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October 01, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-01

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4

4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 1, 2001

OP/ED

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
( ( That hostility predates
the formation of the Jewish
State, and has its roots in the
West's growing cultural,
political, economic, and
military dominance over the
lands of Islam, a dominance
that has been building for
centuries but was by no
means inevitable, and which
many Muslims find baffling
and infuriating."
- Harvard professor emeritus David S.
Landes and Boston University professor
Richard A. Landes on the hostility in the
Muslim world toward the U.S. in
the Oct. 8 issue of The New Republic.

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You are either with us or with the terrorists?
AMER G. ZAHR THE PROGRESSIVE PEN

4

e must open our
eyes. Reconsid-
eration here is
essential. What are the
exact issues? Is it as simple
as our president has put it?
Is it "us or them?" Is one of
us necessarily morally hon-
orable and the other not?
Is it simply that fringe
groups practicing violent tactics against civilian
targets hate America? No. It is. in fact, much
deeper than that. What we have been refusing
to see, and what will probably become apparent
in the weeks and months to come, is that Amer-
ican actions are despised by the average
Arab/Muslim citizen of the world, the average
man or woman who abhors Osama bin Laden
and his actions, and would never consider join-
ing his group or any others like it.
First of all, we must do away with the idea
that Arabs and Muslims throughout the world
somehow harbor a sort of hatred for democracy,
free speech, and individual rights. The connec-
tion between specific U.S. policies on the one
hand and resulting opinions toward America on
the other has very little to do with these "Ameri-
can values." As Edward Said has recently noted,
"On the contrary, every Arab or Muslim that I
have ever spoken to expressed mystification as
to why so extraordinarily rich and admirable a
place as America (and so likeable a group of
individuals as Americans) has behaved interna-
tionally with such callous obliviousness of less-
er peoples." Many Arabs and Muslims are also
sorely conscious of the influence of the pro-
Israeli lobby and pro-Israeli publications like

The New Republic or Commentary. I of course
do not want to leave out bellicose war-loving
columnists like Charles Krauthammer (who
advocated Israeli assassination policies in a
recent issue of Time magazine), George Will,
William Safire, and the like, who all happen to
publish in mainstream media.
The roots of disgust for America's policies
reside in three major topics. First, most Arabs
and Muslims are outraged by America's unwa-
vering support for Israel's brutal military occu-
pation, now entering its almost unprecedented
35th year. Washington has been in constant
political, military and economic support of the
killing of civilians, harsh curfews on entire vil-
lages and areas, uprootings of countless acres
of olive groves, daily humiliation at the hands
of Israeli soldiers and settlers, settlement strate-
gies meant to cut up the West Bank and Gaza
into Bantustans in order to control the
resources, gross violations of the Geneva Con-
ventions, and the list goes on.
Second, many citizens of the Arab and
Muslim world look to the decade-long U.S.-
British onsalught upon the citizenry of Iraq,
resulting in the deaths of over one million
Iraqis, including half a million children who are
dying from simple sicknesses like diarrhea, all
the while watching Saddam Hussein strengthen
his hold on the weak nation. We should not
forget, as Arabs have not forgotten, that Ameri-
ca supported Saddam during his worst atroci-
ties, among them the gassing and killing of
countless thousands of Kurds.
Third, and this is the most important factor
by far, America has been picking and choosing
which dictators it is deciding to support in the

Arab and Muslim worlds. From supporting
Indonesia's Suharto in his killing of hundreds
of thousands of civilians in East Timor in the
mid-'70s to present-day support of repressive
dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the
Gulf States, the U.S. has been exercising moral-
ly bankrupt policies throughout the region.
These are the facts. There is no avoiding it.
Those who agree with these policies can
attempt to justify or excuse them, but there is
simply no avoiding their existence.
Professors and intellectuals at our university
and elsewhere who cling to the rhetoric of our
being detested on the basis of our values rather
than our actions are committing a serious intel-
lectual injustice. Our university needs to be a
place to examine these roots and discuss them,
as many of us may very well one day be in posi-
tions where we can affect our country's actions
in other parts of the world. Let us engage those
members of our and other communities who
come from Arab and Muslim roots in an intel-
lectual debate, instead of simply ingesting the
polemical and adversarial material we are fed in
our media and, unfortunately, in many classes
and texts right here on our campus.
The idea that residents of Arab and Muslim
countries, who work, come home, watch the
news, hug their children, and celebrate their
values, somehow despise values of democracy,
individual rights, and free speech, is not only
absurd, but also unveils a stark ignorance of
others, along with a deep-seated ethnocentric
view of our world.
Amer G. Zahr can be reached
via e-mail at zahrag@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
Wording in sexual assault
article a disservice to women

Y LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

BY PATRICIA KRAMER
The FBI states that false reporting of rape is
the same as false reporting of other violent
crimes. 1-2 percent. Why then should the press
present reports of such serious sexual crimes
any differently than we might see a murder por-
trayed? Knowing just how influential the media
can be on public opinion, it is critical that unbi-
ased, and accurate information is reported on
these issues. In response to the article ("M' soc-
cer player to stand trial," 9/11/01) it is just as
important to avoid double standards when the
crime of rape involves a Michigan athlete.
When a violent crime such as murder or
theft is covered prior to conviction, only the per-
petrator is described as "alleged." The actual
crime on the other hand, is reported as just that,
murder or theft. It is offensive and all to com-
mon to see sexual crimes devoted the status of
"alleged," as was the case in the article. In a
society where the burden of proof becomes a
huge cross to bear for the survivor of sexual
assault and where the victims quickly become
the accused, we only add to their isolation by
treating her crime differently - with initial dis-
belief.
As if coming forward wasn't difficult
enough we continue to support a system which
creates a hostile environment for survivors who
seek justice.
It is no wonder that of one in three women in
our society who are survivors of sexual assault,
only one in ten will report the crime, according
to the FBI.
We are all a part of a culture which con-
dones and trivializes violence against women.
Rape does not exist as a solitary expression of
aggression toward women, but is supported by
both institutional and attitudinal violence,
harassment and degradation. A 1992 study
("Virgin or Vamp - How the press covers sex
crimes") found that the American press displays
a number of double standards in reporting sex
crimes.
Survivors and perpetrators were both por-
trayed differently depending on class status, and
looks for example. Where good looks may be
used to describe the perpetrator in a positive
light, good looks were often used to suggest that
the survivor brought the rape on herself.
One of the first and only facts we learn about
the survivor in the article is that she had "visited
many bars before attending the party" where the
"alleged rape occurred." Immediately the sur-

switching gears, goes on to exalt the perpetra-
tor's character. Wetlearn that as a member of the
Michigan soccer team he has played in four
games this season, a forward! We read state-
ments on the perpetrator's behalf from the ath-
letic director and his attorney. We also learn
how cooperative he has been throughout the
investigation and with the police. We live in a
culture where the accused is innocent until
proven guilty. It is not wrong for this reason to
present Kevin Robinson's side of the story and
report statements of supporters. But then
shouldn't we also lend equal credence to the sur-
vivor's story? Shouldn't she also be allotted the
right to be treated innocent until proven guilty?
The amount of effort which was devoted to pro-
moting his character while attacking her credi-
bility and altogether skipping her side of things,
was not shocking, simply common and insult-
ing. I am certain that changing the way rape is
portrayed is not possible without changing the
stereotypes and myths which surround it. No
one, regardless of race, ethnicity, lifestyle or atti-
tude deserves to be raped.
To assume certain women provoke rape or
to hold an opinion because of stereotypes sur-
rounding them hinders many from seeking the
support and legal action they deserve. If we
could eliminate these stereotypes concerning
what victims are good victims, and what rape
entails, then maybe more women would come
forward and men would think twice about the
consequences of their actions.
It is clear from sexual stereotypes that
women's bodies, whether Latino, African-
American, white, poor, well dressed or
undressed, have the power to attract and seduce
men. In a world where someone is always to
blame, it is much easier to accuse the woman of
wrongdoing than upset the male balance which
keeps everything running smoothly.
We are part of a culture whose history has
been written predominantly by men. Although
rape today has become more talked about by
women, and consciousness concerning issues
such as the ones I have spoken of, has been
raised through literature, songs, rallies and
human rights groups, much more still needs to
be done. Change is rarely abrupt, but I feel that
by continuing to revise the 'male story' of rape
with a woman's voice, we will succeed in writ-
ing our own history.

Blackballed employee
deserves apology from
administration, VP Harper

TO THE DAILY:
Last Monday, Shannon Martin, former
Native American Programs Coordinator
for the University of Michigan's Office
of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, was
acquitted of charges of embezzlement
from the University, brought by the coun-
ty prosecutor under direction of the Uni-
versity administration. The faulty charges
were an attempt to retaliate against Shan-
non Martin, a dedicated servant and
advocate for students, who refused to
compromise pride and belief in her cul-
ture for the protection of the administra-
tion's faults.
While on staff at the University for
six years, Martin coordinated the suc-
cessful Ann Arbor Pow-Wow, Native
American Heritage Month and countless
other events that helped foster a real
understanding of diversity on campus.
Martin worked with a love and dedica-
tion that supported and encouraged
Native and non-Native students alike.
Her suspension and subsequent termina-
tion from the University came only
months after her involvement and sup-
port of the Students of Color Coalition's
occupation of the Michigamua "wig-
wam" in the Michigan Union (Feb. 6-
March 13, 2000). It is obvious that
administrators within the University,
together with powerful Michigamua
alumni, targeted Shannon Martin for her

outspoken dissent toward Michigamua
and attempted to damage her integrity
and reputation as a professional Native
woman, and as a human being.
The truth made itself apparent prior to
and during the trial, as dozens of support-
ers testified and gathered to show solidar-
ity in supporting the innocence and
integrity of our trusted friend and col-
league. The jury agreed, finding Martin
not guilty on all counts, directing the
question back to the University as to the
real motivation behind the charges.
It is unacceptable for any public insti-
tution to target and prosecute people for
defending their culture and ethnicity.
Shannon Martin, a servant to students and
diversity for six years at the University,
has been victimized by this evil force, but
continues to stand tall and proud and has
now been proven not guilty in a court of
law. She deserves an apology in the high-
est accord from all involved administra-
tors, particularly Vice President for
Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, in
addition to compensation for the year-
long assault on her humanity carried out
by her former employer.
JOE REILLY
Alumnus
The letter writer was a member of the
Students of Color Coalition when the
organization occupied the Michigan Union
tower for 37 days in winter 2000.

Call for uprising,
'revolution' unsettling
To THE DAILY:
Before Sept. 20,I was originally considering
joining BAMN in their anti-war rally. I am not
entirely against the idea of constructive retalia-
tion regarding the terrible acts of the Sept. 11,
but I thought I would march for the sake of
showing that I hoped that there could somehow
be a way of solving this situation peacefully.
Incidentally, I had some other commitment
at this time and wasn't able to join the rally, but
as I was walking to my class at the Modern
Languages Building I did happen to catch a
glimpse of what I believe to be the tail end of it,
and this is what I saw: this older guy, obviously
not a University student, standing on a plat-
form, hawking the "benefits" of communism or
socialism and calling for a revolution against
our own government. There were various peo-
ple with red shirts dispersed in the crowd, hand-
ing out literature about "revolution."
As I continued on my trek to class, I
couldn't help but to feel disgusted by what I
saw. Politics aside, this group was clearly using
the terrible act committed against us to gain vis-
ibility and further their cause. In the face of all
the acts of charity I had seen on the part of the
survivors (that includes all of us still living) of
the Sept. 11 terrorist acts, this display of selfish-
ness really bothered me.
I guess this letter might be a little late, con-
sidering that I made this observation over a
week ago. Well, the real reason I'm writing you
is to thank you for Friday's article about BAMN
("Who exactly is BAMN?"). Now I basically
know where they are coming from and that
there are others who are equally disturbed about
their recent actions as I am.
J.J. WALLBILLICH
LSA sophomore

I

Trotskyism leaves nothing but
'death' 'suffering' in its wake;
campus should beware
TO THE DAILY: restraints.
The Daily's editorial "Sectarian Sojourn: He was a mo
BAMN must work well with others or take relativist to the ei
Trotskyite philosophy elsewhere" (9/28/01) "Problems of revo
claimed that "BAMN's exclusionary and tionary morality,"

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V (v

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lu-
he

Kramer is a volunteer with the
SexualAssault Prevention

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