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October 11, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-11

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 11, 2002


( jE ' iC [ All 1 MT j


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.

It is only when the
Iraqi dictator is certain
of our willingness to
wage war if necessary
that peace becomes
- Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif, as quoted in
yesterday's online edition of the Washington
Post, regarding the House's approval of a
resolution authorizing war-making powers
for President Bush in Iraq.

a 4he Tvl o fA.Ahe. dir - uv~i&c1o -. e- ibeam44b

A new degree of reparations
f all the issues I between races since World War II. Yet many of enormous amount of influence on the attitudes of
. ® expected Dick our best efforts have been undermined by mis- the American public. Transforming racial atti-
P o s t h u m u s guided, but dogged, individuals, organizations tudes might take years. But an executive
(giggle) and Jennifer and legislators. At the same time, the federal gov- acknowledgement and a redirection of govern-
Granholm to babble on eminent has subsidized segregation through poli- ment priorities toward the problem have the
about during the gover- cies that have enabled white flight and potential to change the way that American people
nor's race, slave repara- suburbanization. There has been little continuity view racial inequality.
tions was pretty near the in the ways in which we've fought segregation Any reparations program must be extensive,
hg bottom of the list. But and inequality, and as a result the campaign has and it must be aimed at long-term results. It
Dick has insisted - been stilted and often ineffective. should combine a variety of programs aimed at
because he inanely deems even tacit support of Reparations offer an wonderful opportunity to eradicating racial inequality - improving edu-
reparations to be radical - that the issue be part address the problem. What we lack, though, is a cation, providing better access to jobs, adequate
of the campaign. As you wish, Dick; let's banter: bridge between the reparations discussion and the housing and health care - under a well-articu-
The discourse on reparations is so far away project of eradicating racial inequity. Perhaps lated and genuine resolution. It's also essential
from the mainstream today that the public rarely their mutual constructiveness would be clearer if that the beneficiaries' agency be considered. No
understands it. Rather than participate in a dis- reparations wasn't such a knee-jerk. Spurious George-esque initiatives that force
cussion about what reparations can mean and Reparations do not have to come in the form women to marry the fathers of their babies in
how they can be carried out, we react a la of blank checks. Rather they can come in the order qualify for aid.
Posthumus and immediately dismiss the idea as form of a large-scale, federally-directed program One of democracy's fundamental features is
radical. The very word - reparations - con- organized to channel money and energy toward its ability to fix mistakes we've made in the past.
notes special privileges and reverse racism for narrowing the economic gap between blacks (and But almost a century and a half after the Civil
large portions of the public. again, other minorities) and whites. Equally as War, we are still living with the awful conse-
It's unfortunate that we are so skittish about important, our leaders must be the impetus. They quences of slavery. Institutional racism and eco-
the subject. There's very little in our country as must assert that addressing historic racial inequal- nomic inequality along racial lines are problems
pressing as the need to reconcile the dispropor- ity is an urgent and significant priority. that demand resolution. Race relations will not
tionate economic burden that blacks (and other Our past Deals, New and Fair, our Frontiers wholly improve until our leaders and we make a
minorities) have borne since slavery. Still today and Societies, have all shaped the political and determined and genuine effort to confront the his-
the unemployment rate remains cripplingly cultural landscapes of their respective epochs. toric racial inequality that is part of the very fab-
higher for blacks than for whites; blacks attend Imagine the sea change that an administration- ric of American society. Reparations offer us a
universities at a lower rate than whites; majori- championed, reparations-based program could convenient mechanism for launching a direct
ty-black cities continue to crumble; etc. When mean for race relations in this country. Of course assault on that inequality. We should be talking
this is our history, we cringe. When it is our there'd be dissenters - there always are - but about them.
present, we simply look the other way. the effects on Americans, especially teenagers
The federal government has been addressing, and children, would be invaluable. John Honkala can be reached at
to varying degrees, the problem of disparity The president and his administration wield an jhonkala@umich.edu.
Muddying the waters
hen the over- sum up: gender discrimination in sports: OK. Has this guy ever read Marx? I bet that's also
hyped Palestin- Discrimination in workplace (especially at the the first time anyone has ever called Summers
ian Solidarity request of a foreigner): bad. "courageous." Like Coleman, there was nothing
Conference begins on Schlussel's characterization of scheduled courageous about his stand: he was most likely
campus tomorrow, its cen- solidarity conference speakers Sami Al-Arian responding to pointed pressure from donors to
tral issue of divestment and Huwaida Arraf as terrorists could use some address the issue.
from Israel will have been backing as well. Al-Arian weathered a years- Finley's column is also posted on www.cam-
moot for more than two long FBI investigation into alleged terrorist con- pus-watch.org, the website created by neoconserv-
weeks. University Presi- nections resulting only in his termination as a ative policy wonk Daniel Pipes to monitor
dent Mary Sue Coleman professor at the University of South Florida. Middle East politics and as a bonus featured pro-
has already stated the University's opinion (unso- (Even FoxNews pundit Bill O'Reilly criticized files of professors around the country - includ-
licited by those holding conference) on divest- the school's president for removing Al-Arian, ing one here at Michigan - considered biased
ment, and it is clear to most people informed on not long after O'Reilly had Al-Arian on the aganst l policy.
the issue that divestment is a new strategy to show and told him: "If I were the CIA, I'd fol- When Coleman sent out the email affirming
localize and market the Palestinian cause rather low you wherever you went.") the University's commitment to free speech and
than a goal anyone expects to see achieved. Arraf is guilty by association: she was arrest- settling the divestment issue, where was her criti-
Regardless, this weekend promises heavy- ed attempting to bring Palestinian gunmen holed cism of a website whose tactics are at the very
handed debate and flang tempers. That left me up in the Church of the Nativity food and sup- least stifling to debate? (Pipes took the profes-
wishing for a bit of levity, which, though I tried, I plies during the Israeli army's siege of the church sorsFinsse rsff the si e ire nse to criacis.)
was unable to provide on my own. (What rhymes in.May the real issue at hand: after more than 30
with divestment?) Imagine my relief when South- Schlussel-style silliness has also found its years of conflict, people are still being killed
field-based lawyer and conservative commentator way into the "mainstream" media, which she is everyday in Israel and the occupied territo-
Debbie Schlussel filed a lawsuit against the Uni- so fond of decrying. In his Sept. 29 column, ries, while here, on college campuses, people.
versity and the conference on behalf of a pair of Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley piss and moan about who hates who most
University students. Schlussel says "terrorists" called divestment "anti-Semitic," which is about and wage battles to sway public opinion
coming to speak at the conference would be as productive as loosely comparing Israel to toward one side or the other. Voices like
"endangering the lives of students and visitors to apartheid South Africa. theirs also drown out moderates on both
the Michigan campus." Finley, apparently feeling the term isn't sides and oversimplify (if not prevent)
Schlussel (whose "work" can be found at already bandied about recklessly enough, goes on debate. It is possible to support Palestinian
www.politicalusa.com) has a knack for contradict- to ask: "... When did anti-Semitism lose its seat statehood and not Yasser Arafat; being pro-
ing herself and decrying all things Arab as "ter- on the bus of political correctness?" Israel is not the same thing as supporting
rorist." Besides terrorism, Schlussel has taken on Who's driving that bus? Israeli occupation.
such hard-hitting issues as why Britney "Speers" Finley further embarrasses himself by writ- I'll take Huwaida Arraf any day. Whether her
(if you're going to knock someone, at least spell ing: "The first (Palestinian Solidarity) conference actions support terrorism, she was courageous
their name right) hates men and why the WNBA was held at Berkeley, which, with U-M and Har- enough to take a stand instead of hiding behind
"sucks" and is an "unnatural progression of Title vard, forms the ideological axis that incubates frivolous lawsuits designed to suppress debate.
IX." She complained when female air traffic con- bankrupt, neo-Marxist leftism. But Harvard's And she at least talks about peace.
trollers in Texas were temporarily removed at the courageous president, Lawrence Summers,
request of Saudi Prince Abdullah when he flew denounced the divestment scheme for what it is David Enders can be reached at
there to meet with President George W. Bush. To - anti-Semitism." denders@umich.edu.

Former student gov. pres.
urges 'U' not to divest
As a graduate of the University, it is extreme-
ly disturbing to leam that the campus is going to
be used as a venue for bias, prejudice and the
rhetoric of hate at the conference urging that the
University divest itself of its investments in the
State of Israel.
It is disturbing because the conference agenda
makes clear that its organizers not only do not
have open minds, but rather are intent on turning
a blind eye toward unspeakable terrorism. Theirs
is a transparent attempt to cloak anti-Semitism in
the political rhetoric associated with equating
Zionism with racism. Nothing of course, could be

of silent bystander. To be a silent bystander and
refrain from making a moral statement on behalf
of the University and the values for which it
stands is the ultimate betrayal of those values.
I urge the entire University community,
including the President, the University Board of
Regents, the faculty and staff and students to
make a clear statement of its essential values; to
state proudly, formally and aloud, that the Uni-
versity will not succumb to the immoral boycott
and libel of a nation urged by the conference and
will not, in the name of freedom of expression, sit
quietly by and become a bystander to immorality.
The author was president ofthe University Student
Government Council from 1972-1973 and is with
the American'Jewish Committee

for Israel is good for Palestinians. I also
share the reservations of many students
regarding some of the expected speakers,
especially Hatem Bazian, whom I remember
all too well from when I was a student with
him at San Francisco State University in
1990-1991. But I must also strongly object
to the lawsuit (which was not supported at
the rally) attempting to stop the conference.
This lawsuit makes an enemy out of a uni-
versity administration that has already
expressed opposition to divestment, and harms
the pro-democracy message conveyed by
many pro-Israel activists. If this lawsuit
suceeded, it would make a martyr out of the
conference, turning it into a cause celebre for
the divestment movement. I was also very dis-
mayed to see Rick Dorfman's fulminations on
yesterday's CNN Talkback live, where moder

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