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February 07, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 7, 2003


Ule lttau a~


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.

They are
German, hairy and
have no respect
for property."
- Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto
on why he dubbed his two dogs with the
monikers Marx and Engels. The quote
appeared in this week's Economist.


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My deity can defeat your deity


id you know
that God was on
trial? Not the
one he's been on for
years in my head but
the one that occurred in
a more corporeal realm
this Monday, Tuesday
and Wednesday from 7-
9 p.m. in Rackham
Auditorium. The time was within my
schedule, the price of free was within my
range and the topic is always relevant so I
made the adventurous trek.
The first night's discussion dealt with
the existence of God and why that ques-
tion is important. The speaker, while very
eloquent, gave the philosophical argu-
ments heard by those who have ever par-
taken in the goodness that is a philosophy
course. Then the really sexy part of the
discussion came - the question and
answer. The questions ranged from
obscure Steven Hawking negative uni-
verse theories, to pertinent questions of
everyday existence. The closest question
to the one I didn't get to ask from the line
was about the purpose of life and the
entire paradox of God. The lecturer agreed
with the basic givens of God. If there was
a God, he would be all knowing, all-pow-
erful and perhaps all-good. He also said
God would have created life for the cre-
ations to enjoy it. So why would or how
could an all-knowing God punish someone
for sins they commit when their path is
immutable? With the acceptance of God,
as he is defined one also accepts the view
that their life is all but determined. Maybe

statements of "That's the way God wanted
it to be" have incensed you as much as
they have me. Although I may not know
the plan would have, if there were one it
leaves little reason to be alive. There is lit-
tle purpose to live a fatalistic life.
If one juxtaposes fate with the quaint
notion of free will then you believe that
one can act in a way that will surprise
God? Pretty vain thought. So I asked Dr.
William Lane Craig this. He explained
with a pretty good analogy that God is a
perfect barometer, he or she can tell you
the weather but God doesn't directly affect
the weather, whereas the sun, clouds, rain
and such actually determine the weather.
Good analogy, or so I thought until that
pesky free thought started to seep in.
Cut to Tuesday's lecture where the
topic was secularism and pluralistic truth
or religion's role in society. His lecture
was quality and all but the question and
answer is what I paid the big money for.
The questions were fairly intelligent with
the highlight being the Muslim student
who tried to point out the divisiveness that
is inherent in Christianity. Hmmm, is that
a fight you really want to get into? There
are so many inconsistencies within any
religion that the only time they can unite
is to fight another religion. The speaker
easily dismantled the student's argument.
During their discourse the tension of Mus-
lim v. Christian became palpable. One
mental giant proceeded to yell "Amen!" in
conjunction with a retort from the speaker.
And that's when I remembered that reli-
gious people scare me.
I was at an event sponsored by a myriad

of Ann Arbor churches and University
Christian groups. Visions of excommuni-
cation and fatwas passed through my head.
I realized the error in holding a philosophi-
cal trial of God where the judge and jury
are all Christian. God will get off with
apologies from the court. I realized the
question and answer session, while very
scholarly, was tantamount to asking your
heathen question, get your holy answer and
move on. Without question, I appreciate
the organization, effort and progressive
thinking that went into this event and this
was one of the most intellectual ways I
have seen religion discussed. However, I
did not attend the forum to be proselytized,
and without a strong counter presence the
mood inevitably shifts to this direction.
At the end of the second night I asked
this speaker my question from the previ-
ous night. Why be punished for a path I
can't alter? I told him the barometer anal-
ogy but this time I said that God is the
perfect barometer that can predict and
control the weather. So if he can't be sur-
prised, why give life? He said it comes
down to two things: Either man is some-
thing totally differently or God is not all-
knowing. A powerful being with that is
not all-knowing: I know him - he's the
president, and that thought was even more
disturbing. Maybe the only answer is that
there is none and that the purpose is to
enjoy it and live. I skipped Wednesday's
lecture. Too much thinking, I should go


Rahim can be reached
at hrahim@umich.edu.


In letter to the editor, Kiblai
misrepresented content of
Prof. Litvak's lecture on Israel
The Jewish Law Students Association is'
proud to host scholars such as Prof. Meir Lit-
vak, an internationally respected Israeli pro-
fessor who spoke at the Law School on
Monday about the struggle for peace in Israel.
In a letter to the editor (Litvak's lecture, sugges-
tions deny Palestinian rights, 02/0503) Fadi
Kiblawi discussed concerns that he had with
Litvak's talk. We would have been interested
to discuss these concerns with him, but he
was not present at the event.
Perhaps it was due to Kiblawi's absence
that he misunderstood the content of Litvak's
speech. Most of Litvak's statements cited in
the letter to the editor were in response to a
question regarding solutions that have been
proposed for peace. Litvak mentioned several
proposals, including a physical separation
between Israeli and Palestinian territories. He
noted that, while this option was clearly
undesirable, some Israelis had suggested it
out of frustration with ongoing terrorism and
the Palestinian refusal to pursue other
avenues toward peace. Litvak concluded that,
absent compromises from both sides, the only
option would be to "continue the present situ-
ation," with which neither Israelis nor Pales-
tinians are satisfied, "and wait for a miracle."
Jewish law-students at the University are
proud of our school's diversity and our com-
munity's interest in hearing ideas presented
by speakers from all cultures, perspectives
and backgrounds. Within the Law School,
and within the University at large, we realize
that it is only through an atmosphere of hon-
est communication and mutual understanding
that we can truly enjoy the intellectual and
social advantages that are afforded by sharing
our differences.
Executive Board
Jewish Law Students Association
Kiblawi's comments on Litak
had no correlation with reality

rorism. A unilateral Israeli "solution"
involves withdrawal from the occupied terri-
tories and the construction of a dividing wall
between these territories and Israel proper.
However, Kiblawi's so-called "Apartheid
Wall" has nothing to do with apartheid.
Indeed, the Israelis have no desire to rule the
Palestinians. Therefore, if the Palestinians
continue to reject reasonable compromises,
then Israel has no choice but to unilaterally
wash its hands of the entire affair.
There are four things that the Palestinian
apologist must someday accept:
1) If the Palestinians want their claims of
Israeli "apartheid" to be taken seriously,
they must also confront the blatant repres-
sion that is endemic in Arabic society. In
particular, how can they ignore the vicious
gender apartheid of Saudi Arabia, where
women cannot travel abroad without the per-
mission of a male relative, or walk alone in
their own neighborhoods without fear of
beatings by the religious police?
2) If the Palestinians want their claims of
Israeli "occupation" to be taken seriously,
then they must also admit to the brutal occu-
pation of Lebanon by Syria. Lebanon, whose
capital was once considered "the Paris of the
Middle East," has been occupied by 35,000
Syrian soldiers since 1975. The Syrians have
been ruthless in their suppression of anti-
government dissidents.
3) If the Palestinians want their struggle
to be legitimized in the eyes of Americans,
they must adopt the strategy of non-vio-
lence. They must accept the techniques of
Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, and
they must explicitly reject the terrorist tac-
tics of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigade.
4) The Palestinian "right of return" is a
political fantasy and a practical impossibili-
ty whose only purpose is the demographic
destruction of Israel. Palestinians get angry,
at Israeli settlements because they are built
on Palestinian land. This is a fair complaint
- the settlements must be ended. But pre-
1967 Israel belongs to the Israelis, not to
the Palestinians.
The Intifada has been difficult for
Israel to bear, but it has been utterly cata-
strophic for the Palestinian people. Now is
the time for the Palestinians to adopt a
pragmatic, peaceful approach that they
have consistently rejected in the past. If
order is not imposed from within Palestin-
ian society, then Israel will have to impose
it from the outside.

Daily, by the "Committee for a Safe
Israel." My question to the Daily is, do
you use discretion or even read the adver-
tisements you publish? I am tired of open-
ing the Daily and seeing a giant
advertisement devoted to a super-Zionist
organization that attempts to sway stu-
dents opinions through typical Israeli pro-
paganda. Yesterday's particular
advertisement accused the United Nations
and specifically Secretary-General Kofi
Annan of terrorism for asking Israel "to
live side by side with a Palestinian
Nation." In addition the ad criticized the
United States for allegedly funding Pales-
tinian Liberation Organization "terrorist"
activities and the "terrorist" United
Nations' refugee camps, have the Israelis
forgotten that the United States allocates
almost $5 billion to Israel each year and is
their number one ally in the world? I think
that the students at the University should
be able to read the Daily knowing that the
writers and staff of the Daily do not sup-
port pure propaganda and actually have
some knowledge about what the Daily
chooses to publish.
LSA junior
Smith's column did not
provide a viable cure for the
nation's education system
If Luke Smith (NASA, we have a prob-
lem, 02/06/03) actually believes that the
country's education problems would be
solved by budget cuts to NASA, then he is
far more ignorant than his article makes
him seem. I choose not to even address his
uninformed opinion of the legitimacy of
manned space flight or astrophysicists'
Make-A-Wish Foundation as he would call
it. I would rather like to point out that if
he is- honestly concerned about the govern-
ment wasting his tax dollars, maybe he
should actually look at the numbers from
previous budgets. In 1999 of the actual
discretionary spending of the government,
slightly less than half ($262 billion) went
to defense spending, no doubt to drop mil-
lion dollar bombs on $20 tents. Education
received $56 billion dollars, while not
nearly as much as it needs, far more than
the $18 billion spent on "General Science,
Snace and Technnolov" a fund that dAe-






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