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February 11, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-11

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 11, 2002

OP/ED

0

c be IItr4jun ljailig

420'MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.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
It was very tasteless
-and if they want a
real American show,
this will mean all the
cars will be stolen
before the opening
ceremony."
- An International Olympic Committee
official, describing the vulgarity of
the Olympic opening ceremonies, as
quoted by The Telegraph (UK).

THOMAS KULJURGIS TENTATIVELY SPEAKINGc
You uOU~Lt)ETOQ~
WIEEKC.
TIN oIGS -l6 S ETS OF W'ItT AMD REASON N1 '1EM OUTSIE OF M ECLASSROOM-.

My national anthem, or yours?
AMER G. ZAHR THE PROGRESSIVE PEN

01

ast weekend, I
attended, along
with some friends
of mine, an Indian Raas
dance competition being
put on at the Michigan
Theater. It was beautiful.
There were dance teams
from schools around the
nation including George-
town, George Washington, Ohio State,
Washington University, Michigan State
and of course the University of Michigan.
Many of the dances were very well done
and in the end the Wolverines were victori-
ous, although it seemed a bit rigged. But
that's not what was important.
The singing of the national anthems of
India and America kicked off the show.
The American national anthem was
promptly followed by a moment of silence
for all the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
This is all harmless on the surface, but it
seemed to me a bit misguided.
There is nothing wrong of course with
invoking the memory of innocent victims,
no matter what tragedy they were victims
of. But the blatant patriotism of the event
made me feel a bit uncomfortable, not
because I am not patriotic, but rather
because the American values I am patriotic
of are not the American values our govern-
ment is currently embracing and sharing.
As I looked around the packed theater, I
noticed that just about everyone there was
a person of color: Indians, blacks, Latinos,
Asians and some Arabs (I can account for
myself and my friends that I attended
with). It was a wonder to me as to how this
event, which had nothing to do with Amer-
ican culture and almost everything to do
with invoking Indian culture, could carry
such a political message. Many perhaps

saw the singing of the national anthem as
something normal, something passing. For
me, however, it was like watching a flock
of sheep being guided to recite the impor-
tant language of our national anthem with-
out thinking of what it really means in our
day and age.
In this time when our government has
incarcerated hundreds of men with no
charge simply because they have Arab
and/or Muslim heritage, detained hundreds
of prisoners in Cuba while blatantly violat-
ing international law and heightening its
support for many dictatorial regimes
throughout the world in the name of fight-
ing terrorism, we must each define for our-
selves what it means to be an American.
To me, it should mean not giving in to
the temptation to curtail civil liberties at
times of crisis. It should mean living in a
global community and not simply acting
unilaterally when international opinion
does not suit us. It should mean acting
more morally than those regimes through-
out the world that we criticize for doing
many of the same things of which we are
currently guilty. It should mean our gov-
ernment informing the public of why it has
detained hundreds of people in its "war
against terror." It should mean our presi-
dent being honest with us, treating us like
intelligent citizens and not throwing rhetor-
ical terms at us like the "axis of evil."
It should mean our attorney general
being held responsible when he says that
"Islam is a religion in which God requires
you to send your son to die for him. Chris-
tianity is a faith in which God sends his
son to die for you." It should mean not lob-
bying to turn Olympic Games into a forum
to send a political message by walking our
tattered World Trade Center flag into the
Olympics stadium during opening cere-

monies (this was asked to be done against
the wishes of International Olympic Com-
mittee).
It should mean understanding what the
roots of dislike for our country are around
the world and working to analyze and
address them in constructive ways. It
should mean preaching the same ideals of
democracy in the places where we have so
much influence that we claim to practice
right here at home.
So hearing the national anthem stirred up
many emotions. I - and I imagine many
others like me - have struggled with re-
defining myself as an American citizen since
Sept. 11. My struggle lies in finding a defini-
tion that includes values inherent in freedom,
self-determination, human rights and a global
vision that realizes that while we live in the
greatest nation, we have much to achieve and
much to learn. I consider these values to be
very American. But my struggle also lies in a
rich cultural heritage that has its roots
halfway across the world, in a country where
our government has misbehaved, in a place
where I have no civic connection, in a land
where my emotions run deep and my heart
bleeds.
Is there room in what it means to be an
American for me? Unfortunately, now I
feel as if there is not. So I left the room
when they sang, still not sure as to how to
react. But now it seems clear. I am an
American like any other, but until our gov-
ernment realizes that too, our anthem and
our flag create a sour taste for me. So sing
the national anthem, raise the flag, but I
cannot stand and sing with you until I feel
that they have returned to being my anthem
and flag as well.
Amer G. Zahr can be reached at
zahrag@umic edu.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Rabih Haddad case
simply a 'matter of
enforcing the law'
TO THE DAILY:
Reading the column last Friday (The
ugly, unfair and unjust case of Rabih Haddad
2/5/02), I was struck that the entire article
is founded on an untrue premise. To quote,
"I am not a U.S. citizen, hence those (con-
stitutional) protections that pertain to U.S.
citizens I do not enjoy."
However, if you look at the first Daily
editorial (Politicking 101), about an inch to
the left, you can read "that to deny (finan-
cial) aid to students legally in the United
States is to deny their rights to equal pro-
tection (under the Constitution)."
The latter is factually correct, non-citi-
zens receive the same protection as citizens
under the Constitution. As I am not a pre-
law student, I do not know which precedent
says this, but it is in the case law.
Regarding the deportation of Haddad, I
don't know the particulars of his case, but
this is not solely an issue of hate for a man
from the Middle East. This is happening to
everyone, from Cambodians to Canadians.
Yes it is different now, everything changed
after Sept. 11 and it's not going to be just
like it was before.
The national psyche is scared, and we
are not going to feel better for a while. This
is how our government has decided to
react; and while we may not feel this is the
best way to do so, we have to realize that
we do not represent all Americans or the
only truth out there. We have to protect the
rights of all, but this is a matter of enforc-
ing the law.
All that has happened is that the govern-
ment is now more diligent in its efforts.
Haddad is not an example, his is a case of a
more rigorous application of the law,
whether you agree or disagree with the law
itself is another matter. No one should ever
be made an example of, and at this point I
am not convinced that this is at all what is
happening here.
MATT RANDAL
LSA junior

tion of church and state.
Think for a minute what types of inces-
tuous political-religious relationships would
exist if this prohibition was removed?
Essentially, all religious leaders could
behave as Jesse Jackson, who was recently
on national TV repeatedly stating "Stay out
the Bushes," while at the same time receiv-
ing tax-exempt status. Would this be a good
thing? Probably not.
Furthermore, if religions could promote
politicians, it would be likely for elected
leaders to reward religious loyalty and pro-
mote one religion over another. Again, not
a good idea.
JOE LANGENDERFER
Engineering graduate student
University technological
services 'abysmal,'
policies in need of reforms
TO THE DAILY:
Over my first one and a half years at the
University, I have noticed repeatedly how
lacking it is in certain information services as
compared to the school at which I received
my B.S., Georgia Tech. The University's
current information services are abysmal.
The PC clusters in GG Brown, the EECS
building and the media union are virtually
always completely filled during the after-
noons. Furthermore, they often crash when
one attempts to use them. It sometimes takes
me 15-20 minutes to figure out how to prop-
erly print something.
Additionally, professors have to pay
$2,000 dollars per computer they want net-
worked. Not per network connection, but per
computer. This is far more than the price of
the computer itself. In all honestly, this is a
scam perpetrated by the University. This cost
has greatly contributed to my first cause
above.
However, I have to say the absolute worst
thing done by the University so far was dis-
connecting the phone service in my lab with-
out telling me. I don't even need to begin
relating how dangerous doing something like
that is in a lab with poisonous materials and
high tech equipment. They made no attempt
to contact us at all. When asked, they told me

Monaghan committed to
Catholicism and profits
To THE DAILY:
This letter is in response to both letters
to the editor: Tom Monaghan should do with
his money whatever he jolly well wants'
(2/6/02) and Cunniffe's column offensive,
out of touch with students (2/6/02).
It seems that both students missed the
point of Cunniffe's article. Yes, Mon-
aghan has owned the land on both sides of
Earhart Road for many years now. Regard-
less, he is not able to do whatever he
wants with that property. The state and the
local authorities have certain rights per-
taining to what is put on private property
and these regulations differ in every area.
, For example, when Monaghan wanted
to erect a skyscraper dubbed the "Leaning
Tower of Pizza" in the Ann Arbor area,
the request was denied by the local
authorities (in fact, a replica of the struc-
ture currently stands in the buffalo pasture
next to U.S. 23). You can't do whatever
you want on your land. That's why we
have zoning and local ordinances. Simi-
larly, you cannot erect huge structures
that dwarf the countryside, religious or
otherwise.
I have had the privilege of working for
one of Monaghan's companies for the past
five years and I can attest to his commit-
ment to the Catholic Church and his lack
of commitment to those who have made
him his millions. Many of my co-workers
still don't have medical or dental cover-
age. In fact, I vividly remember one of my
co-workers allowing her adult teeth to rot
because, even as full time staff, she wasn't
afforded dental insurance.
This is not just a statue. For those who
are familiar with the area in question, a
250-foot tower in the middle of what is
mostly flat farmland would loom over the
countryside.
It is essentially an incredibly ostenta-
tious billboard for his faith, not to men-
tion an eyesore for those who do not feel
that, in the author's words, "Jesus was the
most perfect person ever to walk the
Earth." To claim, as one of the authors
did, that there is no harm in "publicly pro-

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