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May 14, 1982 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1982-05-14

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Page 6
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 8S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
What recovery?
THE FLOW OF Congress members back-
ing away from President Reagan's economic
recovery program has been steadily increasing
in proportion to the rising rate of unem-
Yesterday, the House of Representatives
went even further and approved a plan to in-
crease this year's budget by $6 billion. Most
notably, they reinstated over $300 million to
student loan programs.
Administration predictions that prosperity is
"just around the corner" now fall on the deaf
ears of both Republicans and Democrats alike.
The economy has not turned itself around in the
spring as Reagan and his aides had predicted.
Although many Republicans are backing the
budget increase, others are howling about the
deficit. The House measure will increase this
year's budget, but only by two percent and
more than the president's own proposal, and
represents less than one percent of the budget
deficit that Reagan had planned for next year.
Democrats and moderate Republicans should
stand firm in their resolution to aid those hit
hard by Reagan cuts and high interest rates -
students and the housing industry, especially.
Exhortations that recovery is coming soon to an
economy near you are no longer acceptable to
sell the Reagan economic plan.
Polish dialogue
T HE RECENT uprisings in Poland
dramatically point out that Solidarity is
not dead. Indeed, the union has demonstrated
that heavy clubs and relentless water hoses
cannot drive a proud people into servile
obedience to an oppressive regime.
Communist hardliners in Poland may benefit
from the recent uprisings, unfortunately,
because the riots immediately have followed
the relaxation of martial law. These pro-Soviet
leaders now want the vice tightened even har-
der on the Polish people until they are beaten
into submission.
What the hardliners forget, however, is that
Poland cannot function economically without
aid from the West. Moscow, in the midst of
economic doldrums itself, can be of little help to
the Polish economy.
The Poles need money from Western banks if
they are to revive their choking economy. Yet
bankers are not apt to loan money to a nation
whose workers will not perform efficiently un-
der the current system.
Polish economic recovery requires both the
support of the West and of the Polish people. If
th QJ2hgvernent ropes the dialoue

Friday, May 14, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Targets of repression


By Elisabeth Keating
It is typical for those of us who
live and work in a college en-
vironment to take for granted the
fact that we can say what we
want without fear of suppression
or imprisonment. Yet in many
nations where the right to dissent
is denied, the academic com-
munity, which thrives on new
ideas and a variety of viewpoints,
has become a natural target for
repression. Amnesty Inter-
national, the Nobel Prize-winning
human rights organization, is
deeply concerned about the plight
of students and teachers who are
being imprisoned without trial
and, often, tortured for
peacefully expressing their
An all too common scenario is
illustrated by the case of Didunka
Wa Laminisha, an outspoken
professor of social sciences at the
University of Zaire. On March 26,
1981, Professor Didunka was
arrested and taken to the
headquarters of Zaire's national
security police, where he was
reportedly questioned about his
links with other Zairean dissiden-
ts. Didunka is reported to have
been tortured so badly that he
lost consciousness. Over a year
later he is still being held incom-
municado without charge or trial.
In South Africa, government
repression of academics often
takes the form of banning orders,
which are imposed for no specific
reason by the Minister of Justice,
who is answerable to no one. All
banning orders have certain
common features, which, in
combination, render any form of
academic study impossible. For
instance, banned people may not
be quoted in public or private, at-

tend any meeting of more than
two people for a common pur-
pose, go outside their magisterial
district, or enter an academic in-
Sedick Isaacs, a distinguished
academic, was first restricted
under a two year banning order
in September, 1977, when he was
released from prison after com-
pleting a twelve-year sentence
for a political offense. The ban-
ning order was renewed in Sep-
tember 1979- this time for a five
year period.
Mr. Isaacs has been unable to
find suitable employment or to
continue for a doctorate in
mathematical statistics. His
repeated applications for per-
mission to leave Tygerberg (the
district to which he is restricted)
to seek work, and his aplications
for reprieve to enable him to
study have all been refused.
Similar repressive conditions
exist in Yugoslavia, where
anyone who depicts socio-
political conditions in a "false
and malicious" manner can be
imprisoned for up to ten years.
Thus it was that Durboslav
Paraga, a 19-year-old
Yugoslavian law student, was
arrested on charges of "hostile
propaganda" on November 21,
1980. A few days before, he had
signed a petition to the Yugoslav
State Presidency calling for am-
nesty for all political prisoners,
stating that amnesty "would be a
solid foundation for the .creation
of an atmosphere Of mutual trust
and dialogue and would be in the
general interest of society."
Paraga was held without trial
for six months before he was sen-
tenced to three years of im-
prisonment. His crime was that
he had signed and helped to

organize the petition and was
alleged to be in contact with a
political emigre.
Amnesty International is also
working for the release of
Gustave Westerkamp, an
economics student at the Univer-
sity of Buenos Aires. On October
21, 1975, Mr. Westerkamp was
seized by Argentinian police, ap-
parently for the peaceful ex-
pression of his leftwing views.
Today, over six years later, he
is still being held without charge
or trial in the inhuman conditions.
He has been forbidden to take
any physical exercise, has spent a
winter in an unheated cell where
the temperature routinely fell
below zero, and he is repeatedly
tortured, both by brutal beatings
and electric shocks.
The Argentine government has
denied Mr. Westerkamp's pleas
for an exile permit that the
Argentine constitution guaran-
tees him. No explanation has
been given.
Shocking though the plight of
these people is, it is easy to
dismiss the human rights
problem as being somebody else's
concern. But hundreds of
thousands of private citizens
around the world are working to
free prisoners of conscience and
stop torture and executions.
While students in the United
States enjoy freedom of choice
and speech, they should remem-
ber and work for those in other
areas who are not nearly so for-
Keating is an in tern for
Amnesty International.


Editorials appearing on the left side of the
page beneath The Michigan Daily logo
represent a majority opinion of the Daily's


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