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November 18, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-18

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6

4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 18, 2002

OP/ED

c~be irbig~lan: ai1u

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. Allcother articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Our country is
headed for very
deep trouble."
- Al Gore, in an interview in this week's
Time Magazine in regard to President
Bush's economic agenda, foreign policy
and environmental stance.

SAM BUTLER Tr SOAPBOX

v /es- 'srevision~

fascine (fa-sen') n. A bundle of sticks bound together for use in
earthwork construction.
fascist (fash'ist) n. 1. A supporter or advocate of a governmental
system that has a centralized government with strong socioeconomic
control. 2. On college campuses, a commonly heard blanket term used
to describe any person who disagrees with one's opinion. AND IF YOU
DISAGREE WITH THAT THEN YOU'RE A FASCIST!
fashion (fash'en) n. 1. The manner in which something is made. 2. A
8~.1Q~~s O5) U eJQA L%

al

4

In Africa, you can't take anything for granted
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

A

frica's Ivory
Coast is in
shambles; rebels
control half of the coun-
try. We Americans start-
ed to pull our people out
months ago; now tens of
thousands of Africans
have been leaving under
the auspices of their
native governments: 10,000 from Mali, 7,000
from Burkina Faso, 2,000 already rescued by
Nigeria, the BBC reported on Saturday.
I lived in West Africa for three months
this summer, traveling back and forth
between Senegal and The Gambia. In July, I
was helping to lead a computer-training
workshop in Farafenni, The Gambia, a hot,
grimy place that had, at that time, been
without power for over a month. It was in
Farafenni, (a be-sure-not-to-miss, bustling
market town, according to Lonely Planet,
but really a village that sometimes made me
feel like I'd been plopped in the middle of a
Sally Struthers "Save the Children" com-
mercial), where I met an Ivoirian refugee.
He had left when his mother ordered him to:
The fighting in the Ivory Coast (which,
despite the increased intensity and vicious-
ness, is certainly nothing new) had finally
reached the capital, Abidjan, and Mom
would have no two ways about it. Out of
love, she sent him packing.
His story was one of the many that I
heard that summer that chipped away at my
reality and has left me still trying to fit those
pieces, reshaped and sometimes unrecogniz-
able, back together. Before last May, I'd
never been close to war, but in West Africa I
learned that peace is nothing to take for
granted. In Senegal, there's an active (and

deadly) separatist movement that occasional-
ly flares in Casamance, the area south of The
Gambia; Guinea-Bissau is still far from
being the most peaceful or politically stable
nation, and the Ivory Coast, well, it's of the
lucky one-in-five African conflicts that
sometimes makes the news-ticker on CNN.
I've been following the war in the Ivory
Coast out of a kind of emotionally indul-
gent voyeurism. In trying to reconcile how
I feel about what I saw this summer, I can
sometimes recapture the sensations through
the deliberate imagery or the careful adjec-
tives of a news article - the distance
between what these words conjure for
someone who has experienced West Africa
and someone who has not could only be
described as a world.
It's according to that Saturday BBC piece
that the refugees, sometimes refugees twice-
over (first from their native country and now
from the Ivory Coast) have been leaving the
country in "bus-loads." This compound alone
is enough for pause: to me, it's not a two
dimensional black and white phrase, it's a
feeling, a Proustian rush. I know what a West
African bus-load looks like; I know what it
sounds like and what it smells like: danger-
ous, loud, bad. When I couldn't get a flight, I
traveled between Banjul, The Gambia, and
Dakar, Senegal as a member of one of those
bus-loads. I made myself part of the problem
when I bribed a driver 50 dalasi (about
$2.50) to let me on that crowded bus one
time, and I became flushed with my own
shame, wanting to disappear into nothing,
when we pulled away and left a crowd of
very disappointed people, surrounded by lug-
gage, in the bus' dusty tracks.
When I read that the rebels in the Ivory
Coast have been shooting at the buses, it's

torturous how easily I can imagine the road-
side ambush, how I can see the scene of ter-
ror washing through a rickety and sweltering
vehicle. The last time I made the journey
from Banjul to Dakar, when my heart was
doing ecstatic backflips at the thought of
leaving The Gambia for good, the trip was so
dangerous that had I to repeat, over and over
again to myself all day that there was only
one assignment on my plate: Johanna, don't
die. Just don't let yourself die.
And the roads that those bus-loads must
be traveling on - the roads that I knew
painfully well last summer, I also know have
been rendered nearly useless by their gaping
potholes, potholes so thorough that some-
times there's more hole than road and the
pavement looks like it was tossed and laid in
accidental chunks. For half of that last trip I
made, until I reached the border between
Senegal and The Gambia - a place where
the officialness of the colonial languages is
nominal and the hands grabbing at my
belongings and my person were the roughest
- I rode with 10 other people in a window-
less taxi built for 11, squashed in the back
seat between the sharp protrusions of the
door and a mother with two shrieking babies
unseatbelted on her lap.
It's impossible to read those articles and
project what the little things look like here,
in just this case the buses and roads, onto the
warfare and bloodshed a continent away. The
game has changed so the rules are different:
the actors may express the universal lan-
guage of human emotion, but the props on
the stage could never tell the same story -
the privilege of peace and seatbelts.
Johanna Hanink can be reached at
jhanink@umich.edu.

I

VIEWPOINT
NCAA exploitation must end to clean up hoops

BY JEREMY LACKS
Like many on campus, my initial reaction to
the University's announcement of self-imposed
sanctions against the basketball program was
one of both anger at the players who brought
such shame on the program and admiration
toward the University for acknowledging its
accountability in the matter. However, after
considering the issue further, it has become
clear that while the players' actions were cer-
tainly wrong, Chris Webber and his cohorts are
not alone to blame. Rather, that distinction lies
equally with the hypocritical NCAA.
Should allegations that Webber received
$280,000 in cash and gifts from booster Ed
Martin prove true, he will surely be punished
for his deplorable conduct. But consider for a
second just how much revenue Webber and
the Fab Five generated for the University and
the NCAA in initiating perhaps the most pop-
ular and prestigious era in Michigan basket-
ball history. Through television, marketing
and ticket sales, Webber and company pro-
duced for these institutions a sum of money
that easily dwarfs the amount the players
received from Martin, not to mention the rela-
tively paltry $450,000 the University agreed
to repay the NCAA for the violations. And
exactly how much of these enormous profits
earned by the negligent players did they take
home during their collegiate careers? Ironical-
ly, the exact same number of games "won" by
Michigan in that same era: Zero.
"But ours is just an amateur organization,"
cries the NCAA. "Aside from scholarships,
we can't possibly afford to give the athletes
any more money." Yet, in the most recent tele-

vision deal for the broadcast rights to the
Men's Basketball Tournament, affectionately
known as March Madness, CBS agreed to pay
the NCAA a whopping $6 billion over the
next 11 years. Once again that's, $6 billion. Is
the NCAA an "amateur" organization? Hard-
ly. Moreover, the NCAA can slap an athlete's
name on the back of a jersey, put his likeness
in a video game or splash his face all over TV
without the athlete seeing so much as a dime
in return. As former University star Maurice
Taylor also implicated in the investigation,
says, "The NCAA gets paid off of every major
guy in college. How can you be making
money off somebody else and not giving any-
thing to them?" Simply, the NCAA and the
University exploited Webber, Taylor and the
rest for millions and as a result of the sanc-
tions, all the players have to show for their
time as Wolverines is their names scratched
out of the record books.
Of course, the NCAA's sanctions might be
justified if in fact they had any deterring effect
whatsoever. However, in most cases, by the
time the violations are uncovered and punish-
ments handed down, the athletes have long left
school and are free of penalty, provided they
aren't lying to a grand jury. Instead, the sanc-
tions merely punish innocent coaches and ath-
letes who had nothing to do with the actual
violations. And while the NCAA has been
coming down harder on major programs in
recent years, these kinds of violations only
seem to be occurring more and more frequently
at schools across the country.
Seeing as current penalties are not an
adequate deterrent, the only solution is to
provide an incentive for student athletes not

to accept illegal payments. Obviously, the
way to do this is to spread some of the vast
wealth the NCAA amasses every year to the
athletes who produce that wealth. Of course,
these payments need not reach the astronomi-
cal levels of those in professional sports.
Instead, a standard wage scale based on class
standing to supplement scholarships for
basics such as food and clothing might suc-
cessfully dissuade athletes from turning to
more illegitimate sources like boosters.
Furthermore, paying college athletes
would help curb the other mounting problem
facing college basketball: undergraduates
leaving school early for the pros. Certainly,
the allure of millions of dollars is the number
one reason college players forego their educa-
tion for the NBA. But if the athletes knew
they were at least being moderately compen-
sated for the revenue they generate, they
would likely be willing to stay in school
longer. At the very least, paying college ath-
letes would make a possible NBA rule against
drafting underclassmen easier to swallow.
The time has come for the NCAA to own
up to its responsibility towards the athletes that
it profits from. Instead of hypocritically punish-
ing players for taking money they do not earn,
the NCAA must fix the problem by compensat-
ing its athletes with the money they do earn. If
not and this dangerous trend is allowed to con-
tinue, we might one day look back and discover
a year with no NCAA Champion because every
school has forfeited its wins. On that day,
somewhere, maybe even in federal prison,
Chris Webber will be smiling.
Lacks is an LSA sophomore

Ir

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

4

Zahr's rhetoric can only
lead to retrenched hatred
TO THE DAILY:
I feel I must respond to a quote in the Nov. 14,
2002 article Activists urge reappraisal of Middle East
Conflict (11/14/02). In this article, Amer Zahr, a
prominent figure on campus, is quoted as saying
"Violent resistance is probably the only way to
effect change in Israeli policy. Colonial societies
never give up land for benevolent reasons ... either

over, and the result would be a lot of dead Pales-
tinians. One must remember that the Israelis rarely
show constraint in military action against the
Palestinians and if the conflict were stepped up,
there would be no difference.
2) Even though they would eventually be
defeated, the Palestinians do have every right to
resist oppression violently. Zahr says however that
"The most likely way to end the occupation is to
make the Israeli people suffer..." A resistance
focused on purposely making the enemy suffer
rather than defending yourself is no longer rightful
violent resitannor aw fighting for freedom. This

(11/12/02) on road expansion, sprawl and conges-
tion. These everyday issues are not the gut-
wrenching, visceral ones that normally excite or
even interest students and it was a pleasant sur-
prise to read such a thoughtful considered piece.
As you elegantly stated, the endless addition of
road capacity will temporarily contain but never
solve the problem of traffic congestion. Until we
have more walkable and bikable communities,
Mixed-use zoning and good public transit, we are
doomed to greater and greater automobile depen-
dency, which already runs to over 10 trips/house-
hold/av iin subu1rbia. until we have eY~aslifle and

F'71-.._ - --- T1 - - - -- - - --

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