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January 29, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-29

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jy religion
Inside the cavernous Church of San
Juan in the highlands of southern
Chiapas state, Indian men, women and
children live out their devotion to a
centuries-old blend of Roman Catholic
and pagan rituals.
Rows offresh flowers and clay animal
statues capped with white candles sur-
round the glass-enclosed images ofCatho-
saints crowned with bright ribbons.
nstead of the sacramental symbols of
bread and wine, the Chamula people par-
take from hundreds of liter-size bottles of
a homemade rum, known as"posh," along
with plenty of Coke and Pepsi, which
enjoy a sort ofmystical status in religious
offerings here. Amid the haze of incense,
local religious leaders distribute the small
glasses of a strong clear rum fermented
from sugar cane that follows the Tzotzil
*lians from the time of their birth to the
Villages like this one, with its 55,000
militantly traditional inhabitants, have
become a bulwark against the wildfire-
like spread of evangelical Protestantism,
whose adherents in Latin America have
jumpedfrom 5.2millionin 1960tonearly
50 million today. In the highlands, it is a
conflict awash in the blood of innocents.
"The evangelists cannot reason," said
omingo Lopez Chacojchu, 63, whose
testant brother was expelled from
Chamula four years ago.
"We are pure Catholics. We know
how to pray, how to drink. They don't
believe in our traditions. They don't
drink. If they return, they will be met
with bullets," he said.
Several miles from Chamula, in a
cinder-block evangelical settlement
known as New Palestine, Dominga
pez Lopez lives with her four chil-
en, including a 4-month-old boy who
will never know his father. She is a
widow at 29.
Her husband, Domingo, a 33-year-
old evangelical preacher, was prosely-
tizing in the village of Arbenza on Oct.
18 when a group of armed Chamula
leaders surrounded the home of an ac-
quaintance, she says. A bullet fired by
one of the men perforated a wood door
d Lopez's heart. Though the owner
.the house and 15 other witnesses
gave statements to investigators, Lopez
and local evangelical leaders say there
was no arrest.
Her family fled the Chamula village
of Tres Cruces five years ago. "If we
had not left voluntarily," she says, "they
would have killed us. Women were
raped. Men were beaten and killed.
There were kidnappings."
Underthecloak oftradition liepolitical
economic realities that are fostering
ethnic hatred, the expulsion of tens of
thousands ofevangelical Protestants from
the highlands and waves of bloodshed in
Mexico's poorest andmost-divided state.

The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 29, 1996 - 5A,
Rabin's assassin
oeta ao dfiiese
own lega de J Lo

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews rise up in protest outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. The demonstrators demanded
that Israel's health minister resign for supporting a policy that routinely destroys donated Ethiopian blood.
Ethopin Jwsprotest Ismael's
destruction ofdntdblood

Los Angeles Times
TEL AVIV, Israel -Yigal Amir, the
confessed assassinof Israeli Prime Min-
ister Yitzhak Rabin, took over his own
defense yesterday after one of his law-
yers quit and the presiding judge ac-
cused the second lawyer of incompe-
Amir seemed unshaken by the col-
lapse of his defense team and calmly
cross-examined police investigators
who painted a picture of him celebrat-
ing Rabin's death after his arrest.
"When you were questioning me,
what was your impression of my state
of mind? Was I angry? Did it look like
I was seeking revenge?" Amir asked
Mordechai Naftali, one of Amir's ini-
tial interrogators.
"You said it was not out of ven-
geance," Naftali responded.
"It was your impression that I was
agitated or anxious?" Amir asked.
"My impression was that he was as
cold as a fish," Naftali said, turning to
the three-judge panel hearing the case
in Tel Aviv district court.
In an earlier court appearance, Amir
said that he had not intended to kill
Rabin but had hoped to render the prime
minister incapable of governing by
shooting him in the back.
If Amir is convicted of murder, he
will serve a mandatory life sentence. If
he is convicted of the lesser charge of
manslaughter, he will serve no more
than 20 years.
The 25-year-old Amir, a third-year
law student, has confessed to shooting
Rabin to death Nov. 4 as the prime
minister left a peace rally in Tel Aviv.
An observant Jew with far-right politi-
cal leanings, Amir said he shot Rabin in
the hopes that he would put an endto his
peacemaking efforts with the Palestin-
Naftali testified that during his first

interrogation, Amir asked for cookies
and wanted to toast Rabin's death.
"He asked me if he could have some
food, and I told him, 'Do you see us
eating?' He said then, 'Well, give me
some cookies,' and I said firmly, 'We
don't have any cookies.' Then he said,
'Well,then, let's raise a toast."'
At the start of yesterday's session,
attorney Mordechai Ofri told the court
he was quitting Amir's defense team,
citing his lack of control over Amir's
line of defense and a shortage of funds'
to pay for expert witnesses. Presiding,
Judge Edmond Levi accepted Ofri's
That left Jonathan Ray Goldberg, an
immigrant from the United States who
lives in a Jewish settlement in the West
Bank, to defend Amir. Goldberg, who
speaks Hebrew poorly and seems to
have a limited grasp of the Israeli legal
system, is believed to have been hired
by supporters of Amir's who hope to
turn the case into a show trial for right-
wing ideology.
Goldberg succeeded yesterday only
in enraging Levi, who at one point
lost his temper as he rejected
Goldberg's appeal to delay the case
and give him more time to prepare a
"If you ask one more time for a delay,
I will consider forcing you to pay all the
court expenses," Levi responded. "The
negligence in which you are handling
this case is unbelievable."
Prosecutors said that because Amir
disputes only the motive behind the
shooting and not the facts surrounding
it, they are cutting their witness list"
from 47 to 15 and may finish calling
witnesses as early as today.
It is not clear whether Amir will call
any witnesses in his defense. Levi let
Amir cross-examine witnesses yester-
day even afterGoldberg questionedthem:

Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM - Denouncing as
racist an Israeli government policy of
destroying blood donated by Ethio-
pian Jews, thousands of Ethiopians
clashed with police outside the prime
minister's office during an angry dem-
onstration yesterday
Police fired water cannons, rubber
bullets, percussion grenades and tear
gas at the protesters, and several Ethio-
pians reported being beaten by club-
wielding riot police. Army Radio re-
ported that 62 people were injured, 41
of them police officers.
Police spokesperson Eric Bar-Chen
said police used force only after dem-
onstrators broke through fences and
attacked the building where Prime Min-
ister Shimon Peres was holding the
weekly Cabinet meeting.
Bar-Chen estimated that between
5,000 and 6,000 Ethiopians joined the
demonstration. They were confronted
by about 500 police officers.
The demonstrators demanded that
Health Minister Ephraim Sneh re-
sign for supporting the policy of rou-
tinely destroying donated Ethiopian
blood. Sneh has said the policy -
instituted in 1991 by the nation's
blood bank - is necessary because
Ethiopians have a higher incidence
of HIV infection, the human immu-
nodeficiency virus that causes AIDS,
than any other ethnic group in Israel.
He and other health-care officials
insist that the policy is based on
statistics alone.
But yesterday's demonstrators -
who ranged from older men and women
dressed in traditional robes and carry-
ing colorful umbrellas to young people
wearing T-shirts and high-topped

sneakers - said the blood policy is
painful evidence of how Israeli society
discriminates against Ethiopians, who
are black.
through shattered T
glass outside the
building, the dem- outthat
onstrators were de-
fiant. De
We have kept si-
lent until today,"
said Natan
Solomon, a19-year-
old Ethiopian who
stood in the crowd.
"But this blood is-
sue brought us out. we are I
We won't be silent
Kifle Tessema, a Leader
32-year-old who Je
runs an Ethiopian
community health
project, agreed. "You put a lot of issues
together and sometimes itjust takes one
more thing to make the situation ex-
plode" he said. "This blood issue is all
about racism. What connects us? It is
blood. If our blood is not Jewish, than
what are we, animals?"
Addressing the crowd with a'bullhorn,
Addisa Musala, a leader of the Ethio-
pian Jewish community, declared
Israel's efforts to integrate Ethiopian
Jews into an overwhelmingly white Is-
raeli society a failure.
"For 10 years they have told us that


our immigration was successful,"
Musala said to the cheering crowd
that packed the parking lot and spilled
into the streets
outside the
p r i m e
Fm inrister's of-
S havefice. "It was a
lie. Today, we
td ifound out that
we have been
treated like
animals. ... All
, tagw_,eask for is to
gZIV i us the
{ feeling that we
are Israeli and
raei ... belong to this
"a.S O Ce et y."
A ddisa Musala MazeZanava,
n the Ethipial an 18-year-old
l ish c ommunwty who lives in the
southern town
of Beersheva,
said she doubts she will ever feel a
part of Israeli society.
With his executive offices virtually
under sicgc, Peres agreed to meet three
leaders of the community. After the
5Csei on, the covernment issued a state-
nent sayin it wil I form a committee to
examine the blood donation policy and
other aspects of Ethiopian integration
into Israeli society. Peres promised to
chair the committee himself.
"In my heart, I am weeping," Immi-
gration Minister YairTzaban told Army

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12I 01.




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