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October 08, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-08

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 8, 1990
~1e £idptjan Bailyg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief

Opinion Editor

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.


Magnet in the Gulf?

CWV(w OV c~o -E)I 1EcCY"
Amnesty Int'l to protest Chinese rights abuses

Crisis is attracting scarce
tering its tenth week, the enormity of
what the United States has taken on is
becoming increasingly apparent. Even
as Congress agonized last week during
its budget debates over how to further
cut already strained social services, the
Bush administration announced quietly
that the troop deployment to Saudi
Arabia was going to cost more than $1
billion a month - a figure four times
higher than the Pentagon's original
Why those troops are there - or
what they are supposed to accomplish
- is much less clear than the stark
bottom line of how much they will
cost. Much like the money which
Washington gives to Middle Eastern
countries, which receive over half of all
U.S. foreign aid appropriations, the
money going to the Gulf is disappear-
ing down a bottomfless pit and accom-
plishing few of the objectives for
which it was purportedly intended.
PresidentBush justified military in-
terivention in the Gulf by appealing to
the "American way of life." Since the
end of World War II, U.S. administra-
tions have defended similar expendi-
tures in countries such as Israel, Le-
banon, Egypt, and Iran with references
to "American-style democracy" and
"national security."
And yet today, largely as a result of
this foreign policy, the Middle East is
arguably more unstable - with poten-
tially more calamitous consequences -
than at any point in its history. Wash-
ington has played the largest role in
arming the Middle East, consequently
contributing to the current military cri-
The region to which Washington
claims to bring peace has seen five
major wars between Israel and the
surrounding Arab regimes; two wars
between its erstwhile ally Iran and its
subsequent ally, Iraq; and a major
destabilization of Lebanon brought on

U.S. funds, resources
by the military hardware which all of
these countries obtained in part or
whole from the United States.
Moreover, Washington's Middle
East policy has been egregiously in-
consistent in its application of princi-
ples such as "democracy," "human
rights," and self-determination." Nei-
ther Iran nor Iraq are, by any stretch of
the imagination, concerned with
democracy, and yet at various times the
United States has supported both of
them - in the case of Iraq, until just a
few months ago.
Israeli human rights abuses against
the Palestinians and Iraq's use of poi-
son gas against its own Kurdish citi-
zens are routinely passed over in si-
lence. And Washington's opportunistic
concern for Kuwait's right to self-de-
termination stands as a stark reminder
of previous American silence when the
Shah unilaterally annexed three islands
belonging to the United Arab Emirates,
Morocco illegally occupied the Western
Sahara, and Israel invaded and occu-
pied southern Lebanon.
Forty-five years after becoming the
major power in the Middle East, the
balance sheet on U.S. policy there is
unremittingly negative: allies whose
regimes grow steadily more dictatorial;
peoples who, resentful of their own
leaders and of U.S. policy toward Is-
rael, are increasingly anti-American;
economies which, distorted by their
disproportionate arms expenditures,
stand poised on the brink of annihila-
tion; millions dead in wars precipitated
by either U.S. policy or U.S.
If President Bush is truly concerned
about forging "peace in the Middle
East," he can begin bringing it about by
halting weapons deals like the one just
concluded with Saudi Arabia; cutting
off all military aid to the region; and
allowing the people of the Middle East
a greater role in determining their own
future and solving their own problems.

By Anna Stubblefield
Freedom of expression is an important
concern for many students at the Univer-
sity. Whether the debate is about a Uni-
versity police force, policies to end the ha-
rassment of minorities, or academic free-
dom, it is clear that students on all sides
of the issues believe that freedom of ex-
pression is a fundamental human right.
The members of Amnesty Interna-
tional-U of M agree. We would like to en-
courage students not to limit their concern
about freedom of expression to our cam-
pus alone.,
All over the world, students have been
denied this basic human right. China came
to the attention of the international media
over a year ago for brutally crushing the
peaceful protests of its students.
Amnesty International-U of M wants
our campus to remember the massacre at
Tiananmen Square and the subsequent
massacre in Chengdu. The bloodshed is
not a distant memory - it continues daily
as students are imprisoned, tortured and
executed for having peacefully exercised
their right to freedom of expression.
The vast majority of civilians killed by
government forces in Beijing between
June 3 and June 9, 1989 - estimated by
Amnesty International to number at least
1,000 - were unarmed. They were killed
and thousands more were injured by troops
firing both at random and deliberately into
The killing of unarmed civilians con-
stitutes a gross violation of human rights.
The United Nations Code of Conduct for
Law Enforcement Officials stresses that
the use of firearms is an extreme measure
and that firearms should not be used except
when a suspected offender offers armed re-
sistance or otherwise jeopardizes the lives
of others.
As a member of the United Nations,
the Chinese government has acknowledged
Stubblefield, an LSA senior, is a member
of Amnesty International-U of M.

and agreed to be bound by this interna-
tional standard for the protection of human
rights. Yet the Chinese government fla-
grantly ignored its agreement when it
chose to use the most brutal of measures
against a peaceful demonstration.
According to Chinese official reports,
at least 6,000 people have been arrested
since June, 1989, in connection with pro-
democracy protests. Amnesty International
believes that the true number is much
higher. Many of those detained in Beijing
are reported to have been severely beaten
by soldiers; some were reportedly tortured
(including the use of electric batons).
In a number of cases, detainees are re-
ported to have died as a result of torture.
The United Nations convention Against
Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and De-
grading Treatment, which China ratified in
1988, recommends safeguards against tor-
ture: limits to incommunicado detention,
legal guarantees that all detainees be
brought before a judge promptly, and pro-
visions for prompt and regular access to
prisoners by families, lawyers and doctors.
None of these safeguards have yet been in-

The Chinese government has publicly
dismissed the United Nation's and others'
expressions of concern as unreasonable and
without foundation. It claims that no for-
eign country or international organization
has the right to interfere in a nation's in-
ternal affairs.
Human rights violations, however, are
not "purely an internal affair." Through
the United Nations, the international
community has recognized that there are
basic human rights which are universal
and must be protected irrespective of na-
tional boundaries. The obligation to en-
sure that these fundamental rights are re-
spected is an international responsibility.
The members of Amnesty Interna-
tional-U of M feel that this responsibility
should be shared by individuals, including
students. Please join with us in an appeal
to the Chinese authorities to release all
those imprisoned for the peaceful expres-
sion of their political beliefs; to stop exe-
cutions and commute all death sentences;
to allow those facing trial access to fam-
ily, doctors and lawyers, and a proper
chance to prepare and present their defense;

The bloodshed is not a distant memory - it continues
daily as students are imprisoned, tortured and
executed for having peacefully exercised their right
to freedom of expression.

Condoms in N.Y.

Action will deter AIDS,
lor of the New York City schools an-
nounced a plan for the distribution of
condoms to junior high and high
school students. Though a similar plan
failed to get majority support from the
Board of Education in 1986, it seems
that the board members will now
overwhelmingly support this measure
because of the increasing number of
New York teenagers afflicted by the
AIDS virus, as well as a rise in the
teenage pregnancy rate.
A recent study showed that 80 per-
cent of New York City's teenagers
have engaged in sexual intercourse by
the time they reach their 19th birthday.
Between 1980 and 1989, the pregnancy
rate for this age group went from 112
to 128 per 1,000. In addition, New
York has the the highest number of
teenagers with AIDS in the country.
These startling statistics have made
clear to city officials that calling for
teenagers to abstain from sexual activ-
ity is not going to work. Instead, offi-
cials now see that they must accept that
adolescents are having sex, but are
doing so with neither proper education
nor adequate accessibility to effective
birth controltdevices. The condom, be-
cause it can also protect against AIDS,
is the most effective of these devices.
The school chancellor's plan is two-

unwanted pregnancies
pronged. First, he plans to enforce the
"family living" curriculum which
teaches students of all ages about
health, sex education, and AIDS.
While this program has been a part of
the school system for some time, it has
not been followed by many schools,
and, therefore, will now be more
closely monitored. Secondly, the plan
for condom distribution will be limited
to school health clinics, of which there
are only 20 for all the junior high and
high schools of the city.
While the small number of school
health clinics will impede thousands of
New York City teenagers who would
benefit from access to condoms, it is at
least a beginning. School officials have
finally realized that the problem of
teenagers practicing haphazard sex is
real and must be combated more effec-
Telling students to abstain from
sexual intercourse has been futile and,
if continued, will cause not only an
inordinate amount of unwanted preg-
nancies, but also an unnecessary loss
of life. Hopefully, the success of the
New York City plan will serve as an
example to the rest of the junior high
and high schools throughout the coun-
try that are dealing with the reality of
sexual activity among teenagers.

Death penalty is a
necessary alternative
To the Daily:
In "Death Penalty: U.S. Policy on
Human Rights Shows its Hypocrisy"
(9/28/90), the Daily deems the United
States' court system "no less efficient" a
"homicidal institution" than the mafia or
Salvadoran death squads. This article also
points out that, if the 2,000 people who
were sentenced to death in the United
States during a three-year period beginning
in 1985 had been executed, our nation
would have executed more people than any
This statement seems to contradict the
editorial staff's claim to homicidal effi-
ciency. Instead of executing criminals
summarily and without prejudice, as do
the Salvadoran death squads, our judicial
system allows for a lengthy and extensive
process of review and appeal, at any time
during which the death sentence may be
We all live in the same society as
Charles Walker and Ted Bundy (another
killer whose "pleas for mercy" were also

troduced in China.
A fair trial before an independent tri-
bunal has also been declared a basic right
by the United Nations. In China, however,
defendants do not meet with their lawyers
until a few days before the trial, some-
times not until the day of the trial, leaving
no time to prepare their defense.
Furthermore, the Chinese judiciary sys-
tem practices a "verdict first, trial second"
policy, rendering the trial itself a mere
formality. The fate of defendants, includ-
ing the possibility of execution or long-
term imprisonment, depends on the whims
of government officials.
society's rules, which are determined by
the general will of all the members of so-
The Daily also proposes that execution
"admits no possibility of cure or correc-
tion." Let us consider the alternative: pris-
ons in this country have become merely
institutions of higher education for crimi-
nals. Inmates are exposed to other criminal
minds and, when paroled, return to the
streets with greater intent and criminal
skill than before they were sent to prison.
If heinous criminals are put in prison
for life, they are neither being corrected
nor cured, but instead the problem is being
ignored. Would you prefer, to execution,
that the Ted Bundys and Charles Walkers
in this country be "corrected" and released
back into society, or, alternatively, that
they stay imprisoned for the remainder of
their lives so that they can become in-
structors for other inmates?
Chris Thompson
First-year LSA student
J. William Lowry
First-year Engineering student
Caution would stem

and to prohibit and punish all torture or
ill-treatment of detainees.
Amnesty International-U of M will re-
name the Diag "Tiananmen Square" for
tomorrow and Wednesday in honor of the
students massacred in June, 1989, and the
students still suffering persecution today.
There will be a rally at noon tomorrow a
vigil at 8 that evening. Members of the
group will attempt to gather 2,000 petition
signatures asking for the release of stu-
dents jailed for their participation in
peaceful demonstrations.
this: "If you are not in a position to han-
dle all the possible consequences of your
behavior, then abstain."
If more people followed this simple
rule, situations like Bell's and the number
of abortions in general would decrease
John Wittkoski
Engineering Sophomore
Metzgar is 'ignorant'
of 'women's realities'
To the Daily:
My immediate response to Emily Met-
zgar's letter (9/27/90) was anger and
outrage. Later, though, I realized that her
letter should be approached with a view-
point of compassion, empathy, and per-
haps even pity.
Metzgar's letter demonstrated a gross
ignorance of women's realities, women's
lives, and women's choices. I would chal-
lenge Metzgar to work to understand how
women, herself included, can become vic-
tims of circumstances created by a patriar-
chal society.
Perhaps if Metzger could try to under-


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