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September 24, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-24

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 24 , 2001

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
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

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
( LIt is right that the United
States should punish the Taliban
for refusing to hand over Bin
Laden and that it should go into
Afghanistan to seek him out. It is
right that the training camps and
terrorist infrastructure should be
destroyed. But the West must be
wary of killing people who have
had little say in who rules them
and of pouring fuel on the flames
of Islamic fundamentalism. This
is a war without end and a war
that we can never be certain we
have won."
nYesterday's staff editorial
in London 's Suna Times.

~4W.m

U

Poai4 Pa&
u Of A('a$A1,

--------------

Dbow banes

m

Dishonoring those we've lost by shouting

I

JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

he burden of my
- last summer at
home began to
weigh more heavily as the
final days of July slipped
into August. I had come
h:home in June unenthusias-
tic, even averse, to seeing
any of the people to whom
I'd ever applied the title
"best friend." I'd fallen out of touch to some
degree with everybody, a separation compound-
ed by this same "everybody's" choice to stay in
New England - and therefore together. Every-
body, that is, except me.
But as June gave way to July I had forgotten
Ann Arbor and remembered to ask for marsh-
mallow instead of whipped cream on my choco-
late-raspberry-truffle ice cream from Kathy
John's, the restaurant where every night,
whether we were hungry or had no other place
to go, we'd avoid the unavoidable upcoming
semester. And the we became coherent again as,
determined to avoid any cliched "nothing left in
common," I found in my friends people
changed just like I had been changed by our first
year at school.
Our complaints had turned from calculus
labs to sweatshop labor as our concept of "sit-
in" adjusted to include the term "living wage."
Some evenings we'd sit on the soccer fields of
our old middle school and plan the revolution
until someone would drop the loaded declara-
tion, "Well, I've got work tomorrow" and soon
a caravan of cars would disperse from the park-
ing lot, each one honking softly as it turned out
of sight. Midnight had become late again.

It was, therefore, a given that I'd call one of
these re-found friends on the evening of Sept..
11 to discuss and dissect the beyond-tragic,
beyond-human, morning attacks. "Isn't it
awful?" I asked him, hating myself for thinking.
of no more eloquent way to define what I now
euphemistically refer to as "the events of the
11th." "Yeah," he replied. "But you know
what? The United States has already killed half
a million Iraqi children with its sanctions.
That's awful."
This person is one of the most compassion-
ate I have ever met and I don't think he realized
what he was saying. The thought of half a mil-
lion children gone because of my country
breaks my heart. But so does the thought of the
6,000-plus children, mothers, fathers, sisters and
brothers buried in fallen rubble across New
York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The two
feelings are not mutually exclusive.
It is in situations like this, when the dichoto-
my between extreme right and extreme left
blurs into nothingness, that the political spec-
trum gives its secret away: It is a circle rather
than a line. Soon many more people, many
more children, will die in Afghanistan because
of some people's hate for the "Other." But the
deaths of thousands in New York have been met
with the complacency of a few, because of the
hate some people feel for themselves and their
country. Nobody worth mentioning celebrates
these deaths, but from both sides comes the lan-
guage of deservation and justification.
And in the midst of our struggle to determine
and direct what is right, to decide how the Unit-
ed States should proceed with Afghanistan or
reflect on the evils of our own foreign policy,

some find themselves forgetting the children
who will lose parents - and the parents who
will lose children - in a part of the world that
for most of us, until now, existed only in buried
headlines. And harder to understand, but still
true, some will find themselves forgetting that
nobody on that missing persons list, now topping
6,000, deserved to die for the failings of a nation.
On Friday, the Daily reported that, "Chanting
'stop the war' and 'U-S-A,' anti- and pro- war
student groups clashed verbally yesterday on the
Diag over the subject of U.S. military actions
and policy." ("Protesters rally to stop war,"
9/21/01). This kind of display does nothing but
garner media attention for the shouting antago-
nists and degrade the memory of the dead.
As we plan our rallies and strategize over
dinner we have to carry with us at all times the
reality of death. And for those of us who ardent-
ly advocate peace and oppose more senseless
loss of life, it is okay to make some people feel
uncomfortable, but not to marginalize with hos-
tility and antagonism - regardless of to whom
these feelings are directed - any potential
advocate for peace.
At this university, we have a constant inferi-
ority complex when we compare ourselves to
the legendary names and groups of the over-
romanticized 1960s and '70s student activism.
But it's been more than 30 years and we should
have leamed that we do not need to shout to be
heard. It's been more than 30 years and we
should have learned that some struggles are too
sad to romanticize.
Johanna Hanink can be reached
via e-mail atjhanink@umich.edu.

Y LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Get ready to grieve,
skewed depiction of
U.S. global role
To THE DAILY:
My friends and I have spent the last week
and a half grieving for the victims in New
York. But these feelings are not new to me as
they are to most of my American friends. I
have felt the same way for much of the past
20 years. Being from Iran, the first time I
experienced this sense of grief and loss was
during the Iran-Iraq war. As a teenager in the
1980s, I cried equally for the Iraqi and Iran-
ian victims of that war. As I grew older, other
man-made tragedies elicited my empathy: the
US-Iraq war, the genocide in the Balkans, the
plight of the Palestinians.
Throughout it all, nothing depressed me
more than the U.S. attack on Iraq. In this
case, a whole country was bombed back into
the pre-industrial age. The infrastructure nec-
essary to civilization was shattered, and
9,000 homes turned into "collateral damage."
That destruction, combined with comprehen-
sive economic sanctions that have prevented
reconstruction, led to the death of over a mil-
lion people. The U.S. justified its actions by
citing the misdeeds of the Iraqi ruler, Saddam
Hussein. However, the Iraqi people did not
deserve punishment for the behavior of their
ruler any more than the innocent Americans
in the World Trade Center deserved punish-
ment for the misdeeds of their government.
During the attack on Iraq, the American
media simply regurgitated their government's
rationalizations. So, while most Americans may
not have been able to point to the Middle East
on a map, they knew that the U.S. was defend-
ing human rights, freedom, democracy and
decency. Flags were displayed widely. All were
urged to "support our troops." There was con-
siderable pride in how successfully Iraq was
crushed and its troops wiped out. On the cam-
pus where I lived as an undergraduate, the
mood was upbeat, even jovial. While I
mourned, some of my friends literally partied.
The last thing on anybody's mind was the
Iraqis who perished.
A decade later, flags are ubiquitous again.
This time, however, the mood is somber.
There is dignified empathy for the victims of
the terrorist attack, and there are touching
acts of kindness in the face of suffering. In
moments of abandon, I imagine that this

W's tact,. response to
tragedy restores faith in #43
To THE DAILY:<:<
As a recent graduate of the University, I
recall, not so long ago, sitting in my bedroom, 4
transfixed in front of the television, while the
2000 presidential election unfolded before my
very eyes with more twists and turns than an
episode of "Days of Our Lives." I also
remember, at the close of the fiasco, experi-
encing feelings of dismay, disgust and disillu-
sionment as the U.S. Supreme Court
"handed," then Gov. George W. Bush the
presidency of the United States in what may
prove to be the most controversial Supreme
Court decision of this generation. Being a
Democrat, to put it mildly, I was embarrassed
by this man who was to be the 43rd president
and figure-head of this great nation. AP PHOTO
However, in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, defines his presidency with each passing day,
and subsequent events, actions and undertak- I can think of no better American for the job.
ings, I am filled with nothing but pride as I I am no longer embarrassed by this man who
watch President Bush unify the nation in this is the 43rd president of the United States.
time of disaster, tragedy and loss. As he KYLE MAZUREK
Alumnus

4

I

Honor those
protecting nation
TO THE DAILY:
I was willing to ignore the protesters at first.
I figured that everyone has a right to their opin-
ion and that I would just let it be. Then I got an
e-mail from my uncle who last week left his
wife and two young children at home as he was
called off by the military reserves to serve his
country in this time of tragedy. It seems he came
across some of the columns and editorials by the
ever-so-patriotic Daily staffers. Nick Woomer
("Thoughts on building an inclusive peace
movement," 9/19/01) and others, rest easy in
knowing the fact that our troops who are risking
their lives to protect your freedom have read
your editorials and columns and have been
made sick.
And add me to that list of people you have
made sick.
While you sit here in your comfortable left-
wing university fantasy world, some people
have to deal with reality to make sure that the
life you lead will be possible for your children.
Do you think anyone really wants a war? Do

protecting our county right now. In a time like
this it is imperative for us to come to together in
unity behind one another, not a time to pretend
it is 1969 again. Keep that in mind.
BEN SMITH
LSA senior
Letter writer blind,
ignorant to backlash
TO THE DAILY:
I wanted to comment on the letter written by
LSA senior Nick Occhipinti ("Attacks on Mus-
lims, Arabs overblown," 9/21/01). I was sur-
prised that a senior at the University could be so
ignorant.
To say that the media is hyping up the anti-
Arab/Muslim backlash is so insensitive! Appar-
ently this young man does not have to stay at
home at night and watch where he goes in fear
of people verbally or physically abusing him
like my parents and many of my friends. Appar-
ently this young man does not have to face the
tearing face of his father when he learns that his
friend in California was killed because he owns
an Arabic store.

4

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EM S 1 : .................

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