6A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 11, 2002
SIX MONTHS LATER
Families of Sept. 11 victims unite
to protest U.S. retaliation efforts
By Shabina S. Khatri
Daily Staff Reporter
Exactly half a year after the terrorist attacks
on America, many people are still at a loss about
how to deal with their anguish over deceased
family members and friends. But some have
decided to put their grief to task by making sure
those that died did not lose their lives in vain.
September Eleventh Families for Peaceful
Tomorrows, a group of about 20 people who lost
family members in the attacks, seeks to advocate
nonviolent responses to terrorism.
Co-Director David Potorti, whose older broth-
er worked on the 95th floor of the World Trade
Center's North Tower, said the group united
under the shared belief that going to war only
perpetuates an endless cycle of violence and
"We all felt we should seek peaceful resolu-
tions. We want justice and for the perpetrators of
the attacks to be caught - but bombing
Afghanistan is not the way to do it," he said.
Four of the organization's members traveled to
Afghanistan in January to meet the family mem-
bers of the innocent victims that died in the U.S.
bombing campaign, which began in October.
Eva Rupp, who lost her 20-year-old stepsister
when United Airlines Flight 93 went down in
Pennsylvania, said the trip to Afghanistan really
opened her eyes.
"It was just amazing the devastation that we
saw," she said. "There has been some sort of
conflict or war in Kabul for about 23 years. The
roads are bombed out and the houses have bullet
holes. You see kids playing by signs that say,
'land mines, watch out,' and that upset me."
Rita Lasar decided to speak out against the
war effort after President Bush mentioned her
brother, who died in the World Trade Center, in a
"I live in New York and I saw the second plane
hit," Lasar said. "Our part of the city went
absolutely crazy with grief, terror, horror and
sorrow. People can't really imagine how horrible
it is. But when I realized (my brother's) death
was going to be used to justify the deaths of
innocent people, it just horrified me. That's not
as bad as my brother dying but almost."
The delegation first spoke in January with
Afghan people who had lost family members
from misguided U.S. bombs.
"The civilians we met are wonderful, resilient
people who are thankful to our government for get-
ting rid of al-Qaida and the Taliban," Lasar said.
But Rupp said the situation in Afghanistan was
"Everyone we met was very warm, and people
who had lost family members themselves in the
U.S. bombing campaign said they were sorry for
our loss. But a lot expressed desperation because
they were hungry and homeless. They were beg-
ging in the street and grieving at the same time,"
Unlike the sympathetic response the surviving
family members in America received from their
government, Potorti said the Afghans have no
network to help them overcome the tragedy they
Peaceful Tomorrows has met with 25 congres-
sional leaders to pass legislation to aid civilian
casualties through the Afghan Victims Fund, but
Rupp said that financial support has progressed
Potorti said the fund would offer relief to the
families of the victims killed by the U.S. air
strikes, similar to the aid American families
rightly received after the terror attacks.
"Their country has been at war for 23 years
and they have nothing. We've been affected by
this tragedy, but we at least have a country and
people can give us money. The fund would rec-
ognize the plight of innocent victims and say
that the U.S. is not just all about dropping
bombs," he said.
Though the fledgling organization, which offi-
cially announced its inception on Feb. 14, has
received criticism for being unpatriotic, Potorti
said obeying the law is the best way to honor
their fellow American servicemen.
"Thousands of people are being detained ille-
gally in New York in a clear violation of their
rights. And then there are the detainees in Guan-
tanamo Bay. I think there's a temptation when
people do this horrible act we say, 'they didn't
give us due process.' We have to resist the temp-
tation to be lawless like the terrorists. Sooner or
later our servicemen will be captured and we'll
need the law to protect our own people," Potorti
Lasar said Americans must first examine their,
own policies to better understand the tragedy of
"I know we had to do something because my
brother died and because lots of innocent people
died. I don't know what we should have done.
But does anyone feel safer since we started
bombing Afghanistan?" she said.
The skyline of lower Manhattan remains vacant since The World Trade Center
towers' destruction Sept. 11, 2001.
Amnericans beznz o
heal after Sept. 1
Campus securi tmeasures heighten in
anticipation of uture terrorist attacks
Continued from Page 1A
The images were moving for many
students and though the city may have
moved on, the general feeling around
Ground Zero is somber and quiet.
"The vibe was different at Ground
Zero, a lot more toned down," LSA
freshman Lindsey Fackler said. "What
moved me wasn't the actual site but
everything around it. From where I
was standing, I could see the tops of
the trees and they were still coated
with dust and pieces of fabric from
Some students believed the terrorist
attacks had an undoing effect on New
York and the rest of the country.
"I thought it would bring New York
together but it's splitting people apart,"
LSA senior and New York resident
Samantha Brown said.
"For example, it's undoing policies
for immigrants that have been a long
time coming. This patriotism stuff is
Brown, a member of the Black Stu-
dent Union, said the United States is
currently spending $200 billion on
defense and currently sweeping other
important policies under the rug -
such as welfare reform and healthcare
related issues. In addition, people all
over the country are toting the Ameri-
can flag as a symbol for everything,
"How are we going to protect the
people of the United States from the
outside when we are falling apart on
the inside," Brown asked.
University offices and departments
were put under pressure after the
attacks to provide services or offer
educational opportunities, such as
classes in the Department of Near
Due to the subject matters taught in
many of the courses, the department
received a substantial increase in
enrollments for the winter term in
many of their courses. According to
department statistics, there was
increased enrollment in Introduction to
Islam, African American Religion
Between Christianity and Islam, and
The Arab-Israeli Conflict.
The enrollment number for Intro to
Arabic Literature and Analysis rose
from 11 students in the fall to 26 stu-
dents in the winter term.
The department was also constantly
consulted by various local and national
news sources because of its experi-
enced employees and recognition
across the nation.
"Interviews with the press became a
full-time job for me after September
11th," department chair Alexander
Students utilized various University
resources soon after the attacks such as
Counseling and Psychological Ser-
vices. The CAPS office received a sig-
nificant increase in clients since Sept.
11, clinical director of CAPS Jim
"We just provided a space for people
to come and talk in a supportive struc-
tured environment. It proved helpful
for the many students who came and
spoke with our counselors
By Jeremy Berkowitz
Daily Staff Reporter
Six months ago few could imagine that security at
a football game could resemble that of a military
base. But since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks there has
been an increased amount of security at all public
buildings and stadiums in Ann Arbor.
"We certainly identified what we believed are sen-
sitive locations" Ann Arbor Police Department Sgt.
Michael Logghe said.
The most noticeable changes that University stu-
dents have seen in the last six months have been
more security measures during football, basketball
and hockey games. The first changes occurred at
football games at Michigan Stadium after Sept. 11.
The Department of Public Safety and the Athletic
Department started to prohibit certain items from the
stadium and increased the number of security offi-
cers at games.
"As the season grew, we need to alter that policy
and we needed to be able to reduce the items coming
in," DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said.
Eventually, this policy became stricter, forbidding
any bags and many personal belongings from com-
Security policies have also carried over to hockey
and basketball games. DPS and the Athletic Depart-
ment have prohibited almost any items from entering
Yost and Crisler arenas. The short list of permitted
items include purses, diaper bags, seat cushions, cell
phones and small cameras.
Since September, there has also been a com-
plete review of all security issues in residence
halls, academic buildings and labs. Brown said
that like many other institutions in the nation,
the University wanted to make sure it was fit to
handle an emergency. One concern dealt with the
University's heavy involvement in biomedical
research and the anthrax scare that plagued the
nation in the fall. But Brown said that the Uni-
versity was never in any definite danger.
"Did we have a specific threat? ... No," Brown said.
It is still uncertain what precautions will be
taken for senior commencement at the end of
April, but there will be a review of policy and
procedure to see what might be implemented
"I hope over time we'll be able to be more trusting
in our society but I don't think that's going to happen
anytime soon," Logghe said.