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March 16, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-16

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4A - The Michigan Daily -Friday, March 16, 2001

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daily. letters@umnich.edu

The weapons of war: Rocks, kids and crayons


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

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

wo nights ago,
while walking
through Pierpont
Commons, I ran into an
interesting display; against
a back wall of the lobby
were several panels cov-
ered with drawings by
Palestinian children. I
spent a long time staring at
these drawings by children trapped in a conflict-
plagued society, entranced by the strange power
of scene after scene of violence and death,
crudely sketched in crayon. It was a heart
wrenching display and I can't even begin to
think of how horrible it must be to be so young
and a witness to the type of violence that has
become commonplace in many of their lives.
But something else about these drawings
struck me as well. Most noticeable was the
common themes running through most of them.
Eighteen of the 36 drawings were of rock-
throwing crowds being mowed down by Israeli
soldiers, eight were of the tragic and widely-tel-
evised killing of 12-year-old Mohammed al-
Durra and five were of helicopters dropping
bombs on buildings.
I stepped closer and read the captions on
one of the drawings. It contained the phrase,
"Where are the eyes of the world to see what
Israel does?" Several other captions also con-
tained that phrase or very similarly worded
ones. Perhaps it is common for Palestinian chil-
dren, growing up in very poor, nearly Third
World conditions, to know and use English, but
I was surprised many of them had not just
translated captions, but English words and sen-
tences mixed in with Arabic in their drawings.
These drawing are here thanks to an increas-
ingly vocal group of students and others who
have been working hard to turn the recent vio-
lence in Israel into the most important issue on
campus. But discussions of the violence soon
lead, as they are designed to, to criticism of
many other aspects of the Israeli state, including
its very right to exist. The drawings in Pierpont
Commons were yet another piece of propagan-
da, and certainly the most ingenious one, meant
to inflame anti-Israeli sentiment. The "on-mes-

sage" scenes illustrated in those drawings and
the plaintive cries for peace those children were
doubtless encouraged to write by their teachers
are meant to emotionally manipulate people
into believing Palestinians are merely helpless
victims of a brutal oppressor.
I do not condone or try to downplay the
many unfair ways in which Israel has treated its
Arab citizens or the violations of human rights
it has perpetrated. But the recent wave of vio-
lence in Israel, which Israelis did not start, is
nothing less than an internal insurrection and
Israel has responded more calmly than most
countries facing a similar situation would.
I don't know how people expected Israelis
to react to having rocks thrown at them for
months (did they think they'd send their kids
out to throw rocks back?), but there are few
ways to deal with violent and threatening mobs
except with a good deal of force. And however
careful authorities are, people will be hurt and
killed during several months of street fighting.
It breaks my heart that so many Palestinians
have been killed, but I am also dismayed that
the authoritarian Palestinian Authority has put
forth little effort to stop the fighting. The deaths
of so many Palestinians, especially children, has
been and continues to be a futile exercise, get-
ting the Palestinians nothing, not even the nega-
tive opinion of Israel they so desperately want
the American public to develop.
In fact, the only notable result of the vio-
lence is a new Israeli prime minister, Ariel
Sharon, a right-winger with a lot of Palestinian
blood already on his hands. I have little doubt
Sharon committed atrocities that he should be
in jail for today, but if I lived in Israel, I proba-
bly would have voted for him too. Palestinians
seem to have gotten the idea that they can use
mob violence to bully Israel into giving them
anything they want (even Ehud Barak's report-
edly huge concessions were not enough) and
faced with that prospect, what can Israelis do
but put someone in power that they're sure
won't be bossed around?
Palestinians will eventually get a state of
their own, though I don't know why anyone
expects it to be better than their current situa-
tion. The vast majority of Palestinians will still

live in poverty. It, like the surrounding Arab
countries, will be a police state. As much as
violations of civil liberties by Israel are com-
plained about, a Palestinian state, like the suri
rounding Arab countries, will be virtually
devoid of freedom of speech, a free press and
freedom of assembly. Women's rights? Gay
rights? Protection of racial, ethnic or religiou4
minorities? Don't hold your breath.
How about elections? I'm sure they'll be
about as free and fair as Egypt's or Syria's.
I don't say this to deny Palestinians should
have a country of their own, but people need to
understand that neither side is an angel. I fear
seeing more people on this campus being
swayed by shocking images into believing that
Israel is the sole aggressor and not worthy of
American support, the usual argument of pro-
Palestinian groups in the U.S. and on campus.
People in this country need to understand th4
Israelis are dying too, the Palestinian Authority
won't be setting up a liberal democracy when it
works things out with Israel and turning against
our best friend in the region would be a terrible
and completely unwarranted mistake.
When we're sent drawings by kids asking,
"why doesn't the world [read: Americans] see
what Israel is doing?" I hope people realize that
those aren't just emotional outpourings, they're
very clearly targeted messages meant to manip,
ulate us. I've heard too many well-meaning pro-
gressive students, outraged at the specter of
ethnic conflict and violations of human rights,
be swayed into believing vicious claims that
Israel is practicing apartheid, ethnic cleansing
and even genocide. There has been no organ-
ized effort to push all the Palestinians out of
Israeli controlled territory and there certainly
has been no attempt to kill all of them.
People should not buy into this vilification
of Israel. It is a friend worthy of our support, a
country with a right to exist and a right to quel
violent uprisings whose rocks, and some
too, are aimed at its people.
Peter Cunnifes column runs every
other Friday. Give him eedbackat
www..michigandaily corn/orum or via
e-mail atpcunni umich.edu.

Michigan Party free
of politics
As horrified as Peter Romer-Friedman may
have been upon seeing a poster with FDR,
imagine my shock to see the Michigan Party
labeled "ultra right-wing Republican." I'm a
Michigan Party candidate. I'm definitely not
ultra right-wing. I'm pretty sure I don't even
count as a Republican. And as far as I can tell,
our "reactionary conservative agenda" isn't par-
ticularly ultra right-wing Republican.
There's a reason we're named the Michigan
Party, and not the URepubs. We're trying to
promote issues that will improve our school,
and not issues that promote the platform of a
national political party, be it Republican,
Democrat, or Green for that matter.
Doug and Chip are Republicans - I'm not
trying to deny that. But perhaps it would be
appropriate to simply think of them as Universi-
ty students foremost, and actually look at our
platform, rather than call us names.
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is a Michigan Party candidate
for the Michigan Student Assembly.
Englander's past
actions cast doubt on
The Michigan Party has nominated Doug
Tietz and Chip Englander for Michigan Student
Assembly President and Vice-President respec-
tively. Many of us remember the name Doug
Tietz because we've seen him run for various
MSA positions over the years, but few recog-
nize the name Chip Englander. Those who fol-
low MSA even slightly will recall last year's
election in which the Wolverine Party was com-
pletely thrown out of the election due to an

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infraction of the election rules and regulations
by one Chip Englander. Admittedly, I don't
remember the specifics of the scandal, but to
the best of my recollection, Englander was the
campaign manager for the Wolverine Party and
got so caught up in trying to secure votes for his
candidates, he lost track of the guidelines con-
cerning campaigning, specifically in residence
halls. On election night, Englander toured the
residence halls trying to convince students vote
for his party which is allowed, but he also
entered student's rooms and "showed" them
how to vote online, a big no-no.
Many of you might not consider Englan-
der's actions with a different party relevant to
this year's election. However, after last year's
election night debacle, the Wolverine Party was
dissolved and later reformed under the name of
the Michigan Party. Notice the connection?
Outside of the fact that most of the items on
the Michigan Party's platform cannot be signif-
icantly influenced by the Michigan Student
Association, the man they have nominated for
the Vice-President of our student body got his
own party removed from the ballot only a year
ago. Currently I do not endorse any party or
candidate for MSA because I feel that for some
time now, MSA is a waste of our tuition dollars
and a completely ineffective organization. I
have yet to see any major changes brought
about by MSA in my tenure here at the univer-
sity. In fact, the only things that come to mind

when MSA is mentioned are the passing of
"The Vagina Monologues," and the passing of a-
resolution to lift the embargo against Iraq.
Come election day, vote for whomever you'
choose. I felt that the truth about the candidates
should be brought to light.
Engineering sophomore
Hideki's sign makes *
him best
I would like to voice my support for Hidek
Tsutsumi. To all of you out there who write him
off as a joke, obviously you have not seen his
sign this year. Now that is a big sign! I am not
looking for a candidate who promises to creat
more parking and resolve global problems or
discrimination, for these unrealistic expecta-
tions are as good as promising to do nothing.
Rather, I want a candidate who can commu-
nicate with the average student. One who has a
heart of gold and a passion to listen to what I
have to say. One who can make really big signs.
One who is Hideki,
LSA sophomore

The role of the Michigan Student Assembly

Amidst all the attention that is given to
the Michigan Student Assembly election, as
well as the energy that is spent on often con-
troversial topics, it is easy to understand why
many, including Kyle Mazurek, may ques-
tion what exactly MSA does. Even more
importantly, what does MSA do that benefits
I have spent four years on MSA, three
serving as the Chairman of the Community
Service Commission of the Assembly. I have
watched representatives, administrations,

I have gotten to work with many students
who are a part of this campuses service com-
munity, and am confident to say that all of
them - from the largest groups to the small-
est - have spent the money we allot them
- your money - on worthwhile projects,
which are undertaken with the best of inten-
Funding is an important issue. The
responsibility to insure that it is carried out
fairly, with viewpoint neutrality, and with a
serious commitment to better the campus
through community engagement is one that
is taken very seriously by everyone on the
Community Service Commission. The job of

MSA meeting. The point is this: Make the
people who are running accountable to you
now, so they will be accountable if they are
elected. Make the election more than about
catch-phrases and nice chalk. By being
involved you can help to insure that the
Assembly that is ultimately elected is one
that is comprised of honest individuals with
constructive and realistic agendas.
The question of what MSA does is a fair
one ... especially amidst the semblance of
disunity, argumentation, and election time
haggling that too often seems to be the focus
of MSA's attention. For myself, and I know
for many who are involved with the funding

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