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February 04, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily -- Monday, February 4, 2002

OP/ED

0

abe £tri~itt tilg

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michignadaily.com

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

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

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
Yes, the
Daily is a go.
It is here to
stay."
- A note from the editors in the first issue of
The Michigan Daily, Sept. 29, 1890.

0
ItECI ES
rUTUKE. PLAN4S.

THOMAS KULJURGIS TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

"\4tING 'UP To SEE I FIVE--CLOCK. S4W, 1At..Gb E

Black Hawk's not all that's down
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

D uring the last week
of May 2001, my
best friend Allegra
and I fell in love with the
same boy.
It was May, it was Paris.
It was warm and he was hot.
He was the son of a
British barber, trying to
prove himself in the tooth
and claw world of competi-
tive hairdressing. His name was Brian Allen.
At least in the movie.
This summer we became obsessed with Josh
Hartnett, a supporting character in the British
yet-to-be-if-ever released in the United States
film "Blow Dry."
Ne'er since my 10th grade Prince William
days had I fallen so hard for a celebrity. And
believe me, I was floored.
So naturally my interest was piqued when I
saw pictures of Hartnett, featured in July's Van-
ity Fair, posing in the crowded street of a
Moroccan market. He was in northwest Africa
,filming the film adaptation of Mark Bowden's
instant "military classic" (according to The
Washington Times) "Black Hawk Down,"
under the direction of Ridley Scott.
I like war books and I like war movies. This
fondness, however, usually grapples with my
instinctual distrust of American military inter-
vention. I had no reservations about seeing Josh
Hartnett acting macho and giving the "We don't
come out here to be heroes. But sometimes it
just happens" spiel on the big screen. But I had
serious reservations about "Black Hawk
Down,"
The American-slash-United Nations human-
itarian-cum-military invasion of Somalia in the
early '90s was - and still is - a piece of histo-
ry so far removed from my scope of understand-
ing that I make no claim of getting it. But I

know enough and have read enough since I saw
that movie to confirm my gut and know that my
reservations had some substance.
And although I've now read a lot of accounts
of what happened between '91 and '93, I still
come from no background where I can offer or
even feel that I have deciphered any sort of truth
about what happened. For me to think for a sec-
ond that I could would be ridiculous.
But I still know that there was something
wrong with that movie and something wrong
with the praise that it's been getting. And I think
that it has more than something to do with what
happened on Sept. 11, and what seems pretty
likely to happen in the near future.
It's clear that Jerry Bruckheimer and Ridley
Scott did not produce "Black Hawk Down" on a
three month timeline in a brilliant conspiracy
geared at dulling the reactions of the American
public to an anti-terrorist military strike on
Somalia.
But perhaps they may as well have.
"Black Hawk Down" is a montage of Ameri-
can blood and guts. A clear delineation exists
between the "good" Somalis (the women and
children suffering at the hands of warlord
Mohamed Farah Aidid, then cheering on the sol-
diers in artistically masterful opening and closing
sequences respectively) and the "bad" Somalis:
Ruthless, heartless - expendable - killers.
Nineteen Americans died on Oct. 3, 1993,
the final text on the movie screen tells us. Next:
1,000 Somalis did too.
The picture that Scott and Screenwriter Ken
Nolan seem to have deduced from Bowden's
book or created by themselves is a caricature of
the same distorted picture that top ranking
George Bush (Sr.) officials, most notably Unit-
ed Nations ambassador Madeline Albright, used
to propagate the most vicious brand of humani-
tarian intervention imaginable.
Read: Aidid is the Hitler of Somalia. Like

Noriega in Guatemala. Milosevic in Yugoslavia.
Qadaffi in Libya. He intercepts U.N. shipments
of grain and laughs meniacly to himself. The
laugh echoes and thunder rolls.
I've read the whole spectrum of leftist inter-
pretation of Somalia, too. The would-be Chom-
sky proteges have predictably screamed oil. The
American embassy is in Conoco's Somalia
headquarters; Aidid was not partial to American
investigative drilling in the Somali countryside.
Mohamed Siad Barre, the dictator overthrown
by Aidid, may or may not have been depending
on whether he liked the United States or Russia
better that week.
Maybe oil has something to do with it. I
think there's enough out there, though, to show
what a bungled job the U.N. and U.S. did with-
out extrapolating tired hypotheses of corporate
greed. For once.
What's scary is what the film chooses to
show. An inhuman enemy that above all else is
ungrateful for all the generosity of the West.
The New York Times too has recently
turned its attention to Somalia, most recently
with "Touring Somalia," a feature piece that
reduces the Somalians to qat-(an amphetamine)
chewing druglords.
Maybe movies and articles like this will help
the American public sleep better at night when
we've finished taking our promised swipe
through the "Axis of Evil" and turned the daisy
cutters and cluster bombs to Africa. This isn't
the first time that Somalia's fate has swung from
the tenuous thread of the American conscience.
When courting public opinion for the '93
mission to Islamic Somalia, Bush argued "After
all, no one should go hungry at Christmas
time." Read: No Americans should have to feel
bad about hungry people at Christmas time.

Johanna Hanink can be reached at
jhanink@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Daily's senior issue's
treatment of women
'abhorrent,''dehumanizing'
TO THE DAILY:
I write today in reference to the Friday,
Feb. 1 edition of the Daily. The Daily's treat-
ment of women and female images in this
issue is abhorrent and dehumanizing. This
abuse is expressed through many qyotes and
stories and is captured perfectly in the editori-
al cartoon on page four. This picture displays
a man dominating and devaluing a woman
through words, portrayal and physical posi-
tion. As a counselor, I deal face to face with
the effects of such images in the lives of men
and women on a daily basis. The damage they
do is real and horrific.
The staff of the Daily has the right to pub-
lish nearly anythingthey want. Friday's issue
demonstrates this. The staff can call it a joke.
They can pretend it's harmless. They have no
legal obligation to apologize. All of these are
rights protected by our collective liberties in
this country. I do not condemn the staff as peo-
ple, nor do I hate or dislike them, because I
have never even met them. But I reject the
value of their corporate decision to publish the
material in Friday's Daily.
I wholly condemn the usage of the great
influence, inherent in the publicly distributed
Daily newsprint, to visually and verbally
assault women through pornographic content.
Any female on this campus who does not raise
a voice against such usage does not necessarily
voice support for it, but she does through her.
passivity encourage it happening again. I will
personally never read a copy of the Daily again
in my time here at the University unless proper
recompense is given.
Furthermore, I will encourage all of my
friends and acquaintances to boycott the paper,
and I will save a copy of Friday's paper to
remind them why. Editorial Freedom may
remove restrictions on content, but it can
never remove the social damage and real con-
sequences caused by reckless usage of it.
JOSHUA HANSEN
LSA Senior
Parking fines in snow

At around 10 a.m., the city dispatched its
parking Gestapo and fined parked cars an outra-
geous $125. Let me repeat that again: $125 (the
fine for reckless driving). Their crime? They vio-
lated draconian "Snow Parking Restrictions" ,in
which the city bans parking on a particular side of
the street - for example, sides with odd num-
bered addresses on odd numbered days. Tragical-
ly, the city targeted University student
neighborhoods on a day when the street (Oak-
land) had been plowed the day before!
While a $125 fee might seem like pennies to
the growing Briarwood-suburbanite class in Ann
Arbor, to the average University student with
tuition debts, this amounts to two weeks of part-
time work after taxes.
The ridiculous notion that such a steep fee
might serve as a deterrent is laughable; there are
rarely more than two snow emergencies per year.
(Maybe the city's $3.75 million budget deficit
this year has something to do with it). If the city
wants to enact other revenue-earning schemes,
signs should be posted on every street warning
student residents.
The City Council and other City Hall hooli-
gans should hang their heads in shame and
remember that without the 35,000 University stu-
dents, Ann Arbor would be nothing more than a
rust-belt carcass.
Scorr M. BEHNAN
LSA senior
Saltsman's argument against
transgender bathrooms
demonstrates ignorance
To THE DAILY:
I write to thank the Daily for its fair-minded
coverage of the installation of transgender bath-
rooms on campus (Unisex bathroom creates alter-
native for people in need, 1/24/02).
However, Mike Saltsman's letter in response
to this article (Transgender bathrooms make life
'uncomfortable, 1/25/02), is both distressing and
ill-informed. Saltsman's argument against trans-
gender bathrooms (or in his words, "gay bath-
rooms") is built upon a foundation of
misunderstanding and ignorance. Transgender
bathrooms are a step in the direction of providing
protection and safety for all members of our cam-
pus comnmnity. A fundamental ideal of our Uni-

der bathrooms are a necessary development in
our changing society, as well as understand the
day-to-day struggles of being an LGBT person.
The purpose of this week is to bring individuals
together so that we might learn from one another
and prevent similarly ignorant outbursts in the
future.
JIM LEIJA
School of Music Senior
The letter writer is the co-chair of the Michigan
Student Assembly's LGBT Commission
How did the Daily get bin
Laden to write Op/Ed piece?
TO THE DAILY:
How did you manage to get Osama bin Laden
and George W. Bush to write for your newspaper
(Jihad! Tora Bora and Texan style, 2/1/02)?
Of first importance is the bin Laden angle. If
you know how to contact him, it is important that
you let the proper authorities know where he is. I
understand journalistic integrity, but this guy is
responsible for a lot of evil. I'm sure that your
colleagues in the press will forgive you for selling
out a source, especially if the source is the
world's most wanted man. (I hesitate to call him
a man. He doesn't act like one.)
Of second importance is the meaning. What
Bush wrote seems to have been intentionally sar-
castic and perhaps the same can be said for what
bin Laden wrote. I think it irresponsible of Bush to
have written as he did, even if it was satirical. Did
you tell bin Laden to write a satire peace as well?
Either way, publishing these two pieces was
damaging to the unity of this nation, united
against terrorism. I've never considered bin
Laden to be a guy with much of a sense of
humor, and most people will take his Op/Ed as
being very serious. If they consider it to be seri-
ous, they may consider Bush to be serious too. In
that case, people might be more united against
bin Laden, who sounds very insulting towards
Americans, but some people might turn against
Bush. That's dangerous for our unity.
Still, you have a duty as an American to let
the proper authorities know where bin Laden is
at. I'm sure that the FBI and CIA have already
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