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January 14, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 14, 2002


~~bz ~~1MViw &i1

daily. letters@umich.edu

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

((There was a
nun covered
from head to
toe and they
didn't make her
take it off."
- Enaas Sarsour, a Muslim woman
quoted in this week's Newsweek,
demanding an apology for the
forcible removal of her head scarf
by security guards at Baltimore/
Washington International Airport.

COM(A$I? 10 1KTO

J0 Tt WSWO4(
O NW ~rOK..

"IMP~o D SE~iC 4



LAU (mIK#4


i 11



" a

I guess I fit the profile

A s I was getting
ready to board my
plane on a trip to
;:A Los Angeles from Detroit
on Dec. 11,I had an inter-
esting experience. I entered
'<the airport at around 7 a.m.
on that Tuesday morning
and went directly to the
ticket desk. I was tired. I
had been a little bit nervous about my upcom-
ing appearance on "Politically Incorrect with
Bill Maher" and had not really gotten much
sleep the night before.
The woman behind the ticket desk greet-
ed me and I gave her my identification. My
electronic ticket had been reserved the day
before by the staff of "Politically Incorrect".
I was slated to leave Detroit at 9 a.m., arrive
in Los Angeles by 11 a.m., do the show at
around 6 p.m. and then leave Los Angeles at
10 p.m. on a red-eye flight back to Detroit
that would arrive at around 6 a.m. Detroit
local time. I had to complete this trip all in
the matter of one day because I needed to be
back in Ann Arbor in order to take an exam
on Dec. 12.
As the woman behind the ticket counter
checked me in, she struck up some conversa-
tion. "So, where are you going?" "To L.A.,"
I responded. She looked at my ID again.
"Are you some kind of star?" "No," I
responded. She kept working on my reserva-
tion. "So, why are you going to L.A.?" I
still wasn't sure whether this was some kind
of formal questioning or just casual conver-
.sation. "I'm going to be on a TV show," I
told her. "Oh, so you are some kind of movie
star?" "No, I'm not," I replied. She finally
finished taking care of my ticket, handed me
my boarding pass, informed me I was flying
first-class and directed me to where I should
go next. "Security is right that way, sir.
There's a chance you may randomly checked
when you get there."
I made my way over to security and
things were moving pretty smoothly, faster
than I had thought they would move in fact.
This was my first time flying since Sept. 11
and I, like everyone else, had heard and read
all the stories of security checks at airports
taking much longer than before. At any rate,
my turn came. I placed my computer bag on
the conveyor belt, emptied my pockets, and

prepared to walk through the metal detector.
I walked through, and much to my relief, the
detector stayed silent. Right after I walked
through, as I looked to retrieve my belong-
ings, the woman manning the detector looked
right at me and yelled, in a quite loud voice,
"Male possible!" "Male possible" means
something like "male possible terrorist," but
I imagine security experts feel like somehow
they make onlookers feel better if they don't
insert the last word. I was directed to another
security guard who conducted a body search
of me, feeling under my belt, in my shoes,
and running a metal detector over my whole
body numerous times. This whole process
took about five minutes. Once I was told that
I was "clean" (which I happened to already
know), I was allowed to gather my computer
bag, which had been rummaged through
quite a bit, my pocket belongings, and make
my way to my departure gate.
When I got to the gate, I saw a couple
of men standing by the check-in counter.
They were looking a bit suspicious, but I
didn't think much of it. The woman at the
counter called for first-class passengers to
board, and I made my way to board the
plane. I boarded, sat down in 2A, put my
bag under the seat in front of me and pre-
pared for a long nap. Right after I put on
my seatbelt, two men came to my seat.
"Are you Mr. Zahr?" "Yes," I replied.
"Could you come with us?" They proceed-
ed to take me off the plane and back out
onto the jetway. I realized right then that
these were the same two men that had
seemed suspicious to me when I arrived at
the gate. "Mr. Zahr, you look a bit suspi-
cious today," they told me. They went on
to tell me why I looked so suspicious: an
expensive first-class ticket and a one-day
trip back and forth across the country.
They asked me what my plans were, and
whether or not I could explain all these
suspicious circumstances.
I quickly explained to them what I was
doing, and after about seven minutes or so of
their trying to get proof that I was telling the
truth, of which I had none, they finally decid-
ed to believe me. They took down the infor-
mation from my ID and allowed me to
re-board the plane. By this time, all the rest
of the passengers had boarded the plane and I
had the honor of walking by all of them star-

ing at me. I can only imagine what they
might have been thinking as they saw me
being questioned by federal agents as they
So, I was profiled. For no good reason, I
feel. Perhaps some of the circumstances
around my flight reservation were "suspi-
cious," but if my name was John Smith and I
was wearing a business suit instead of having
an Arabic name with a t-shirt and jeans, I'm
sure the federal agents would have simply
assumed I was on business without asking
any questions.
Profiling is pointless. I can only imagine
how many Arab-Americans like me have
been taken off planes and questioned simply
because of our names or appearance. And I
have not heard any stories in the news of any
of these "profiling" exercises leading to any
thwarts of any attacks.
. So, why do the majority of metro Detroit
Arab-Americans favor racial profiling,
according to a recent Detroit News poll? If
we were to believe Pete DuPont of the
National Center for Policy Analysis, it is
because "Racial profiling seems somehow
different after Sept. 11 ... Our communal
sense of security seems to have changed our
view. The consensus seems to be if there is a
clear and present danger, racial profiling can
be permissible."
I have a quite different conclusion. Per;
haps the majority of Arab-Americans are
responding to attacks against their own patri-
otism and love for America. Out of this fear,
many are saying that racial profiling is
acceptable. It is funny how those who favor
racial profiling could use any response from
Arab-Americans to bolster their position.
They could use DuPont's reasoning or if
Arab-Americans were found to be against
racial profiling, they could use that to call
Arab-Americans even more "suspicious."
The government's racial profiling prac-
tices against individuals and organizations
have yielded nothing in the past few months
except for the dragging through the mud
many reputations, scores of secret trials and
usurpations of civil rights that can all be
described as much less American and much
more McCarthyist.
Amer G. Zahr can be reached via
e-mail at zahrag@umich.edu.




Apparently students in the Business School
are finding it hard to get jobs in our new reces-
sion. Splashed on the front page of Thursday's
Daily was an article about the difficulties they
are having in securing good jobs ("Struggle to
secure jobs hits B-School").
Boo-hoo. It's not that important that a few
grads won't be going to live in New York City at
salaries starting in the hundreds of thousands:
What's important is the loss of employment oppor-
tunities among the working class. According to the
U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate
is now at 5.8 percent and in the last year 2.6 million
people lost their jobs. Lost manufacturing jobs
account for half of the total jobs lost alone. If B-
School kids are nervous about limited employment,
imagine the fear of working-class people whose
survival is tied to the market.
Let's. face it, our B-School grads are going to
find jobs. So they won't be able to afford that sec-
ond sports utility vehicle and they might just have
to get by working in smaller cities for less presti-
gious investment firms - at least for a couple of
years, until the economy recovers. If jobs are so
scarce maybe their time could be spent doing a little
soul searching. Maybe in the end these B-School
kids will gain an inkling of morality and a sense of
value to things beyond profit. But maybe that's
hoping too much.
- Jess Piskor
Let's talk about self-determination. We
acutely feel the need to be ourselves, to make
our own decisions and in doing so, to define who

defend their agendas: The rights of the handi-
capped and the elderly, the necessity of racial
separatism, pro-life as well as pro-choice and the
battling of countries and nations. I think we can
agree that in an ideal world self-determination
should be a fundamental right.
The problem arises when one group's right
to self-determination conflicts with another's. If
one body's political aspirations include the
demolition of the others, that is where the line is
drawn on the-right of self-determination. The
solution, as John Stuart Mill would have it, is to
allow people to do whatever they want as long
as they do not harm anyone else - a debatable
system, but useful here on principle.
In the period of the Revolutionary War,
Americans felt that the British were usurping
their right to self-determination by giving them
no say in shaping the tax policies, nor allowing
them to lobby against oppressive rules such as
the Townshend Acts of 1767. Americans tried
civil disobedience, but when that failed, attacked
the military presence. To secure self-determina-
tion in such a way is valid because its method
attacks the military and its goals do not include
the destruction of its "oppressor," rather simple
These are the rules. Any deviation from these
lines such as attacking civilians and speaking out
against others' rights to exist must be dealt with
swiftly and powerfully. The self-determination
of those who wish to destroy is not a right. This
is not a question of sacrificing one for many, but
rather of doing our best to preserve every non-
harmful person's liberties.
- Rachel Roth
In Passing views are those of individual
members of the Daily's editorial board, and do
not necessarily represent the opinion of

Kiblawi's letter
ignored democracy
in India, Kashmir
Fadi Kiblawi's letter to the editor,
"India, Israel not democratic nations",
dated Jan. 10, was quite fascinating in the
absolute confidence with which Kiblawi
writes about something he obviously
knows nothing about. India is the largest
democratic state in the world. In his letter
Kiblawi asks us "what democracy exists in
Even if he can claim ignorance to the fact
that "Indian occupied" Jammu and Kashmir
actually holds elections and has an elected
leader, one would expect that the mention in
the news of an attack on the Jammu and
Kashmir state assembly building that killed
29 and left 40 injured might have reminded
him of that. In stark contrast is the area gov-
erned by Pakistan - called "Azaad Kash-
mir" ('Azaad' means 'free') - has been
anything but free! There has never been a
state election there.
Further, when one looks at the United
States and India as democracies and compare
them, a few things immediately come to the
mind. A much larger percentage of the popu-
lation votes in elections in India than in the
U.S. This is a direct indication of the strength
of a nation's democracy. No segment of the
population ever had to hold protests and
demonstrations for a right to vote in India.
African Americans did not get the right to
vote until after a great movement led by Mar-
tin Isher Vin AiA nd ee knokkn ok:

would mostly stem from child labor and des-
titution, a direct consequence of the burgeon-
ing population and an economy still building
after British occupation and four major wars..
It's my call. that Americans should take
being grouped with India in a discussion on
democracy, as a compliment, rather than an
Both the U.S. and India are great nations,
each in its own right. Maybe, Kiblawi is
making "politically correct" statements for an
Arab state (I wonder which forum 'elected'
the Saudi royal family ... ), but given that, he
really confuses me when he pops in words
like un-American!
Enough with the
'India bashing'
Recent letters to the editor, such as Fadi
Kiblawi's on Jan. 10 and Deepak Kulkari's
on Jan. 11 ("Pakistan also guilty of offences
in Kashmir"), have made references to
human rights abuses in Indian-administered
Kashmir. Kiblawi goes further by stating that
there is no democracy in Kashmir. While we
are all entitled to our opinions in our great
democracy, we also have the responsibility to
debate based on facts. Clearly, especially in
the case of Kiblawi's letter, this sacred duty
has been grossly ignored.
Kashmir, which is part of the Indian state
of Jammu and Kashmir, has a state legisla-
ture that has been the victim of recent terror-
iqt attacks, Furthermore 211 Kashmiris have

lar violations. I would go further and point
out the killing of innocent civilians by Pak-
istani funded and trained terrorists. There-
fore, one can state that the human rights
problems in Kashmir are due in large part to
Pakistan's covert war against India. If Mexi-
co were sending terrorists into Texas to
seize that state from the U.S., would we
stand by and just watch? My guess is that
the state would be militarized by the U.S. in
a heartbeat.
Enough India bashing! Peace can only
be achieved when the charlatans who rule
Pakistan renounce terror as an instrument of
their foreign policy through concrete
actions and not just photo-ops and pleasant
Daily Arts top ten list
a 'breath of fresh air'
Now this is a surprise. Traditionally, The
Michigan Daily's anti-conservative, anti-
George W. Bush, anti-Christian and undeni-
ably pro-liberal views have kept me a fair
distance away from calling myself a constant
However (refer back to the "now this is a
surprise" line) the 2001 musical year in
review in Friday's issue ("2001's broken
records") has been a journalistic breath of
fresh air for me, and I think the staff has
(finally) gotten something right. In a society
that has come to accept studio production as
a sign of good music. instead of real talent, I


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