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December 01, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

OPINION

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

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
The slippery
slope in the
Netherlands has
descended already
into a vertical cliff."
- Bioethics critic Wesley J. Smith, commenting
on the announcement that a Dutch hospital has
been euthanizing terminally ill infants,
as reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER THE S0AnOX
MA&E -

Questioning my lucky stars
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA WEAV IVNG THIE HANDBASKET

have always been
raised with a com-
petitive spirit - be
a better dancer, get the
higher SAT score, etc.
My parents always chas-
tise me for comparing
myself to someone I had
already defeated. They
believe that it is health-
ier to strive for and learn
from those not yet beaten, instead of rel-
ishing a past victory. Though this is wise
advice, it is very difficult to follow, espe-
cially when considering our greatest accom-
plishments; however, it is time that America
started measuring up to a higher standard.
America boasts of being the best country
but fails to address how it can claim that
title. Our democracy is far from being the
best in the world. Few people vote compared
to the large voter turnout in other countries,
such as the Netherlands; few challenge the
establishment compared to the thousands in
the streets in Kiev, Ukraine and few choose
to change or participate in the government
- apparent in the high incumbency rate.
It is true that Americans have many free-
doms, yet we are all too eager to cherish the
most harmful one - freedom to be bliss-
fully ignorant of our actions. By remaining
oblivious, we allow our decisions to continue
ravaging the rest of the world. We lack per-
spective, as our primary decisions include
what to get our loved ones for the holidays.
What we use for recreation has the poten-
tial to help billions of people: The Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations and the hunger prevention Web site
FreeDonation.com estimate that "it would
take $13 billion a year to end hunger for

the Earth's poorest citizens, (while) every
year, $18 billion is spent on pet food in the
United States and Europe." Time magazine
also reported that "it would take 2.5 billion
gallons of water a day to support 4.7 billion
people at the U.N. daily minimum," while
that same amount is used everyday "to irri-
gate the world's golf courses." This is espe-
cially distressing taking into account that
only about a third of the world's population
has access to clean, safe drinking water.
We have an uncanny ability to turn our
eyes away from the consequences of our
actions, while similarly remaining ignorant
of our inaction. Americans grasp an unyield-
ing version of the truth, which dictates that
only we have the correct answers. With this
narcissism arrives a desire to ridicule and
humiliate all other ideas. Few people under-
stand the concepts of communism, but are
eager to dismiss it by saying it conflicts
with democracy. The literacy rate in the
South Indian state of Kerala is at 90 percent
(which is relatively unheard of in any Third
-World state) mostly because of measures
put in place by the Communist Party, which
was elected into office.
Americans pretend to value all life, but
place a higher premium on our light-skinned
counterparts. We care little about the health
conditions of the impoverished because we
have relatively easy access to health profes-
sionals and medicines. Would AIDS still be
a threat if it affected Western countries more
prominently? The Centers for Disease Con-
strol and Prevention explain that "in the late
19th century, (tuberculosis) killed one out
of every seven people living in the United
States and Europe." While it has been eradi-
cated from the West, tuberculosis remains
one of the leading killers of our Asian and

African brethren, even though it is a disease
that can be cured with six months of medi-
cines. Nearly half of all people infected with
HIV have tuberculosis, which is especially
dangerous because tuberculosis accelerates
the onslaught of AIDS.
The second I was born, I was chosen to
be one of the luckiest people in the world.
I was to lead a life of health, education and
prosperity. Had I been born down the street,
my life could have been marred with fear,
illiteracy and poverty. While growing up,
I learned the differences between myself
and my playmate, who happened to be our
employee. When my sister and I attended
school, the servant, who was also under
the age of 10, would do chores. When I was
enjoying middle-school fieldtrips, she was
getting married.
I can no longer accept the notion that this
is life. I had nothing but luck on my side to be
born into the family and lifestyle I have been
afforded. There is much for us to learn and
understand about our actions and our inac-
tion. We need to question our leaders, our
choices and ourselves. We have the resources
to do so as students at one of the best univer-
sities in the world. I echo John F. Kennedy's
comments about the value of this university
and our presence here: "This University is
not maintained by its alumni or by the state,
merely to help its graduates have an eco-
nomic advantage in the life struggle. There
is certainly a greater purpose, and I'm sure
you recognize it." We must recognize it.
I would like to thank those who challenged
me - I learned most from you.

0
0
0
6

Chirumamilla can be reached
at schiruma@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

'Finding Neveriand' an
'intimate drama' and worth
the price of admission
TO THE DAILY:
When I read your headline Finding Medioc-
rity (11/30/2004), I was shocked, for I found
the movie in question, "Finding Neverland,"
to be anything but. I was even more shocked
when I read the review and found that not only
did you blast the movie, you blasted Johnny
Depp as well. I don't know - maybe you saw
a different movie than the one I saw.
You labeled Depp's performance as "amaz-
ingly dull," and you said that he's hooked on
his Hollywood success, effectively saying
that he has sold out. Well, you are wrong
on both accounts. I saw his performance as

being inspired, touching and most assuredly
one of the best of his career. Look for him to
garner a second straight Best Actor nomina-
tion from the Academy.
As for Depp "going Hollywood," I think
you better rethink that statement. Yes, he
did "Pirates of the Caribbean" last year,
but he also did "Sleepy Hollow" in 1999, a
major Hollywood production, and nobody
criticized him for selling out by doing that
movie. Oh, and if you call "Finding Nev-
erland" a "Hollywood movie," I think you
are sorely mistaken. It was released on Nov.
12, and it is still, and will continue to be,
in limited release nationwide. What kind of
"Hollywood movie" stays in limited release
for more than three weeks?
As for the movie itself, I found "Finding
Neverland" an intimate drama and a welcome
respite in an age when more and more mov-

ies are being produced by the likes of Jerry
Bruckheimer - a director who doesn't care
for telling good stories, just explosions, spe-
cial effects and'high budgets. It's a touching
story and exquisite acting are the reasons
why I love going to the movies. There is no
doubt that the Academy will reward "Find-
ing Neverland" with a Best Picture nomina-
tion, for which it is most deserving.
Don't let the Daily's poor review fool
anyone, this movie is definitely worth every
cent that I paid to go see it.
P.S.: The caption that you included under
the still from the movie is the kind of com-
ment I would expect from a two-year old.
Not only was it childish, but it was ill found-
ed. Johnny Depp hasn't worn an eyepatch in
any of his other films.
Christopher Lechner
LSA freshman

6
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VIEWPOINT
Support Israel to help 'U'

BY ALANA KUHN, JESSICA RIscH, JASON
MIRONOV, JENNY NATHAN, JESSE LEVINE,
ANITA LEUNG, ELLIOTT WELLS-REID,
ALLISON JACOBS AND PAUL SPURGEON
The vast majority of students on our cam-
pus look forward to a day when all peoples
in the Middle East can peacefully co-exist.
With the recent death of Yassir Arafat and
the upcoming elections for new Palestinian
leadership, prospects for dialogue and nego-
tiations toward a two-state solution, with
a strong Israel and a strong Palestine, now
exist. However, the renewed call as seen in
the Daily article SAFE urges 'U' to divest
from Israel (11/24/2004) from Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality to divest
- or withdraw financial investments from
all companies that do business with Israel
- is neither a compelling nor productive
way to achieve this peace. It seeks to create
the direct opposite.
SAFE's call for divestment attempts to
de-legitimize and destroy Israel lacks posi-
tive benefit. The divestment campaign itself
is not a new phenomenon. For the last sev-
eral years, people and organizations have
attempted to convince companies and uni-
versities to divest, or withdraw financially,
from Israel, Israeli companies or any compa-
ny that does business with Israel. Time after
time, these campaigns have been opposed,

Israel has continually shown its commitment
to helping people around the world. Last year,
when Iran suffered from a devastating earth-
quake that killed over 40,000 people, Israel
was among the first to offer assistance. Fol-
lowing the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies
in Africa, Israeli medics were first on the scene
to respond. On Sept. 11, Israel was the first to
help her longtime ally in its time of need.
As the Middle East's sole democracy, Israel
struggles daily to give every citizen the best
possible care. Unlike many of its neighbor-
ing countries, Israel provides full civil rights
and liberties to all of its citizens, regard-
less of race, religion or gender. Israel is the
only place in the Middle East where all of
its citizens, including Arabs, are represented
democratically in the national legislature and
are provided with a fair and process-driven
judicial system. In addition, Israel's Supreme
Court is the only state court in the world that
allows non-citizens to appeal to it.
As one of America's strongest allies,
Israel works every day for the safety of its
people from terrorism. It has signed peace
treaties with Jordan and Egypt, countries
with whom Israel now has normalized rela-
tions. The Palestinian government, howev-
er, has consistently, to the detriment of their
own people, refused to enter into a viable
peace agreement with Israel as recently as
2000 at Camp David.

think. Both are interested in both peoples
living side by side in peace and harmony.
Unlike SAFE, our actions have reflected
this yearning for peace on campus. SAFE's
method of advocacy is destructive to the
campus community and the larger conflict.
Every student organization certainly retains
the right to express its views through cam-
pus discourse. As University students, we
must work together to inform the student
body and campus community of our differ-
ences, but also to express our common goal
to see peace in the Middle East.
In October of 2002, University of Michi-
gan President Mary Sue Coleman clearly
declared that this University will never
divest from Israeli companies. In a pub-
lic statement, she stated that our campus
includes a diverse population of more than
4,000 international students and one of the
largest Jewish- and Arab-American stu-
dent bodies on any major university in the
nation. The diversity of body and minds
"provide(s) us with a unique opportunity
and responsibility to study and debate, in
an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect,
the pressing issues facing our world." Let's
concentrate on more constructive efforts of
collaborative dialogue and discussion and
drop the divestment issue once and for all
on this campus.

4

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