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January 18, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 18, 1995

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan

Jessie Hallady
Editor in Chief
Samuel Goodstein
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

'You can't stick a knife nine inches in the back of
an oppressed person, pull it out six inches and call
it progress.'
Center for African and African American Studies Prof Daniel Hollirnan
4 Gto
r Kfl~zAJ1

Support Safewalk

Students should attend volunteer meeting tonight

it's late, it's dark outside. You face a long
walk home to your dorm or apartment. You
are alone, and you do not feel safe on Ann
Arbor's streets. You don't want to make one of
your friends walk you home, but you don't
want to go alone either. What can you do?
You can call Safewalk.
Since the fall 1994 semester, the escort
service Safewalk--along with its North Cam-
pus counterpart, Northwalk - has become a
more integral part of many University stu-
dents' lives than ever before. Fears of the Ann
Arbor serial rapist and serial molester, along
with the growing revelation for many students
that they are not immune to violent crime,
drew and continue to draw many students to
utilize Safewalk' s services. In fact, last semes-
terSafewalkconductedmore than 3,000 walks,
three times the organization's usual number of
walks per term.
Many students are now requesting that
Safewalk - which normally begins opera-
tions at 8p.m. in the Undergraduate Library -
start at 6 p.m. since during the winter, dusk
begins to fall around this time. Safewalk co-
coordinator Eric Kessell wants to open earlier
as requested. However, one problem remains.
Because of the huge influx in the number of
students requesting its escort services,
Safewalk's volunteer staff has already been
stretched to its limits. It continues to service
students, but without new volunteers it will be
unable to expand its operation hours.
To combat this shortfall, Safewalk will be
holding an emergency volunteer drive tonight

at 7 p.m. in the Henderson room of the Michi-
gan League. All students who have a few
hours to donate to an obviously important
program should attend this open house and
volunteer their services.
It has become readily apparent that stu-
dents cannot simply sit back and depend on the
Department of Public Safety or even the Ann
Arbor police to protect us from crime on
campus. While the serial rapist may finally be
behind bars, there are still criminals on the
streets of Ann Arbor and vigilance is still
needed in ensuring student safety. We, as
students, must take an active role in protecting
ourselves and each other.
Safewalk is one of the most well-known
and helpful student programs bent toward
getting students to aid other students. It can
only be imagined how many potential rape,
mugging and even murder victims were saved
from the clutches of imminent danger simply
by being escorted home by two Safewalk
volunteers. It is time to return the favor and
help Safewalk in its hour of need.
In order to better serve students, Safewalk
needs student volunteers. Too many of us
depend on Safewalk to make our nighttime
journeys throughout campus that much safer
for us to let this unquestionably beneficial
program wither from lack of student commit-
ment to keep it alive and growing.
AllUniversity students, male andfemale, should
strongly considerattendingattend Safewalk' smass
meetingtonightat7p.m. and playa substantial role
in diminishing violent crime.

Letter writers' debate on Haiti continues

Cutting off the arts

Gingrich's budget efforts
Among the spending cuts proposed by the
newly elected Republican Congress is
the curtailment of funding for the National
Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as the
National Endowment for the Humanities
(NEH). Opponents of the NEA cite the $167
million spent each year on the agency, and a
few cases of perceived obscenity supported
through grants as basis for elimination of the
program. Furthermore, they feel that if people
truly consider the arts valuable, they will sup-
port them through the private sector. It is
important to realize how ill-founded and mis-
leading these arguments are.
First, $167 million is pocket change for the
U.S. government. Not that cuts on "pocket
change" programs are not important, but the
NEA' s budget is less than two-tenths of 1
percent of the national budget. The new FSX
fighter planes the United States and Japan are
building cost over $100 million each. Indeed,
according to 1993 figures, U.S. military bands1
receive $194 million each year and consis-
tently receive 12 to 15 percent more each year
than the NEA. Apparently, military bands are
much more important to the American peopleI
than the arts.;
Throughout history, art has been a privi-
lege reserved solely for the rich. It was the goal
of President John F. Kennedy to reverse that
trend. Although Kennedy was killed before he+
could establish the NEA, his successor, Lyndon
Johnson, lived up to the legacy by launching+
the NEA into existence in September 1965.+
Richard Nixon practically tripled funds for the
program during his presidency, reasoning that,1
"if we can send men to the moon, we must be
equally concerned with life on earth. And1
nothing contributes more to the quality of life1
than the arts." Since then, a dramatic change
has swept over the art scene. With unbiased{
nanm... in,4. -Ana nrAnnt ,A ,nAiviiA lnk on1

wrongly target NEA
masses. Furthermore, the NEA has been a
catalyst in bringing American art, in all its
forms, to all Americans. Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wants voters to be-
lieve he is stripping the rich of a sacred cow,
but instead he is advocating the theft of art
from those who cannot afford to pay for it
Opponents also argue that the private sec-
tor provides enough funds for art to survive on
its own. The unanimous opinion of anyone
who follows art, however, is that few of the
private funds would be there without the initial
government support. Each federal dollar leads
to eleven private dollars - thus the NEA, in
funding American art, "primes the pump."
Without government funding, ticket prices to
plays, shows and music performances would
rise, leaving art a privilege, indeed, solely for
the rich. Included in those institutions that
would be placed in jeopardy by such cuts are
the University's own Kelsey Museum and the
Art Museum.
Another point opponents make against the
NEA is that it funds "offensive" works. They
insist that people should not have their taxes
going to "obscene" art. This reasoning for
dismantling the NEA is weak, at best. Some of
the most celebrated works of art in history
were considered utterly offensive at the time
of their creation. In addition, this point hints at
the illusion that each individual should have
complete control over where his or her tax
dollars should be spent - yet many more
people see weapons of war as more offensive
than the art the NEA supports.
Admittedly, in light of the recent drive to
balance the budget, the NEA and many other
programs may need to sustain significant cuts.
However, legislators must not be misled by
Gingrich's rhetoric. The NEA and NEH's
I,,~f *c ;tnri-ty rnnnnti,' r t i, n -3i

To the Daily:
Michigan Daily readers will
recall that a correspondence of
sorts took place some time ago
between U-M College Repub-
licans President Mark Fletcher
and me. Our differences of
opinion have manifested them-
selves in a debate involving
three intertwined issues. The
first and longest issue involves
the record of recently restored
Haitian President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide. Most argued
in this debate was the allega-
tion that Aristide encouraged
the gruesome practice of
"necklacing" (putting a gas-
drenched tire around a person's
neck and setting it ablaze), to
which I had referred to a post-
ing on the Ask Z&C column of
Left On Line by Noam
Chomsky. Mr. Fletcher should
be ashamed that he accused
Chomsky, the most frequently
cited author alive, of "allega-
tions" Still, someclarifications
need to be made on my ac-
When I said that Aristide
gave his 1991 speech in Cre-
ole, in which he referred to
necklacing, I gave that as a
symbolic example of Aristide's
concerns for the people, since
Creole is spoken by 90 percent
of Haitians. In that speech,
Aristide did refer to that prac-
tice, but the important factor to
consideris the contextin which
is occurred. As Chomsky
wrote, "People read the am-
biguous speech ... in different
ways. Personally, I read it as
calling for upholding the (Hai-
tian) constitution, and direct
action (to preserve Haiti's bur-
geoning democracy) if neces-
In saying that Aristide had
denied saying the quote, I had
meant that he denied saying it
in that context, regardless of
the number of times he indeed
mentioned it, and regardless of
whatever other uncouth indi-
viduals may attribute to the
quote, going so far as to even
cite altered versions of that
Then mention came of
Roger Lafontant, who in Janu-
Fried catfish
and MLK day
To the Daily:
I moved into East Quad with
the knowledge that the resi-
dents there were a diverse group
of people. I took pride in the
fact that my hall/floor/house
was one in which a mixture of
cultures was represented. But I
was completely and utterly

ary 1991 was stripped naked
and paraded through Port-au-
Prince by a violent mob. The
mob though arose as a result of
a command made over the ra-
dio by Lafontant to announce
the resignation of Haitian in-
terim president Ertha Trouillot.
This mention, though, ne-
glected to say that Lafontant
was once Baby Doc Duvalier's
interior minister and head of
the Tontons Macoutes (the
Duvaliers' vicious police
force), and guilty of commit-
ting untold murders and tor-
tures under the Duvaliers.
It may be argued that
Lafontant's murder was justi-
fied. I must, however, heavily
stress that I myself don't con-
done this or any violent action.
I am merely pointing out an
understandable (even if
unapprovable) reaction to de-
cades of much more extreme
violence and popular repres-
sion, created by forces (the U. S.
government, the Duvaliers, the
Tontons Macoutes and the like)
for whom Lafontant worked.
True concern about Lafontant
and these others, including
"possibly several (likely inno-
cent) others" who may have
dies as a result of the mob
against Lafontant, is antitheti-
cal to supporting agovernment
which itself supported (albeit
tacitly) nearly three decades of
bloody Duvalier rule that pre-
cipitated these deaths.
I must further stress that
there is no factual merit in
somehow connecting any of
these brutal acts to Aristide,
which includes the other 25
lynchings documented under
Aristide's 1991 tenure. Indeed,
the repeatedly made implica-
tion that Aristide was some-
how disparate from the Haitian
people is one rooted in pure
wind, since Aristide was
elected into office with 68 per-
cent of the vote, despite the
presence of seven other presi-
dential candidates. His elec-
tion and brief 1991 tenure are
the culmination of years of
massive Haitian grass roots
campaigns; Aristide was
merely the embodiment of the
may not be associated with?
Possibly. But if that was true,
why not do the same on
Ghandi's birthday? Or St.
Francis of Assisi? Why not have
a week, or a month, or a year in
which we celebrate the diver-
sity around us? I spent a sum-
mer working with Coretta Scott
King at the MLK Center for
Non-violent Social Change in
Atlanta, and through this expe-
rience, I learned enough about
MLK to know that he wasn't
nhn t rmm tin nct . _ vn

grievances and concerns of
Haitians during that time,
All these facts, of course,
refer to 1991 and don't apply
now. But regarding Aristide, I
offer this conundrum: while our
government now differs little
from the government that sup-
ported the Duvaliers, why
would the U.S. government re-
install a president so devoted to
popular concern? We may get a
clue to an answer in recent is-
sues of the New York Times,
which said that Aristide now
called for "reconciliation" be-
tween Haiti's wealthy elite and
its suffering poor.
Translation: Aristide has
caved in and more of the same
old suffering is in store for
Haiti's people. I can't blame
Aristide for going along with
the status quo, considering the
enormous pressures that the
U.S. government put on him
and on Haiti. We Americans,
nevertheless, owe it to ourselves
to support the Haitian people
even if our government forces
Aristide to deviate fromhisear-
lier political stances.
The second issue of debate
between Mr. Fletcher and my-
self involves the nature of the
media. The facetious references
that sources like the Washing-
ton Post an the Wall StreetJour-
nal as "bastions of right wing
radicalism and inaccuracy is
surprisingly close to reality.
However, inaccuracy and radi-
calism in the media does not
manifest itself explicitly, but
rather implicitly. Propaganda
is indeed most effective when it
doesn't look like propaganda.
Yet in all three of these is-
sues, little reference has been
made back to any of the numer-
ous salient points I have written
in this and my previous letters,
focusing instead on potential
ambiguities I have written, and
referring to those incessantly.
This reminds me of the New
Testament verse (Matthew 7:3):
"Why do you notice the splin-
ter in your brother's eye, but do
not perceive the wooden beam
in your own eye?"
Mitchell Szczepanczyk
LSA junior
Daily errs in
UMS article
To the Daily:
I believe that part of the
purpose of a newspaper is to
inform its community accu-
rately about events and services
available to them. Your article
on the UMS ticket rush ("UMS
holds sale for students," 1/12/
95) was not correct in its listing

Good war bad
war peace
wins over both
This is an unusual year for war
and remembrance, marking the
50th anniversary of the end of the
second World War and the 20th
anniversary of the end of the Viet-
nam War. Those wars were re-
markably different, and weremem-
ber them differently: the good war
and the bad war. What should we
make of them as they slip off into
myth and history? Is there any-
thing to learn from them?
The Second World War was
one that Americans had to be
clubbed into. It was clear to all, at
least by the fall of France in 1940,
that Hitler was the guy the word
aggressor' was made for, and was
very, very dangerous to us. The
Japanese were easier to dismiss:
their atrocious conduct in faraway
China was shrugged off as little
monkeys versus laundrymen. But
while the moral lines were clearly
drawn, Americans refused to cross
them: "It's not our war."
It became our war at Pearl Har-
bor: battleships burning, aircraft
destroyed and over two thousand
Americans dead. In the next few
months, an American-Filipino
army and the Marines garrison at
Wake Island were abandoned. Ger-
man submarines lit up the Caro-
lina coast, while our own subma-
rines were crippled by dud torpe-
does. And so in defeat and shame,
America went to war. And we won.
There were war profiteers and
black markets and draft dodgers
and blunders, but we won. Presi-
dent Roosevelt had it right from
the first day, when he thundered
that we would "win the inevitable
victory, so help us God!" All
Americans were determined that
we would. And that may have been
thekeytowhy we remember WWII
as "the good war." The icon of the
war is Joe Rosenthal's photo of
some guys in overalls doing some
heavy lifting. They happen to be
Marines, and they happen to be on
Iwo Jima, but what they capture is
the common spirit of ordinary
Americans working together to fin-
ish a tough job. That was the es-
sence of the "good war."
How different was Vietnam!
We involved ourselves in it volun-
tarily, pushing and shoving a re-
luctant ally to fight for us while
trumpeting all the while that we
were defending democracy and
whatever. When that failed, the
best and the brightest ordered U.S.
troops into the baffling and bloody
quagmire of a revolutionary war.
The war had to be limited, for we
could hardly wage total waragainst
one eruption of Communism with-
out involving the great Commu-
nist powers themselves, China and
the Soviet Union. And so the GIs
gave it everything they had, while
the rest of America paid little at-

tention. The generals predicted
victory pretty quick, but we slowly
realized that they were wrong and
we were losing. Worse, we were
losing in disunity. America was
fractured from top to bottom. Presi-
dent Johnson called it privately
"that bitch war," the daughters and
sons of the best and brightest pa-
raded the enemy's flag in protest,
and construction workers paraded
to honor the police who had
clubbed the protesters. The great
American public watched it all on
TV and chose not to participate.
The Vietnam War fizzled in a
transparent sellout of our ally. In
spite of presidential claims of
"peace with honor," Americans
understood only too well that they
had lost, had somehow failed; and
the war became "the bad war."
They differed then and still differ
now as to what went wrong, and
most agree with President Ford
that the whole thing is best forgot-




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