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March 07, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-07

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


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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.

I'm able to
produce anthrax
in my bathroom
...why don't you
bomb Sweden?"
- Niklas Ergandt, a 25-year-old Swede,
questioning British Prime Minister Tony
Blair during an MTV-organized forum, as
reported by The Associated Press. The forum
will air in the United States on March 10.


The next step: turn on to turning off
B E I R U T , stration in downtown Beirut last month, a would lose its most effective mode of
Lebanon - television crew approached myself and delivering pro-war propaganda - the
I've been here other international students to request for- unquestioning news channels and net-
for more than three eign perspectives on a U.S. invasion of works that deliver whatever they are
weeks now, and the Iraq. We weren't hard to identify; a group given. If we all stopped watching, media
period of culture shock of Europeans and Americans standing moguls like Rupert Murdoch would be
I had expected has yet amongst Pan-Arabists and the local Pro- forced to start paying attention to us even
to materialize. I sup- gressive Socialist Party. So some of us if our leaders won't. Is it unfair to target
(4f 7 pose the ease with smiled for the camera and explained (pre- them? Of course not. They have political
which I've made sumably on behalf of all) why we were agendas, as well as some weight to throw
myself at home stems largely from the fact demonstrating against a war. Here in the around. Celebrity journalists like Katie
that college students anywhere are, in essence, Middle East, the prevailing view is that an Couric might take a stand against war if
college students. Same foibles, bar outings, invasion isn't a fight about how far Sad- no one is watching just to get our attention
road trips, late nights, papers, pizza orders, dam's missiles can travel or whatever this back. After Congress has rolled over to
dating problems ... you know the drill. week's excuse for aggression is, but the allow Bush to move troops around like a
There are little differences. It's strange to first part of a U.S. strategy for indefinite game of Risk, somebody has to do some-
be asked for an "American" perspective on global control. Whether people here think thing. I can't think of anyone bigger than
matters of culture or geopolitics, especially it's a conspiracy, the next crusade, empire the "independent" American TV media.
because I hardly think of myself as an "aver- building or just sensible realpolitik, they're (I'll make an exception for the Public
age American." I'm not sure who is an aver- onto it, and the sense of hopelessness in the Broadcasting Service.)
age American, so as not to misrepresent face of it all is overwhelming. "If so many I'm not advocating that we should stop
anyone, I've carefully explained before people are against it, why is it happening?" paying attention to what's happening. Pick
every "American perspective" I present that they ask. "Why does the American govern- up the paper, Pick up a magazine. Read.
I'm speaking for myself. Here are some ment ignore the opinions voiced in its Think. Discuss. The print media is by no
answers I've given more than once, see if streets and around the world?" I moved means perfect, but it's certainly more thor-
you can guess the question: away from the TV crew, not wishing to ough, and you can spend more time search-
"No, I don't think George Bush planned have my moppy hair beamed into the ing out information the increasingly
September 11." homes of Lebanese viewers as part of a homogenous TV news won't give you. And
"No, I don't think the Mossad planned soundbite on the 11 o'clock news, a sound- there could be beautiful side effects. The
September11." .bite that for local viewers might seem con- pro-peace movement in America, the
"Sure, I guess it's possible either one of tradictory to what most Americans must strongest citizens' campaign since Viet-
them could have planned it. They both bene- think as war seems ever more inevitable. nam, has opened a new sense of dialogue.
fited from it, anyway." As I watched the crew finish the inter- I've seen people at demonstrations intro-
"Shakira is definitely hot." views and leave, I wondered, "How to duce themselves and begin talking to total
"Invading Iraq is silly. For the money the show them what Americans really think?" strangers as no one would ever do on cam-
U.S. will spend on it, we could buy everyone and it hit me: Turn off your TVs. Keep pus. Turning off the TV and fostering that
in Iraq a pony. That's what Saddam Hussein them off until we are assured there will be growing sense of community would be a
really wants out of all this. A pony." no war. If there is one, keep them off until great thing for everyone, but most of all it
It occurred to me after answering some it ends. Sound crazy? Think about it. It's should be done for the people everywhere
of those questions that people here under- the ultimate act of protest. If enough peo- else. Let them know what Americans think.
stand us about as well-as we understand pie did it, Nielsen ratings would reflect
them. Mass media provides the bulk of drops in viewership and advertising dol- Enders can be reached at
their impressions. At a pro-peace demon- lars would slow down. The Bush junta denders@umich.edu.


Skipping class to protest war
not an effective strategy
I was disappointed to see an otherwise
eloquent and well-reasoned staff editorial in
Wednesday's Daily, Unjust war (03/05/03),
tarnished by a statement advocating that stu-
dents cut class as a form of protest against
possible war in the Middle East. The notion
of cutting class as a form of political state-
ment is ludicrous. Not only is missing class
detrimental to a student's education, the
already-nonexistent political impact of cut-
ting class is further diluted by the fact that
cutting class in protest is indistinguishable
from missing class due to illness or skipping
class out of laziness.
A far more effective way to make a polit-
ical statement would be to write to one's
elected representatives or to participate in an
organized protest, but I suppose these alter-
natives would be too much work for some-
one who would prefer to make a political
statement by cutting class.
Daily coverage of recent
Arab-Israeli skirmish
skewed and inaccurate
In regard to the Daily's article, Stu-
dent's remember bus bombing victims at
vigil (03/05/03), it should be noted that 20
students came out in the freezing cold to
show dedication to peace. But instead of
focusing on those that were lost and
mourning with the families that have suf-
fered, the headlines read "Missile hits
Gaza after suicide bombing."
It should be noted that Israeli Defense
Force sources say that there is a wave of
disinformation regarding the killing of 11
Arabs in the operation. It is being said that
the 11 were killed when IDF troops fired
at a terrorist engaged in firing a missile at
them, but the commander at the scene said
that he "knows for sure that the only casu-

attack. In trying times, we must focus on the
dead and not divert attention from the casual-
ties that were lost by such a horrific crime
against all humans.
LSA junior
Protesting certain government
actions a patriotic duty
Robert DeVore's letter, Student opposition
to U.S. government 'a slap in the face'
(03/05/03), showed exactly why those stu-
dents who choose to protest the current
administration should continue their protests
and feel proud to do so. First, DeVore makes
the mistake of assuming his peers are
protesting his "actions." This protest is to try
and prevent an invasion of a country that has
never committed an aggressive act against
the United Stites. Even during direct armed
conflict, Iraq wasn't able to inflict more
damage on our troops than our "friendly fire"
did. The protest is not against containment of
Saddam Hussein or even to end the sanctions
our government has placed on Iraq. Second-
ly, whether or not Saddam remains in power
is meaningless to the protection of the Con-
stitution. What is most dangerous to the
integrity of the Constitution are bills like the
PATRIOT Act which effectively rescind
guaranteed rights that our president is sworn
to uphold. Finally, this protest was not
against the U.S. government, as DeVore
states, but against U.S. government policy,
which will effect every citizen. As a citizen,
it is everyone's patriotic duty to speak their
mind and act on what they believe is right,
regardless of political pressure from those
who believe unthinking, blind support of
every policy decision a president makes is
the American way. To end, I hope that slap
in the face wakes DeVore up.
'Negative reaction' to
Finkelstein, SAFE
distorts words, facts

torted remarks in a letter to the Daily SAFE
guest lecturer is insult to Holocaust remem-
brances (03/06/03). As the sponsors of the
event, we feel that it is our place to provide
the University community with what are so
frequently lost in emotionally-heated debates
(and in the aforementioned letter): the facts.
To begin with, the letter writer asserts
that Finkelstein will discuss his book, "The
Holocaust Industry." This is simply not true,
as the title of Finkelstein's lecture as it has
been publicized is "Prospects for Peace in
Israel/Palestine." Irrespective, the allegations
against Finkelstein that he mitigates the
Holocaust are patently false and extremely
offensive. Finkelstein dedicated his first
book to his parents, Holocaust survivors of
the Auschwitz and Maidanek concentration
camps, as well as the Warsaw Ghetto. His
dedication reads: "May I never forgive or
forget what was done to them."
Indeed, Finkelstein has devoted the
majority of his academic career to maintain-
ing the integrity of the historical memory of
the Nazi Holocaust, which he seeks to pro-
tect from manipulation and distortion.
Finkelstein's book, "The Holocaust Industry:
Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish
Suffering," is an effort to expose those who
have disgracefully used the Holocaust for
their own gain. In the opening pages of his
book, Finkelstein clearly distinguishes
between the historical Nazi Holocaust where
millions of Jews were killed and the Holo-
caust as a public discourse, which is the sub-
ject of his study. The book has aroused much
controversy among some elements of the
Jewish community in America, who have
labeled Finkelstein as an "anti-Semite" and a
Amidst, the academic community,
Finkelstein is highly-regarded, and invited
by Middle East studies departments on cam-
puses around the country. Furthermore, per-
haps the greatest living authority on the
Holocaust, Raul Hilberg, has repeatedly
praised "The Holocaust Industry," calling it a
"breakthrough." Seeking to bring such a
renowned and articulate scholar to the Uni-
versity, SAFE has invited Finkelstein to dis-
cuss the Arab-Israeli conflict. To selectively
quote from his book, and place them com-
pletely out of context, is a serious attack on
his integrity and humanity. SAFE wishes that
apologists for Israeli brutality and war
crimes, with the mere objective of stifling




.tAARON McGR*[,,"J..)ER


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