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January 15, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-15

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4A - Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

L I74 ft igan al
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Setting the record straight
RIAA policy change is long overdue and better for students
here are a lot of things you could do with $3,000. You could
pay rent for a semester or two. You could buy a lifetime
supply of Insomnia cookies. But the last thing you'd want
to do is settle a lawsuit. At least this is less of a worry now that
the Recording Industry Association of America has announced it's
finished going after individuals for their Internet file-sharing. And
while it should never have taken so long for the RIAA to abandon
this awful practice, the policy change is good news for students,
who bore the financial brunt of the RIAA's lawsuit campaign.


- aRAPFc.
The wrong reverend


Since 2003, the RIAA has been target-
ing users who illegally download music
with lawsuits, and it's favorite target was
busy college students. The lawsuits typi-
cally increased right before finals so that
students would be less likely to spend the
time and effort needed to take the RIAA
to court. Because dealing with a calculus
final and an attorney in the same week isn't
exactly ideal, most students chose to settle
out of court with the RIAA for about $3,000
per case.
The RIAA has admitted to specifically
targeting college students because more
than half of students file-share. But it's
easy to see that another good reason is
that going after people without the time or
resources to fight back is the easiest way to
make a quick buck. More than 60 Univer-
sity of Michigan students had to hand over
their cash.
But just last month, the RIAA decided on
a new strategy that would move away from
handling individual cases itself, instead
relying on Internet service providers to
enforce rules against illegal file-sharing.
Under this policy, if your provider finds you
engaging in illegal downloading, the RIAA
will be notified, you'll be warned and then.
your Internet may be slowed or stopped.
While this new strategy is a more reason-

able way of handling illegal downloading,
it's puzzling that it took the RIAA five years
to realize its method was flawed. It's also
quite clear that its motivation was probably
not compassion for the prosecuted indi-
viduals, but rather the storm of bad press
the RIAA received for targeting individu-
als like young people, a poor single mom
and a dead person. Hopefully, with the new
policy in place, the RIAA will concentrate
its efforts against more serious file-sharing
Just because the penalties have lessened
doesn't mean students should increase
their illegal downloading. Downloading
copyrighted music without paying for it is
still illegal, and that's because of an impor-
tant need to defend the intellectual prop-
erty rights of the artists who created these
songs. The new policy does, however, rep-
resent a fairer way of addressing students'
illegal actions.
And the RIAA certainly isn't off the hook.
While relying on ISPs to track activity is a
much more responsible solution for dealing
with illegal downloading, it has been made
clear that this policy could be amended for
the RIAA to once again file lawsuits against
anyone it wishes. But with any hope, college
students have written their last bigcheck to
the RIAA.

arack Obama and reverends
just don't mix. I've been
amazed that Obama's contro-
versial selection
of Rev. Rick War-
ren to deliver the
invocation at this
month's inaugura-
tion has.been such
a recurring con-
versation topic.
This issue boils
down to one ques- ROSE
tion: should Rick AFRIYIE
Warren remain the
invocation speaker
or should Obama
rescind the invitation?
The notion of tolerance is being
used to justify both sides' opinions.
On one hand, an editorial that ran in
the Detroit Free Press (Pomp and Poi-
gnancy, 01/04/2009) described War-
ren's inclusion as "proving that the
American tent can be large enough
for nearly anyone." But some argue
that tolerance should be a criterion
for inclusion in the inauguration,
meaning that someone who has used
his religious platform to discriminate
against homosexuals doesn't quite
pass the tolerance test.
In the previous election cycle, the
LGBT community endured grievous
marital and adoption restrictions,
and more than 40 states now restrict
LGBT marriage in some way through
bans or laws. If you've been reading
the news lately, you may think that
it's no secret where Warren stands
on this issue, but I'm not so sure. An
interview with Beliefnet.com epito-
mizes why some want Obama to
choose another pastor. In this inter-
view, Warren makes the conclusion
that marital incest, polygamy and "an
older guy marrying a child" is equiva-
lent to same-sex marriage.
The notion that two consenting,
homosexual adults and an older man
who preys on children are the same
is understandably appalling. How-
ever, this came as no surprise to me

considering that sexual policies sup-
ported en masse by Warren and his
conservative ilk are in accordance
with the sexual value system that
University professor Gayle Rubin
identified in her 1984 essay, "Think-
ing Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of
the Politics of Sexuality." She states,
"According to this system, sexuality
that is 'good,' 'normal,' and 'natural'
should ideally be heterosexual, mari-
tal, monogamous, reproductive, non-
commercial... coupled, relational,
within the same generation."
This is the rationale that has
made stalemates of abortion and gay
marriage issues and has restricted
contraception and adolescent sex
education. Anything from marital or
child sexual abuse to gay marriage is
equally transgressive in the eyes of
line-towing conservatives because it
deviates fromthis "vision"- which is
Rev. Rick Warren's professed belief.
Butwhatsurprisedme isthatbefore
he made this gay-marriage, older-
guy marrying-a-child comparison,
he asserted that he believes in "full
equal rights for everyone in America,"
including partnership benefits.
In truth, Warren may share a lot
with some evangelicals, Christian
fundamentalists and secularists who
have various reasons for opposing gay
marriage. But Warren's anti-equal
marriage stance and his declaration
favoring equal rights for all means
that he also shares something funda-
mental with every democratic con-
tender for the presidency this past
election cycle, including Obama.
As it stands right now, we live in
a country where many believe it is
politically unsafe to publicly support
equal marriage, which explains the
suspicious unanimity amongst every
presidential contender this past sea-
son. But unfortunately, it's also costly
to have dissenting opinions from
one's political group. And perhaps
this business of disagreeing agreeably
presents an opportunity for Obama to
impart a lesson about inclusion.

It's also reasonable to speculate
that appointing Rick Warren as the
invocation speaker is a way to mollify
conservatives now for what is yet to
come. When Barack Obama was con-
tending for the presidency, he vowed
that passing the Freedom of Choice
Act was the first thing he would do
as president. This is a policy measure
that would ensure that every woman
had a fundamental right to choose
birth or an abortion. The 36th anni-
versary of Roe v. Wade is two days
after the inauguration, and editorials
are being written daily from conser-
vatives who are anxious that Obama
will stand by his word.
Why Rick Warren
shouldn't deliver
the invocation
Obama's recent choice to appoint
Gene Robinson, an openly gay Epis-
copal Bishop, to deliver the invoca-
tion this Sunday mitigates some of
the blow that Rick Warren's Tues-
day invocation appointment dealt
the queer community. Howlever, I
still cannot stand behind Warren as
the invocation speaker. Warren has
abused his mantle in the public arena
to a degree that is reprehensible. To
assert that child abuse is akin to sexu-
al relations between same-sex adults
isn't just offensive - it also raises
the question of his ability to deliver a
national message that respects both
the gay and straight of our country.
Someone who has a question like that
looming over his head should not
have the privilege of addressing the
nation at the most televised inaugu-
ration of our lifetime.
Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex and
relationships columnist. She can be
reached at sariyie@umich.edu.

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300
words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. All submissions
become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.



- --------------




An appeal for human rights

Israel's defensive mission

Last month, Israel launched a massive air strike on
various infrastructural targets in the Gaza Strip. On
January 3, Israel continued its assault on Gaza with
a wide-scale ground incursion that included several
thousand members of Israel's reserve military forces.
Israelhastwicerefused adiplomatic conclusiontothe
hostilities, instead claiming to seek a more "durable"
solution to Hamas' rocket fire into southern Israel.
In the process of attempting to realize this "durable"
solution, Israel has managed to terrorize Gaza's 1.5
million Palestinians, killing more than 1,000 people
- including 315 children.
According to many in the pro-Israel community,
the current offensive is a direct response to increased
rocket fire from Hamas following the expiration of a
ceasefire on December 19. By claiming its actions are
"self-defense," Israel has yet again succeeded in mis-
leading the international community and completely
ignoring the historical context of Israel's 41-year-old
military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In order to justify its current bombardment and
18-month siege of the Gaza Strip, Israel presents itself
as the blameless victim of rocket attacks from crazed,
anti-Semitic Muslim terrorists seeking to disrupt
Israel's democracy and way of life. This distorted
perception of the Palestinian resistance movement
is largely uncontested by many in the international
community and therefore affords Israel the opportu-
nity to economically, politically, and militarily inca-
pacitate both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
While Israeli officials claim they are targeting
Hamas "militants," it is clear the current offensive
has affected every man, woman and child in Gaza.
On January 6, scores of women and children seeking
refuge at a United Nations school were slaughtered
when two tank shells exploded outside the building.
This is particularly appalling considering the United
Nations regularly provides Israel with its exact loca-
tion. The next day, UN officials denied Israel's claim
that militants were operating near the school when
it was shelled.
In order to realize a just and lasting peace, we
must ask questions that address the root of this con-
flict. Classic anti-Semitism or an intrinsic hatred of
Israel cannot explain Hamas' rocket fire into towns
in southern Israel. Many view Hamas' actions as a
response to Israel's history of aggression and occupa-
tion that has included the forced dispossession and
expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, the occu-

pation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967, the
settlement construction, expansion and home demo-
lition, humiliation Palestinians face under a brutal
occupation that regularly subjects Palestinians to
curfews, illegal detention, political assassinations,
military incursions, checkpoints and an inability to
exercise social and political autonomy. The question
here is not the justifiability of rocket attacks out of
Gaza, the question is what compels someone to shoot
homemade rockets at Israeli civilians in Sderot and
Ashkelon? By subjecting the Palestinians in Gaza to
disproportionate and particularly savage forms of
collective punishment,
Israel continues to per-
petuate the seemingly
intractable nature of the
Contrary to Israeli For- W hat is the na
eign Minister Tzipi Liv- between the
ni's claim that "there is no
humanitarian crisis in the Israelis whatC
Gaza Strip," the people of
Gaza are suffering from a the fighting in
devastating humanitari-
an disaster. Since January both sides ach
2006, Israel has imposed
a series of economic and
social blockades on the
Gaza Strip - including
the current 18-month-old
siege - that have resulted in soaring unemployment
rates, poverty, and food, fuel and medical shortages.
As a result of Israel's current land invasion, nearly
250,000 people are without electricity and running
water and hospitals are overflowing with patients
seeking urgent medical care.
Israel cannot ignore its human rights violations
against the Palestinians for muchlonger. Regrettably,
any ceasefire is destined for failure as long as Israel
and the international community refuse to examine
the core of the conflict. Any lasting peace requires
Israel's recognition of the Palestinians' right to exist
freely, either as citizens of a sovereign Palestinian
state or as co-citizens with Israelis under a secular,
one-state democracy.
Andrew Dalack and Bre Arder are the co-chairs
of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.


As news channels flash through images of suffer-
ing Palestinians, it's challenging for those of us on
the other side of the world to understand the Israeli
Defense Force's actions ir the Gaza Strip. While
conditions in Gaza continue to worsen, Israel's war
against Hamas continues. As we all mourn the loss
of human life, it's important for us to examine the
reasoning and strategy behind Israel's defensive
In 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from
Gaza, removed settlements throughout the area
and took a crucial step toward establishing a Pal-
estinian state. In January of the next year, the
Palestinian people demo-
cratically elected Hamas
to a majority in the Pales-
tinian legislature. Prom-
ising better healthcare,
are of the conflict education, jobs and less
alestinians and corruption, Hamas pro-
vided an enticing option
in be done to stop to Palestinian people in
xaza and how can Once Hamas took
power, the party's actions
've lasting peace? proved that the plight of
its constituency was less
important than radically
denying Israel's right to
exist. Instead of investing
in the vital infrastructure
that the people of Gaza need and deserve, Hamas
focused on acquiring rockets to fire at Israeli civil-
ians and digging tunnels to smuggle weapons from
Egypt. Hamas's illogical set of priorities has left the
Palestinian people with a leadership unwilling to
guide them in a progressive or peaceful direction.
Over 7,000 rockets launched from Gaza have fall-
en on Israeli soil in the three years since the Israeli
disengagement. These rockets are not fired at mili-
tary bases or weapon depots, but at schools, homes
and marketplaces. These actions cannot be consid-
ered an attempt to reach a peaceful resolution.
For years, Israel has tried a variety of nonviolent
methods to combat Hamas's violence. After a six-
month ceasefire that Hamas continually disregard-
ed, Israel must now address the needs of its citizens.
When President-elect Barack Obama visted Sderot,
the Israeli city closest to Gaza and most affected by

the ongoing rocket attacks, he said, "If somebody
was sending rockets into my house where my two
daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to
stop that and would expect Israel to do the same
thing." The people of Sderot and the other 500,000.
Israelis in range of Hamas's rockets should no lon-
ger undergo the emotional and physical trauma of
having to find refuge in bomb shelters 10 to 15 times
per day. Thankfully, few civilians have been killed
during these constant, random rocket assaults on
civilians. But the low Israeli death toll does not make
Hamas's actions any less belligerent or terrifying.
Israel has consciously done its best to prevent
the deaths of civilians. The IDF specifically targets
locations Hamas has used to store weapons or fire
upon Israelis. Before it bombs a location, the IDF
drops leaflets and sometimes calls civilians to ask
innocent bystanders to leave the area for their own
Unfortunately, Hamas hides behind civilians,
using human shields to raise the death toll in the
ongoing public relations battle to accentuate Pal-
estinian suffering for world approval. What sort of
government monopolizes the pain of its people to
further a destructive ideology?
The delivery of humanitarian relief to the affect-
ed civilians in Gaza remains an important issue to
Israel and the rest of the world. Hundreds of supply
trucks have been brought through Israeli border
crossings, including medical supplies, blood units,
medicine, and basic food commodities. Whether or
not these supplies are properly distributed to civil-
ians depends on Hamas as the governing body of
Three years ago, Israel spent millions of dol-
lars removing its citizens and troops from Gaza in
an effort to further the peace process. Today, it is
forced to reenter the region in order to protect the
basic living conditions of its citizens. The goal of a
two-state solution inspired by August 2005's dis-
engagement has been deterred by years of rocket
attacks and recent explosions of violence, but cannot
be forsaken.
We encourage the Michigan community to con-
tinue to hope for a peaceful solution with an end to
the violence on both sides of the border.
Rachel Goldstein is the chair of American Movement
for Israel and Daniel Neumann is the AMI Treasurer.
'A 4 .

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