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November 14, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-14

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I

4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 14, 2003

OP/ED

I

U~t~e Adn&zi4&

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

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

LOUIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
It looks like the
people of San
Francisco are an
endangered species,
which may not be a
bad thing. That's
probably good news
for the country."
- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joking at a
cabinet meeting Wednesday as reported
by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

matching

Yeah I don't understand the

velour iUMD-SUiLS

- -)
eather.
)f N

I
I

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

'Exotic' languages for all
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA WEAVING 1TH HANDBASIKET
hat does from attempting to write a letter to my grand- still fail to include it in the course guide).
your tat- mother who lives in India. Unfortunately, I As a member of this community, I take
t o o misspelled my name in the signature, calling it upon myself to highlight the many rea-
say?" "Your name myself Srivya. What was a simple, misplaced son the language is so impressive. Current
written in Telugu?" vowel created an uproar within the family: I ly, knowing a foreign language comes in
"Uh ... that's exotic." was losing my cultural identity and was let- handy the same way Pig Latin provided
After a relatively short ting go of my roots. means of communications with my sib
interlude, the person Since Telugu is the language that con- lings when we were trying to coordinate:
with whom I am nects the people from the state, the connota- something under our parents' watchful
speaking forgets the tions go beyond just the syllabary. Telugu eyes and radar. This secret language is
word "Telugu," never people are identifiable by their polysyllabic beneficial when the situation is most awk-
to understand how much this language last names. We are known for the dances that ward (think: someone you really don't
connects the world. originate from our culture, be they kuchipudi want to dance with thinks he is the'
Telugu is more than a language that 66 or koolaatam, classical style or folk dance Michael Flatley of the Sprinkler), as it is
million people speak - it connotes a geo- with sticks, respectively. easy to signal a friend to save you --
graphical location, a people and a culture. Telugu people in the diaspora are espe- undetected. A note of caution though: If
Telugu speakers originate from the South cially proud of this heritage. There are you have any suspicions he might be South
Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. While the associations in most metropolitan areas, a Indian, refrain from using Telugu; it is, as
more popular South Asian languages, Urdu national organization and an international has already been noted, a very popular lan-
and Hindi, are spoken in the larger cities association. These groups meet for cultural guage. While understanding an "exotic"
of the state, Telugu is the predominant lan- shows, Telugu film screenings (a very language is fun, it is a superficial reason to
guage in the populous state, earning a con- large movie industry is based in the learn this particular language.
sistent spot in the top 20 most spoken Andhra Pradesh capital, Hyderabad) and to Understanding this language opens a
languages in the world. People who speak network within the community. door to ancient wisdom and to high-tech;
the language live in all parts of the world One of the most recent endeavors in the centers such as Hyderabad, where one of
but are concentrated in Andhra Pradesh local Telugu community is the establishment IBM's main hubs is located. The connec-
and Singapore. This diaspora creates a of Telugu courses at the University. With the tions languages offer transcend Telugu,
tapestry of culture based on the language support of the community, five other South English and whatever other dialects about
that Western languages lack. Asian languages are already being taught at which you are knowledgeable. Perhaps I
I choose to write about this language, not the University; establishing the sixth requires only enrolled in the University course to
because I am a linguist or a language snob similar community backing. Not only is the learn to write a letter to my grandmother,
who thinks my language is better than others. community responsible for half of the funds but this experience allows me to connect,
I hold onto the language because of a some- necessary for the course, but members are with a culture that seems all too distant.
what traumatic event in my youth. After a also expected to inform students of the cours-
few years in America, I had fleeting memo- es' availability (the University has thus far Chirumamilla can be reached
ries of written Telugu. This did not stop me done nothing to introduce the class - they at schiruma@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
University has met GEO responded by filing grievances about Ari Paul's column Hey, little rich boy (11/12/03)
the changes, and those grievances are follow- deserves no place in any paper that wants
obligations, withholding ing along the normal process specified by the respect. Not only is Paul's insight into the Uni.
contract. The grievance over 2003 prescrip- versity Party uneducated, but he also presents n
ga esdistrbingtion drug plan and changes in co-pays is cur- evidence to support his claim. He argues that the
rently under arbitration and the issue is also U Party has a political ideology, but doesn'1
To THE DAILY: being considered by the Michigan Employ- explain why, except that the party opposed sup
ment Relations Commission. The grievance porting the Borders strike because it didn't relate
in wou Dald arleoGcOrtrets enassrionsover 2004 co-premium changes is proceed- to students. While his argument might be legiti
1th/2/0Daily article GEO threatens strike ing, with a grievance conference scheduled mate, Paul needs to actually have a rational basi|
(11/12/03).a for next week. The University is fully and for his opinions. Personal distate and resentment
The University's changes in health care willingly participating in the process for han- have no place in a newspaper. And neither does
benefits for employees for 2003 and 2004, dling grievances that GEO agreed to in the the sarcastic personal attacks on members o
and the proposed changes for 2005, do not ract. MSA. Even the semantics of the article, and this
violate the Graduate Employees Organization I am disturbed that any member of our is coming from a strongly liberal, non-U Party,
contract. The University would not take these instructional staff would talk about with- non-MSA student, disgusted me. "Peasants"
actions if we believed them to be in violation holding grades from students. In fact, the That's just poor journalism. It's people like Pau
of our labor contracts. withholding of grades or other services by that give liberals a bad name.
The current GEO contract states that members of GEO would be a clear violation NicK KowAczY
"University contributions toward the Group of their contract. I hope GEO will continue LSAjunior
Health and Group Dental premiums shall be to follow the process for handling its con-
in the same amount as that provided to the cerns that is laid out by the current contract.
University instructional staff for the cover- JAMES HILTON
age selected." It further notes that "In the Associate provost BEING COOL?
event of any changes in the coverage from
any of the programs or plans, the GEO
Steering Committee will be notified 60 day Paul's clm has nolaceMIHIAN
prior to the effective datebof the change." column no
The University has lived up to its obliga- in respectable newspaper
tions under the contract by continuing to
offer GEO the same health care plans and *
rates as the instructional staff, and by notify- To THE DAILY: KEEPIN' fl REAL
ing the union well in advance of any changes. While opinion articles are just that, opinions,
VIEWPOINT
An open letter to Borders President Tami Heim

LOUIE MEIZLISH / IN PRINT
A lack of leadership

The other day I had a pretty fascinating
conversation. One of my best friends
who now lives in New York, a lifelong
(he's 21) Democrat, is considering voting for
President Bush next November.
I was pretty surprised. But, I thought about
it and remembered some earlier conversations
I had with him, including his all-out support
for the second gulf war, which was also at
pretty surprising at the time.
The more we talked the more I reached
this conclusion: My friend, like a lot of Amer-
icans, is scared. For many, it's not a question
of whether there will be another Sept. 11, but
when and where it will come. So they trust the
president not because he's George W. Bush,
but because he's The President. He's The
Leader.
The sad truth, however, is that Bush has
been a terrible president and a terrible leader,
but not for the reasons cited by the rank-and-
file leftists. It's not that he's gotten us into
wars, it's that he's made a mess of everything.
First, let's take the war in Afghanistan.
Some pacifists said the war was avoidable,
that it was the United States' fault for the ter-
rorist attacks. But the Taliban government
there had harbored and supported the terrorist
group responsible for the killing of 3,000
innocent Americans. There's no reason to
believe al-Qaida wasn't planning more
attacks. In fact it's hard to argue that even if
we were partially at fault for the rise of the
Taliban we shouldn't be defending ourselves
from a source of terror.
Although Bush followed through and
removed the Taliban, the post-war scene in
Afghanistan has gone largely unnoticed by the
media. Hamid Karzai's title may be president
of Afghanistan, but from what I gather he's
really just the mayor of Kabul. Warlords con-
trol most of the country. And we've spent
nearly nothing to rebuild this country after we
bombed the hell out of it, and chances are it'll
be a training ground for terrorists again if it
isn't already.
Then there's the war in Iraq. I supported it,
not because I felt so strongly about the
weapons allegations, but because I thought it
was time Saddam Hussein's tyranny ended. I
also thought that if one democracy was estab-
lished in the Middle East, maybe liberty
would spread.
But I didn't like that, without a word of

criticism from the White
House, conservatives
went out of their way to
discredit anyone whoA
disagreed with the Bushies, by this I mean
Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, the Dixie
Chicks, or as we've recently learned, CIA
operative Valerie Palme, wife of Joseph Wil-
son, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq who
didn't buy the administration's WMD talk.
Interestingly, it turns out that there's prob-
ably no WMD and that we'll need more
troops than expected to pacify Iraq.
To say the White House was unprepared
for the war is an incredible understatement,
We know that much of the Arab world sees
the U.S. occupation as colonialist, which helps
build the ranks of the insurrections in Iraq
now. With the United Nations and Red Cross
pulling their people out, it sure would be nice
if Germany or France would send some aid
and/or troops. But that probably won't happen
because we already told them to go to hell,
remember?
And now Iraq is a hotbed of terrorist activ-
ity. And Afghanistan is just as poor and unsta-
ble as it was before. I'm just as scared as my
friend in New York, but the president is par-
tially at fault.
f there was one bright spot in this
week's news it was yesterday's
removal of Roy Moore as chief justice
of the Alabama Supreme Court. It would be
one thing if "Roy's Rock," with the Ten
Commandments inscribed, was just part of
an exhibit on the making of laws and from
where the first laws may have come - if
God as the source of laws was presented as
just one of several theories. But Moore said
God was the source of the laws and as such
he had a right to a) place the monument in
the building, and b) violate a federal court's
order that he remove it. Under Moore's rea-
soning, anyone can break a law whenever
he thinks God is on his side.
So kudos to the the panel that removed
Moore, for realizing that since everyone can
interpret what God wants in different ways,
it's better that people follow them, especially
the state's top judge.
Meizlish can be reached at
meizlish@umich. edu.

BY IRFAN NOORUDDIN
Dear Ms Heim,
I understand that Borders Inc. will be pub-
lishing an open letter to the public in the Daily.
And since I'm having a difficult time getting
you to respond to e-mails I've sent in the past
few days, I thought I'd follow your lead in pro-
moting the exchange of ideas you claim Bor-
ders values. In particular, I thought I'd offer
some ruminations on your claim that Borders
pays its workers adequately and that this is evi-
denced by corporate retail data showing Bor-
ders wages to be in line with the industry.
Further you've claimed that to pay the East
Liberty Street workers more would be unfair to
workers at other Borders stores (by the way,
have you guys heard of cost-of-living differ-
ences nationally?). As a professional academic
trained in political economy I recognize your
claims about competitive pressures. But, as an
intelligent person, I also recognize that your
equation of "competitive wages" with "fair
wages" is specious and outrageous.

to provide communities nationwide with book-
stores staffed by fairly compensated, intelligent,
skilled, booksellers who desire to pursue this
honorable profession. (You should read Christo-
pher Morley's "Parnassus on Wheels;" it might
inspire you.) Simply put, one shouldn't have to
take a vow of poverty to be a bookseller. For
you to use the low wages you pay to your other
workers as a "moral" justification for paying
these workers poorly is beyond the pale. If you
cared at all about equality, I'd make some sug-
gestions about executive compensation but I
won't bother.
Besides, if in fact Borders is so committed
to equal compensation for all its employees
why did management's last proposal to the
workers eliminate current employee discounts
and Electronic Gift Cards when those benefits
are enjoyed by all of your other employees.
Was it an oversight? If so, please call the Bor-
ders Workers Union office at 734-995-9974;
they'll be glad to hear the news. If not, then my
only conclusion is that you eliminated those
benefits as retribution for the workers exercis-
ing their legal right to unionize, which would

Officer Greg Josefowicz that "books are not
Pop-Tarts." But that's another story. For now,
let's just talk about customer service. I recall
when one could go to any of five information
desks (one on the main floor, one at the hold
desk, one on the second floor, and two in the
music store); one now has only one option. I
have called the info desk at points and had to
wait 10 to 15 rings before the phone was
answered. And don't dare tell me that it's the
workers' fault; I understand your draconian pay
matrix fully well. You have systematically
understaffed the East Liberty Street Store to
harass the workers there at the expense of your
customers and for that you should be ashamed
on both fronts.
I realize that little I say here is likely to have
any effect on you. The fact is that you care so lit-
tle about your customers that you sent us a form
letter as a reply to our letters and phone calls.
But I am a teacher and, as such, an optimist. So,
I write again to express more fully my disgust
and disappointment at you and your corporation.
I hope you repair the damage you've caused by
resuming negotiations in good faith immediate-

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