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April 01, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-01

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 1, 2002


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

We look at this as
something to heighten
the hearts of Enron
employees who are
losing their jobs."
- Playboy spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris,
regarding the upcoming "Women of Enron"
issue, as quoted in the current Newsweek

/ fl '4hp

She was from Deisheh, Palestine.

ne of the last individ-
uals to give her life
was an 18-year old
young woman. She was from
Dheisheh, a refugee camp
near Jerusalem in the West
Bank. I can remember a time
a few years ago when I met
with a man named Ziad who
heads much of the activities
that revolve around youth at the camp. He came to
America asking me and others to help organize a
tour for a number of Dheisheh's young popula-
tion. A few months later, Ziad returned with a
group of about 30 children from Dheisheh aged
anywhere from seven to about 16 years. They
toured around the country putting on cultural art
shows and performing traditional Palestinian
dances. I can remember congregating with them
backstage before their performance here in Michi-
gan. We sang songs, about struggle, about love,
about whatever we felt like. I got to know all their
names, although I forget most of them now.
I can remember one girl in particular though.
Her name is Manaar. She must have been 12 or 13
at the time. She was especially talented. She sang
beautifully, and I can remember how she asked
me to speak English with her. She wanted to prac-
tice, as it was one of her jobs in the cultural shows
to recite a poem in English. I saw Manaar again at
a rally in Washington in September of 2000. She
performed there as well, and she served as an
inspiration to many, including me. She was the
first person I thought of when I heard that the
young woman who had exploded herself in that
market in Jerusalem was from Dheisheh.
I felt relief to learn that it had not been Manaar
who decided to take her life that day. But my
relief quickly turned to dejection when I came to
the realization that it very well could have been.
Not on that day, but perhaps on any other. Manaar

lives a life all too similar to that of the young
woman who committed such an act of horror and
despair. We all too seldom hear of people like
Ziad and Manaar. We forget about them, as we
constantly hear Israeli officials and their support-
ers on this campus and elsewhere brushing over
the fact that Ziad, Manaar and the other 3 million.
residents of the West Bank are living under the
longest standing military occupation of our time.
And now, more than ever, as their deficient and
defunct leadership stays holed up in presidential
compounds, speaking to television cameras and
soaking up the spotlight, their plight seems more
hopeless than ever.
It has become the strategy of our current
American administration to lump the Palestinian
question into the greater war on terror, much to
the delight of Israel and its supporters. But this
strategy, unfortunately, will only create more bar-
riers to truly understanding the conflict. Although
the maniacs of al-Qaida attempted to co-opt the
Palestinian cause for their own political means,
Palestinians remain committed to a legitimate goal
of self-determination. This is not to say that some
Palestinians do not commit acts of terrorism.
They are human, like any other people and there
will be some who will resort to illegitimate means
of resistance. But not every act of violence is an
act of terrorism, and not every act of violence is an
illegitimate form of resistance. Palestinians, like
any other people, are mostly averse to acts of vio-
lence against civilians. The Palestinian suicide
bomber, however, is not the same creature that
flies a plane into a New York City skyscraper.
The latter is calculating, deliberate and has intent
to murder. The former is dejected, impulsive and
has intent to die. Understanding this and framing
it in the context of an illegal military occupation
leads to an understanding that can intelligently
condemn the action of the individual while simul-
taneously understanding what circumstances

could lead to such a horrific act. In other words, a
Palestinian act of violence against civilians does
not delegitimize the just struggle of a people try-
ing to free itself from the shackles of military
occupation - a form of terror itself.
Much of my commitment to the struggle of
my fellow Palestinians comes not from the fact
that I am Palestinian, but rather from a strong
belief that our cause is just. My commitment
also, however, comes from a shared history, a
shared political experience. My personal family
history is one of refuge, from Jaffa to Amman to
America. It is sadly not uncommon to the Pales-
tinian experience. Dheisheh's residents are inter-
nal refugees, many of them coming from towns
located only miles from their refugee camp.
They, of course, are not allowed to return to their
towns by virtue of their being Palestinian. In
fact, in a sort of wicked irony, the Palestinian
experience has come to mimic the Jewish experi-
ence. Palestinians and Jews now share more than
just a political conflict that has stretched for
much of the past century; they also share a histo-
ry of refuge, discrimination, diaspora and power-
lessness, the only difference being that the
Palestinian experience is current. The Palestinian
has inherited the Jewish political soul, made to
feel like a foreigner in his own land, battered by
his enemy and abandoned by his protectors, left
to fend for himself against incredible odds.
In Dheisheh, this feeling is more prevalent
than ever. Ziad and Manaar are aliens in their own
land. Dheisheh is now under siege, and I do not
imagine that they will ever read this column. I can
only remember what Ziad once told me when I
asked him what he truly wanted. His reply rings
in my ears, "I was born in a refugee camp. My
only goal is to not die in one."

Amer G. Zahr can be reached at


ITCS should try harder to
find campus computing space
I am writing this e-mail in regards to Fri-
day's Michigan Daily article, NUBS site will
close due to LSI construction and I am extremely
concerned why ITCS does not try harder to find
computing space. It is obvious there are not
enough computing resources, since all too often
people wander around sites like Angell Hall,
waiting to be lucky enough to find someone
leaving a computer so that they can jump on it.
My suggestion is, what about East Hall? In
East Hall, there are two very large atria that for
the most part lay idle and unused, and are
frankly just wasted space. There is several thou-
sand square feet available, on the first floors of
the North and South Atrium, on the second floor
of the South Atrium and on the third floor of the
North Atrium.
Currently, there is pretty much nothing on
the first floors of the atrium, not even benches,
tables or chairs for studying, meeting, etc. On
the upper levels there are scattered tables and
chairs, and even a ping pong table, but most of
them remain empty and unused. Throughout the
day, there may be a few individuals found
studying at these tables, but there are other
study/common areas available to them in East
Hall, and are just as empty. The traffic through
the atria is minimal, and the most I have ever
seen anyone make use of them is when a jug-
gling club was practicing there.

Furthermore, the location of a computing
site in East Hall would be extremely beneficial,
for it is on a vital part of Central Campus, and
there is no other computing site that is very
close to that location.
The only complaints or issues that I foresee
is the psychology or math department complain-
ing about the allotment of space being for them,
or that the noise level would be disruptive. But
the psychology and math departments will be
the first to benefit having a computing site read-
ily available to them, and as you can see in com-
puting sites such as the Union basement, the
noise level is low.
Even if no computing site is installed in East
Hall, the University should at least try to make
the area more useful, such as providing more
study tables and chairs in the empty space.
LSA junior
... and ITCS respods to
students' computer concerns
First, let me say that we understand frustra-
tion with the closing of the NUBS computing
facility. It was not by any means a decision that
ITCS or the sites management made purposeful-
ly. The need to close NUBS came from the
decision to demolish that building to make room
for the Life Sciences Institute. In short, if the
building does't exist we obviously can not

maintain a computer lab there.
We within ITCS and Campus Computing
Sites would prefer as well to not lose additional
computing space on campus and we do realize
resources are tight. In this light, I would like to
inform you that the computers from NUBS are
being redeployed in other sites around campus
in an effort to not reduce the total number of
machines available to students. Currently there
are 1,500-plus machines available to students
and that number is not expected to decrease and
could potentially increase over the next year.
Machines from NUBS are expected to be
deployed to the residence halls, the basement of
the Shapiro Library as well as a few other loca-
tions around campus. I would like to direct you
to the campus computing sites web page where
we list the available computing facilities:
http://www.umich.edu/-sites/site .html#general
As both myself and Ruth Addis, ITCS
director for user services, were quoted in the
Daily article, ITCS is aggressively looking
for additional space for computing facilities
in the Hill area. We have been actively
searching for additional computing space
since the first day that we have heard of the
closing of NUBS and we continue to do so.
We appreciate your suggestion of the East
Hall locations and will take it under advise-
ment as a possible alternative location.
Thank you for being concerned and please
do not hesitate to communicate with us and pro-
vide constructive feedback.
ITCS sites manager



Slave reparations: Suit underscores

The recent filing of a lawsuit in a Brooklyn
federal court highlights the hypocritical argu-
ment upon which the claim for slave repara-
tions is based. Activist Deadria Farmer
-Paellman filed a lawsuit seeking billions of
dollars against three corporations that benefit-
ed from slavery before the Eman- U. CO
cipation Proclamation. Fleet-
Boston Financial, railroad T( RR S
firm CSX and the Aetna insurance company
have all been named. Farmer-Paellman has
promised to name over 100 other defendants.
She filed the suit on behalf of 35 million

These actions, and the claims upon which
this suit is built are tantamount to nothing
more than a racial witch-hunt. Proponents of
slave reparations argue that repaying living
African-Americans for the horrible injustices
of crimes committed over 140 years ago is a
necessary step in correcting the atrocity that
slavery was, and the legacy of hate it undoubt-
edly carries with it. In reality it does nothing
NNEC TICU T more than draw
further lines of
division between
those people advocating reparations, and those
opposing it. Farmer-Paellman is basing her
claim against people living today, based on
the culpability of others who have been dead

In order to truly make things equal, erase
racism as much as possible, and provide all
citizens with the same opportunity for upward
mobility, activists like Farmer-Paellman must
be proactive, and work toward creating a
world in which equality is the standard. What
she and her supporters are doing now is
attempting to punish people who are not guilty
for a crime they had no part in. This is racist in
the sense that she is holding people responsi-
ble based on their affiliation with a company,
and the color of their skin. This creates more
racial walls than it breaks down. This makes
Farmer-Paellman a hypocrite, as she is an
African-American activist. In order to help


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