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May 08, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wednesday, May 8, 1996 - The Michigan Daily -5

heirony of
The very same people that oppose less-restric-
tive immigration policies might not be in the
United States today if it weren't for these open
policies in the first place.
Many complain that unlike immigrants of the
early 20th century, newerk.:..
m igrants are lazy, refuse tof
work, and simply become bur-
dens of the welfare state. Thea
older immigrants, who often :-s-
happen to be ancestors of those
complaining about "newer"p
immigrants, are said to have
"worked hard" to make ends
meet in the new country.
The bottom line is that all
of these immigrants - GREG
whether pre- or post-1950; PARKER
& ether from Mexico,
ietnam, Poland or England - came to the
United States for the same reason: to make a bet-
ter life for themselves.
It is as simple as that- a better life. When the
Irish came to America to escape the potato famine
in the 1850s, itsis the same as Mexicans coming
into California to escape the tumultuous economy
of Mexico in the 1990s. When the Vietnamese
came to America for better health care and
I ployment in the 1980s, it is the same as when
Polish came into Ellis Island for economic
opportunity in the 1920s.
So why the sudden outcry against immigration?
Sure, illegal immigration is a problem, as it cre-
ates bureaucratic and economic problems for the
government. The solution for illegal immigration:
make all immigration legal. Open up the borders.
If we can open our borders to international trade
of goods and services, there is no reason why we
can't do the same for humans. With the new "world"
economy of low tariffs and open and relatively free
e, the United States'economy has remained fair-
strong and supportive. Did the sudden "flood" of
goods and services in and out of America ruin the
economy? No.
The argument against this open immigration
policy is that these immigrants will take our jobs,
our welfare benefits and our chance at the
American Dream. What people don't realize is
that the sudden influxes of immigrants earlier in
history did not throw the United States into an
irrecoverable depression. While immigrants do in
*t become employed in America, they also
spend their money in America, creating more jobs
for not only themselves, but other Americans.
But if one is to advocate open borders and open
immigration, there still has to be some way of deter-
mining who is and isn't a citizen of the United
States.The current system has potential citizens take
a "citizenship" test that is elitist and inappropriate.
I'd like to see how many "average Jane/Joe
Americans" could actually passthis test themselves.
Opening the borders of America to the world
makes economic and moral sense. There is no rea-
to deny anyone the opportunity of a better life
and to prevent them from coming to our country.
After all, immigrants have often been the people
who have made this country great .
One reason that the issue of immigration has
changed is that the people who are currently
immigrating are not necessarily white Europeans.
Many people mask their fear of immigration
behind an economic facade, when, in fact, they are
frightened of people other than white Europeans
ming to this country. It's truly a travesty when
same people that claim these new immigrants
are not "American" exhibit such un-American
qualities as racism when forming their opinions
on the issue of immigration.
- Greg Parker can be reached over e-mail at

"Funny - this doesn't
- Osverheard outside Michigan Stadium at.

look like $100,000."
Spring Commencement, as an unidentified
father examined his ticket for admission.


R AL"L440

Israel is justified in
Lebanon bombings
I am writing in response to a letter by Amer
Zahr that appeared in the Daily ("Israel should
stop bombing Lebanon," 4/26/96). I felt that this
letter was not only inappropriate, but incorrect as
The Israeli actions in Lebanon have nothing to
do with the fact that Israel is "occupying land in
South Lebanon." In Southern Lebanon there is a
security zone between Israel and Lebanon, for
that purpose and that purpose only. This security
zone is small, not "half your backyard," as the
letter stated. Israel is not and has never been
looking to expand its boundaries, as it is not an
imperialist country.
Israel is retaliating against the Hezbollah,
not against Lebanon. The Hezbollah is an
Iranian-backed terrorist organization, which
was originally started to create unrest in
Lebanon. When they fire Katyushas on Israel,
however, there is no choice but to retaliate in
the interests of Israeli security and the protec-
tion of innocent civilians. Israel started its
bombings in response to Hezbollah attacks,
and should continue to do so until Hezbollah
is disarmed or stops firing on Israel. Israel
has done its best to protect innocent Lebanese
from harm, no matter how "inhumane" these
actions may seem. And it continues to do its

best to avoid hurting innocent people.
Certainly there is nothing to gain (except
sheer propaganda for the Hezbollah) from
killing the innocent citizens of Lebanon. This
is, however, a state of war, and in a war inno-
cent people are bound to be hurt. Israelis, too,
have been injured and continue to be at risk.
This letter also states that Israel is guilty of
illegal acts "all over the Middle East" I fail to see
any factual basis for this claim. It also implies
that the existence of Israel is the only obstacle to
peace in the Middle East - again an irrational
and fallacious argument.
The aggressor in this situation is the
Hezbollah and none other. If Hezbollah stops its
bombings, Israel will more than willingly stop
bombing as well. Pressure must be given to
Syria, not the United States, to end violence. It
is Syria who is in control of Lebanon, and who
has in the past managed to control terrorist
activity there.
In addition, I must say that I feel that the print-
ing of this article in The Michigan Daily was
completely inappropriate. Are letters to the Daily
simply a means of expressing political views?
There is no rational explanation for why that let-
ter should have appeared. Since, however, it did
appear, I feel itsis my duty to make the other side
of the argument known.

Do what you love
We're done. It took quite a few sleepless nights,
a plethora of caffeinated beverages and approxi-
mately thirty-seven variations of the "f" word, but
we did it. The papers are in, the exams are marked
and the grades, good or bad, are in our possession.
We made it through another academic year.
Sometime in the middle of the many all-nighters
I pulled last month, I wish this
thought would have occurred
to me: This is supposed to be
fun. All of us here have cho-
sen, and are lucky enough to
have chosen, the path of a uni-
versity education. And though
the work sometimes seems
overwhelming, you have to
admit, we college kids are
some of the luckiest saps on
the planet. Think of it - we DEAN
spend an entire year enveloped BAKOPOULOS
in subjects that maybe two
percent of the rest of the world cares about. And if
we're lucky, we'll get to do this our whole lives.
I remember when I pulled my first all-nighter. I
was 14. I had an old beat-up copy of Hemingway's
"Nick Adams Stories," an assignment for an
English class. I was supposed to read the first story.
I was awestruck. This was exciting, this was a writer
writing in a style I never had seen before, about
things I never read before. This was good and fine
and I read the whole book cover to cover that night
and when the morning came my mother came to
wake me up.
"You are still up," she said.
"Yes," I said. "I am and it is a good and fine and
warm morning."
See? I started to talk and write and think like
Hemingway, or at least I tried to. And I developed a
passion for words, for the sound of them, the look of
them, the heft of a book in my hands. I pulled many
all-nighters that year, on my own. I read more and
more. I stayed up all night writing bad Hemingway
imitations. But I had fallen in love with words.
That's why I get angry at myself at the end of the
term every year. Literature, in the looming face of
grades and deadlines, becomes a chore. I curse
because I have so much reading to do, throw things
at the wall because I have so much writing to do.
Then summer slips in gentle and soft, and the
whole world seems right again. And all the reading
and writing and thinking I just did seems like it
was nothing less than a remarkable gift.
It's important to remember how lucky we are,
because we are spending a good portion of our
young lives learning and growing, or at least we
should be. And we should be learning and grow-
ing and doing something we love. That's equally
important. This shouldn't be four years we grit our
teeth and clench our fists and struggle just to get
through until we start earning fat paychecks. Fat
paychecks shouldn't even be on our minds as stu-
dents. Sure, like me, most of us are going into debt
to finance this education, but hey, let's worry
about the debt later - that's how the government
has operated for the last 50 years.
My point is that the social pressures of getting
a "respectable"job with big, fat paychecks is high,
and I hope it doesn't force too many writers and
artists and musicians and dancers and actors and
scholars and scientists and explorers to give up on
their dreams. And I hope it doesn't force any stu-
dent to study something they don't love. That's
wasting the gift of education.
After all the griping and complaining and stress
of the last term, you know what's oddest about the
whole thing? The first thing I did when I turned in
that last exam: I took outa cigar, stood in the Diag
and lit it up. Then, I started to think of all the
books I wanted to read this summer.
- Dean Bakopoulos can be reached via e-
mail at deanc@umich.edu

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