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November 08, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-08

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Friday, November 8, 1991

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editor

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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.

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T he police report conducted by the Ann Arbor
Police Department concluded that police
acted appropriately in gassing and Macing students
on South University this September. According to
the report, police actions were justified because the
crowd of students was "unruly."The report's origi-
nal premise that it was the students' behavior that
Was in question shows a basic misunderstanding of
the situation.
In truth, it was the police who were out of
control on South University. When a virtual army
converged on the crowd outside Good Time
Charley's bar, tensions were heightened. If indi-
viduals were being disorderly, they should have
been dealt with at this time without the massive use
of crowd-control tactics. But the police assumed
the students were too great a threat, and lashed out
accordingly - so they thought.
The report further justified the police action as
a means of preventing extensive property damage.
But this type of vandalism just wasn't occurring.
The assembly of students was merely a drunken
crowd, not a violent mob.
What the report should have said is that the Ann
Arbor police made a mistake. Not only did they
overestimate the danger of the situation, but pun-
ished students indiscriminately. All students in the
area were forced to bare the burden of inhaling tear
gas, whether they were unruly ornot. Furthermore,
the police randomly struck back at individual
students with clubs and chemical Mace. These
students were attacked on an individual basis, not
for committing a particular crime, but simply for
being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The methods used by the Ann Arbor police,

with University police acting in a supplementary
role, represent more than mere insensitivity. They
represent a cruel streak in a police force who more
and more views ordinary students as adversaries
and even criminals.
If a calm, sensible, and small force of police
officers handled the incident, they could have
gotten the crowd to go home and still prevented the
property damage they so feared. But instead they
took the easy way out and brought out the gas. Both
students and police suffered for this foolish deci-
The report is the second released in recent
weeks justifying police actions despite a severe
threat posed to students. Recently the University
released a report exonerating a University police
officer for drawing his gun on a fleeing drug felon
despite the crowd of students milling about in
Angell Hall. It is disheartening that even the Uni-
versity, which is here to serve students, does not
respect its students' rights to a safe environment.
This type of irresponsibility cannot be written
off. The South University police file must not be
thrown in a drawer, most likely never to be evalu-
ated again. If Ann Arbor and University police are
going to commit atrocities against students, they
must at least admit their mistakes. How else can
they ever hope to improve their record?
September's police action will certainly not be
the last attack on students. When every student
with a bear bottle is viewed as a threat to Ann
Arbor's security, how else is a police force supposed
to act? It is for precisely this reason that Ann Arbor
authorities must start by admitting their mistakes,
and then begin fighting this dangerous attitude.



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Out in the cold
Engler cuts exacerbate the plight of the homeless

Kohns letter insults
genocide victims
To the Daily:
Judging by his letter to the
editor, Daniel Kohns is an
extremely confused individual.
Certainly, as a Jew with even the
most threadbare knowledge of the
histories of the Holocaust and of
the Arab-Israeli relations, he
should be aware that comparing
the Nazi genocide of European
Jewry to Israel's treatment of
Palestinians in its occupied
territories is disingenuous, to say
the least.
Granted, that Israel's treatment
of the Palestinians has been
heavy-handed, often brutal;
granted, that the Israelis have
engaged in behavior that has
constituted a violation of indi-
vidlual rights; however, these
dlded together since 1967, 1948
or even beginning with the first
Zionist settlers in Palestine in the
late 1800s, how can one even
mention these actions in the same
breath as the Holocaust.
Between 1939 and 1945, Nazi
Germany and its allies killed fully
one half of all Jews living in the
world at the time; in the areas that
they occupied, more than three
fourths of the Jews were extermi-
nated by every conceivable
means. In comparison, how many
Palestinians have been killed by
Israeli security forces and Jewish
settlers since 1967? Since the
creation of Israel, which these
same Palestinians opposed in
1948? Since the turn of the
century, which saw massive anti
Jewish rioting among Arabs three
times under the British Mandate,
with the deaths of hundreds of
This, Mr. Kohns, is genocide?
To use the word in the same
breath in describing both the
Holocaust and the intifada is an
insult to every Jew, including
myself, whose relatives were
slaughtered by the Turks in 1915;
to every Cambodian, whose
relatives died under the Khmer
Rouge; in short, to every victim,
and every survivor of a real
Palestinians may like to think
that they are victims, and in many
ways they certainly are. But to
compare themselves with Jews
being sent to the gas chambers is
nothing but cheap, insulting
Believe me, Mr. Kohns, Todd
Endelman and other pro-Israel
professors have every right to

decry Bradley Smith's
hatemongering thoughts; they
know that onegcan protest
historical mockery and not to feel
obliged to mock history in the
process. And the next time you
think you see genocide in the
progress, try to open your eyes.
Peter Kogan
LSA senior
Asians, Blacks faced
similar hardships
To the Daily:
While we respect and agree
with many of the opinions
expressed by Reverend Al
Sharpton in the Weekend inter-
view (11/1/91), we feel compelled
to make clear the inaccuracy of
one of his statements. In the
context of describing the difer-
ences in the historical experiences
of African Americans and Asian
Americans, Rev. Sharpton states
that "there was never a law set up
against Asians in this country."
While there are certainly
differences in the two experi-
ences, this line of distinction that
Sharpton draws (between racism
through "emotional feelings" and
racism enforced by law) is a false
one, and one that reflects the
ignorance about Asian Americans
shared by most Americans. Yes,
like African Americans, Asians
and Asian Americans (lid and do
face racism and violence because
of racist "emotional feelings."
But, contrary to Sharpton's
statement, they also did and do
face racism condoned by law.
There have been many
discriminatory laws aimed at
Asians and Asian Americans
throughout our history. Just a
brief sampling: From the 1880s to
1965, immigration laws discrimi-
nated against Asians. The titles of
some of these laws (Chinese
Exclusion Act of 1882, Asian
Exclusion Act of 1924) speak for
themselves. Laws in various states
prevented Asians from owning
land and property. In 1922 and
1923, the Supreme Court ruled
that Asians could not become
U.S. citizens. It was not until
1946 that all Asians were finally
considered eligible for citizen-
And in perhaps the one
episode in Asian-American
history that people do know
about, Americans were rounded
up and imprisoned in "intern-
ment" camps for no crime other
than being of Japanese descent.
Even today, racially motivated

violence against Asian Ameri-
cans, which has been on the rise,
is largely ignored and goes nse
unpunished by the judicial
It was both disheartening and
infuriating to see an African-
American leader who works to
fight racism make comments
which so obviously showed
ignorance of these realities of
American history, especially
important for people of color to
learn about each other's historical
experiences of racism, because
although there are many differ-
ences, we all share the common
experience of injustice and denial
of full equality.
Instead of trying to decide
who has had it worse, we should
be working together and tapping
the collective strength we need to
finally do away with the injustice'
that we all still face.
Jonathan Sung Bidol
LSA senior
Molly Jung Bidol
LSA junior
Shilpa Satoskar
LSA senior
Weston Woo
Engineering senior
Free thought policy
is not enforced
To the Daily:
I recently put a sign on the
door of my dorm room that read:
"AIDS - Anal Inflicted Death
Sentence." The next day, I was
informed by a Resident Advisor
that this was nottallowed because
it was offensive to some people.
I then read a passage from the
"Living at Michigan Credo"
which states, "The University is a
special place. It is a community
designed to foster freedom of
thought and unconventional, even
uncomfortable opinions."
The hypocrisy of this Univer-
sity makes me ashamed that I
attend school here.
Dave Corbett
Engineering first-year
Short and succinct
To the Daily:
You suck.
Michael Skinner,*
LSA sophomore.

he winds of winter are sweeping through the
area. The first dusting of snow has fallen, and
the holiday season looms on the horizon. As the
weather cools, visions arise for many of us of
Thanksgiving dinner, of skiing, and family.
But there is another symbol of the colder weather
- homeless people queueing up by the hundreds
to spend a night, or an hour, in a warm place.
With the weather extremely cold earlier than
any year in recent memory, combined with the
continued recession and Gov. Engler's slashing of
the general assistance welfare program, the prob-
lem is even worse. There are more homeless, with
less money, fewer beds, and a colder sidewalk to
sleep on.
On Wednesday, 150 protesters stormed the City-
County Building in Detroit to demand that the City
Council pass a moratorium on evictions in the city,
in order to keep the victims of Engler's cuts off the
streets. The Council responded by calling on Mayor
Coleman Young to open more temporary shelters
in Detroit's recreation centers.

While there is little doubt that more shelters
need to be opened, the tragic effects of Engler's
cuts are the real issue here.
In total, the end of General Assistance pay-
ments cuts off the main income of 81,000childless
Michigan adults. One can only wonder what was
on Engler's mind when he stubbornly left these
people to fend for themselves in a job market that
simply cannot support them.
Engler argued that the cuts were needed because
the state could no longer afford to make the pay-
ments with new budget restraints. How then can
Michigan afford to deal with 81,000 homeless
people when the flickering signs of recovery seen
carlier this year have again been overshadowed by
a deepening recession?
The Michigan Court ofAppeals will soon act on
a request to restore General Assistance benefits.
That prospect offers some hope for these people.
But the clock is ticking. And each day those 81,000
people go without General Assistance is another
day that they are, quite literally, left out in the cold.

Middle East

Peace conference participants
W hen George Bush opened the Middle East
peace conference in Madrid last week, he
emphalized that no one but Israel and the Arab
countries themselves could achieve peace in the
region. No matter how committed other nations
such as the United States or the Soviet Union are to
this goal, a secure and meaningful agreement can
only come from within.
So far, however, the conference has been largely
unproductive. Because of seemingly fundamental
differences between Israel and its Arab neighbors,
the peace debate has too often degenerated into
counterproductive personal accusations of terror-
ism, and futile squabblings over sites to hold
bilateral negotiations.
The delegates who seem most interested in
substantial negotiations are the Palestinians. Their
participation in the peace conference as a separate
nation is itself an important achievement. This is
the first time they have been officially recognized

should give peace a chance
in the international community as a distinct people.
At last the Palestinians are not forced to plead their
case through other Arab states, who may or may
not be genuinely sympathetic to their plight.
Furthernore, the Palestinians are the only del-
egates who have a clear objective - an indepen-
dent state. And unlike Egypt, Syria, Jordan,
Lebanon, and Israel, the Palestinians have nothing
to lose.
The Middle East is a timebomb waiting to
explode. Bilateral regional concessions must be
made soon, to avoid any escalation into armed
Nonation at the conference can afford to discard
this opportunity for peace, especially as a result of
polemics and petty disagreements. If the Middle
East nations do not set aside theirminordifferences
to sit together and negotiate a peace plan, the long-
term results will be much more costly than the
consequences of losing face in Madrid.


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Con' seder Sharpton"I

by Renee Bushey
I left the Power Center after
hearing Al Sharpton speak
wondering what all the supposed
controversy was about? What is
so controversial about calling for
racial and social justice in
America? I thought the 80s were
I don't pretend to know a lot
about the history of Al Sharpton's
movement, but obviously he is an
activist for a cause that he
believes in. Unfortunately, his
- style and personality get more
attention - and criticism - than
the issues he addresses.
But can he be called "anti-
white" because he speaks out
about racism against Blacks? That
assumption is right un there with

well. And so goes the game of
politics - at least Sharpton has
an admirable cause. Statistics for
the life prospects of Blacks in this
country are simply appalling. For
example, Black males have a
much greater chance of going to
jail than of going to college. It
seems there's something wrong
Yet, as Sharpton pointed out,
in times of economic uncertainty,
the middle class turns against the
lower classes. They do not want
the slightest burden imaginable
from helping the underprivileged.
Affirmative action is seen as
reverse discrimination, and
welfare as supporting bums. As
Sharpton says, the middle class
does not question the right of

s message
conservative tactic. George Bush
has no qualms appealing to racial
hatred by calling "Quotas" and
vetoing the Civil Rights Bill. So,
it isn't all that surprising to have a
"former" Klan member campaign-
ing for Governor in Louisiana on
the Republican ticket.
Sharpton is also criticized as
being an anti-Semite, which also
seems unfounded. He seemed to
be reaching out to Jews to identify
with the struggle. He said he
wanted to challenge, not attack
Jews, who have suffered much
racial oppression historically. He
warned that if a society built on
mutual respect isn't established,
no group can be safe from
oppression, case in point being
David Duke. Pointless hatred


Nuts and Bolts


by Judd Winick
WE; . E T. ThAT



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