreed to be
listed on the program as an
honorary chair). The open letter
to Duderstadt was signed by a
number of organizations, in-
cluding LAGROC, UCAR (the
United Coalition Against
Racism, which works closely
with the Baker-Mandela Cen-
ter), and LASC.
It seems clear that the racist 4
flyer was a response to the
open letter to Duderstadt of the
previous day. The racist/anti-
gay slurs apparently refer to the
above three organizations who
signed the letter, and the state-
ment "You have gone beyond
acceptable criticism" is equally
clear in this context.
The burning of the Pales-
tinian shanty, the acts of van-
dalism at the Daily, including
the break-in and spray-painting
of threatening anti-Palestinian
grafitti, and now this flyer,
seem to part of an ominous
pattern. A new form of violent,
openly racist activity has
emerged on campus and is at-
tempting to physically intimi-
date those who criticize Israel.
I can only hone that this

women face today including sexism,
the triple oppression of women of
color, and domestic violence. Students
and community members should attend
the rally and help empower women and
themselves.

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