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March 21, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-21

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 21, 2002

OP/ED

ahbe affibitu tilg

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
There is no evidence
of any period in the last
12,000 years where there
was open water in the area
that is now exposed."
Dr. Theodore Scambos on the Rhode
Island-sized iceberg that broke off
ofAntarctica as quoted in The
New York Times yesterday.

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44

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

A

Knocking the French off their high horse
YAEL KOHEN JE NE SAIS QU10

4

The French hate us.
And they love us.
Actually, if any-
thing, they really love to
hate us.
Let's just say that most
of us - Americans studying
abroad in France - are on
the defensive from all the
non-constructive criticism
that is thrown in our faces.
Whether we're talking about American poli-
tics, American culture or American I-don't-
know-whats, we usually get slammed with some
kind of unfounded insulting comment.
In a speech that President George W. Bush
made last week to mark the six-month anniver-
sary of Sept. 11, I scoffed when I saw that
France was the first country named in a list of
allies.
If the French are considered our allies, I
can't even imagine what our enemies are like.
At dinner with a group of French students, I
was attacked just for the fact that Americans call
themselves Americans as opposed to United
Statesians.
A friend of mine, an English major, is tired
of hearing about how poorly Americans speak
English. And another friend of mine was told
that Americans smile too much - God forbid.
But the worst is really in class - especially
political science classes at the Institute for Politi-
cal Studies.
At first, I thought it would be interesting to
take a class on international relations to learn a
different perspective. I didn't realize that "Inter-
national Relations and the Exterior Politics of
France" was defined as "How the United States
Screwed-Up the World and How France Has
Tried to Correct It."
Let me tell you what I have learned so far:
France's foreign policy objective is to oppose
the United States - no matter what - through

the use of the United Nations in order to bring
equilibrium to the uni-polar world. France has
no self-interest and conducts a foreign policy
that supports regionalism solely for this idea of
world balance. France's foreign policy also
focuses on the humanitarian aspect of exterior
politics while the U.S.'s foreign policy only
focuses on money and power.
Throughout the year, I can only recall one
brief conversation about a negative effect of
French foreign policy - for example, French
support of the Rwandan military regime that
exterminated hundreds of thousands of people.
This little factoid did not spur too much discus-
sion from the class.
However, each "negative" action taken by
the United States usually intrigues the students
and provokes at least 20 minutes of a one-sided
discussion.
So far, we've been blamed for every envi-
ronmental issue worldwide, we've been criti-
cized for our capitalist-consumerist ways and
apparently, as one student pointed out, the Sept.
11 events were not an attack on our territorial
integrity or sovereignty. We've also been
blamed for every humanitarian crisis because
we either do too much or we do too little.
Even the most liberal and the most critical
Americans are tired of hearing about the "bad,
ignorant" Americans and the "good, enlight-
ened" French.
Give me a break.
I don't know why we really even let it bother
us. After all, if they want to have their illusions
of grandeur, what do we really care? In the
grand scheme of things, it doesn't really count
anyway. And in July, we'll all be back in the
states where what the French think of us doesn't
really matter.
But in the aftermath of Sept. 11 it's hard to
put aside anti-American feelings because it
becomes personal and threatening. Many times
when discussing Sept 11, they seem to stop

short of completely saying that we deserve it -
and tis coming from the "humanitarian" coun-
try that states all people have human rights
except of course the ugly Americans. They even
debate whether the United States has the right to
self-defense.
It's a funny thing this anti-Americanism that
leaves most us wondering why we even decided
to study here in the first place. After all, most of
us came liking the French - the culture, the
food, the clothes. But now, most of us are disil-
lusioned about French hypocrisy - wondering
what we ever did to France that pushed their
buttons so much.
But despite all of this anger towards us they
still love all that is American.
American movies are in every cinema, the
TV is filled with dubbed American sitcoms.
And in the video rental store, most movies are
also American.
The French probably love McDonald's more
than we do. And "coca light" is probably the
most popular drink among all of those skinny
French gals.
Everywhere I turn, I wonder how a country
can enjoy the things we produce while at the
same time criticizing the country that created it.
Ultimately, French criticism comes more
from bitterness over their diminishing role in the
world and their struggle to maintain the French
identity. Stop and consider: If a Western ally
like France is this bitter toward America, then
imagine the level of anti-Americanism in non-
allied, underdeveloped countries.
Even if the United States has the luxury of
ignoring French criticism - which fortunately
we do - we do not have the luxury of turning a
blind eye to the criticism in non-allied countries,
where it has turned violent.
Yael Kohen is a Daily columnist writing
from Aix-en-Provence, France. She can
be reached atyael-kohen@hotmail.com.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Israelis not Perfect but
Kiblawi and Palestinians
must be more self-critical
To THE DAILY:
Fadi Kiblawi's viewpoint, (It's the Occu-
pation, Stupid, 3/20/02), is filled with the
myopic vision and distortion of history that
ultimately undermines any hope of resolution
in the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.
Kiblawi takes the very simple and narrow
view that the occupation is the sole reason for
the conflict and then doesn't even put the
occupation in a truthful historical context.
His calling of the 1967 Six-Days war an
"Israel-initiated war" is misguided at best and
a dangerous lie at worst. Israeli forces only
went into Syria and Egypt after Egypt closed
the Gulf of Aqaba and along with Syria,
began mobilizing forces to attack Israel.
Israel is by no means a perfect nation or a
perfect democracy..Israel certainly has made
mistakes and the military occupation of
Palestinian territory certainly exacerbates the
crisis, as do the settlements; however, in
Israel such issues are always being debated
and self-critical voices are heard everyday
both within the government and in the press.
The Palestinian voice on this campus and
in the media at large has failed to be even the
tiniest bit self-critical. They challenge the
Israelis to ask, "why are be being attacked?"
and then claim it is the occupation, period. I
challenge the Palestinians to ask, "why do
they continue to occupy the West Bank and
Gaza Strip?" Kiblawi would have you
believe it is because Israel is run by imperial-
istic racists practicing genocide.
Such rhetoric is not only absurd, it is dan-
gerous and counterproductive. If I made
claims that even hinted of painting all Pales-
tinians or their government with a brush half
as broad as the one Kiblawi uses to describe
Israel, I would be run off this campus. Until
both sides can try and push past rhetoric and
blind uncritical support for their side and try
to understand the other side as individual
people, there can be no trust in the region -
and without trust there can be no lasting
peace.
SETH KRANTZ
m SA w~n

provided partial facts about American histo-
ry, but he also had the audacity to call mem-
bers of the audience stupid, racist and a slew
of other offensive names. Rather than deal
with the questions posed to him, Horowitz
found it in his best interest to attack those
who asked questions and further discredit his
central claim of the left silencing dialogue.
The mass of students in support of the
Black Student Union acted above and beyond
the call of the Statement of Students Rights
and Responsibilities, which was paternalisti-
cally recited as if suggesting there were going
to be conflicts. After completing Horowitz's
most recent book "Uncivil Wars" and hearing
him speak I am more convinced than ever
that Horowitz cares less about substance and
more about pomp and circumstance.
Horowitz lied to the audience when he
said the hateful words on the Diag included a
swastika - there is photographic proof that
no such emblem was present. If Horowitz
were truly for social reform from a conserva-
tive standpoint, it would serve him best to use
constructive dialogue, not dogmatic rhetoric.
Horowitz's blatant attempts to insight
conflict were just that, attempts. The pres-
ence of security and dogs was only necessary
as Horowitz attempted to create another
diversion from his substantively inadequate
speech.
R. L'HEUREUX LEWIs
Rackham
Daily ignores MSA; work
continues during elections
To THE DAILY:
Although at this point, I've come to
expect the blatant disregard of facts and the
ironic rants of The Michigan Daily, I was
nonetheless very disappointed with last
Thursday's editorial (Puerile politics: MSA
should clean up its elections 3/14/02). While I
do agree that the Michigan Student Assembly
election process may still be in need of
reform, the fact remains that MSA does, in
fact, still conduct business as usual during
campaign season.
Unfortunately, the Daily prefers to recog-
nize the "relentless politicking." For exam-
ple, at the MSA meeting on Tuesday, March
1 e a rl~ Prinrit..c;Ca mmitt;P rP-nm

The Daily's claim that "during election
season, MSA is virtually inactive and any
real business it could be attending to is
obscured by relentless politicking" is not
only wrong, but it is insulting to someone
who has been working very hard this semes-
ter to insure that MSA accomplishes one of
it's main responsibilities.
DAVID GOLDMAN
LSA Junior
MSA Budget Priorities Committee Chair
Michigamua is culturally
diverse and is 'Fighting
like Hell' for University
To THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial regarding Michiga-
mua (Resist the Tap, 3/18/02) is a gross mis-
representation of the facts of thel student
protest, the University's decision and subse-
quent issues. A poor understanding of the
truth is conceivable, given that Michigamua
does not campaign, self-promote or
announce its decisions or membership to the
University community.
However, in light o' the flagrant and
dangerous misrepresent tions in Monday's
editorial, we are compell d to set the record
straight and address the false statements
therein.
First, Michigamua is not racist but is one of
the most culturally diverse organizations on
campus. Since 1902, we have represented more
than 70 different campus organizations draw-
ing from all races and ethnicities. Second, we
do not meet in space provided by the Universi-
ty. Third, we do not receive financial support
in any way from the University. Fourth, con-
nections with the administration are no more
accessible to the members of Michigamua than
to any other student on campus.
What is true is that from 1902 to 1989 our
organization formed an identity around sym-
bols of Native American culture. However,
recognizing the sensitivities of this communi-
ty, Michigamua agreed to stop such practices
in 1989 and has centered its identity upon
Michigan symbolism and history. Michiga-
mua has not violated its 1989 agreement and
we proudly celebrate many of our contribu-

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