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May 28, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-05-28

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Wednesday, May 28, 1997 - The Michigan Daily - 5

* "We do a lot of advocacy on behalf of survivors -
medically, academically, as well as legally."
- Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center Interim Director
Joyce Wright, describing services provided by the organization

On a recent trip to Central
merica, we had the opportuni-
ty to spend more than a week in
Nicaragua, where we witnessed
the consequences of perhaps
the greatest crime committed
against a country in recent
years - a crime for which all
American citizens share the
blame. Unfortunately, many in
this country still do not realize
what the United States has done
In July 1979, the Nicaraguan
dictator Anastasio Somoza, sup-
ported for decades by the
United States government, was
overthrown by a broad coalition
headed by the Sandinista
National Liberation Front
(FSLN in Spanish). This revolu-
tion represented an incredible
triumph for the Nicaraguan peo-
who had engaged in decades
of guerrilla warfare, strikes and
protests against the oppressive
Somoza government.
Even more amazing, the
FSLN restructured society to
serve the basic needs of the
majority of people. They built
schools and health-care clinics
and established a massive litera-
cy campaign. Somoza's exten-
e land holdings were distrib-
d to poor farmers who had
previously toiled under share-
cropper conditions. Workers took
over Somoza's factories and ran
them cooperatively. Councils
were established in every neigh-
borhood to involve the direct par-
ticipation of the citizens in edu-
cation, health, crime prevention

and national defense issues. The than ever. The unemployment
FSLN began to build a true rate is greater than 60 percent,
socialist-democratic society that illiteracy has risen by about 25
placed the concerns of the major- percent (primary education is no
ity over the group. In this accom- longer free), 80 percent of the
plishment, Nicaragua is joined population live in poverty and
by few countries in history. the country is now the second
All of this was destroyed poorest in the hemisphere.
when the Reagan administration We were told that the 1996
imposed an economic embargo elections - which brought to
on Nicaragua in the early 1980s power another conservative gov-
and organized, trained and fund- ernment - involved widespread
ed the counterrevolution fraud and illegal financial contri-
(Contras) headed by Somoza's butions from the United States,
National Guard officers. Tens of and that the FSLN were the true
thousands of Nicaraguans lost winners. Unfortunately, the
their lives during the war, which Nicaraguans will now endure six
consumed more than 40 percent more years of the same policies
of the country's budget. that keep them in poverty.
In our travels through It is disturbing to hear these
Nicaragua, we spoke to people facts about Nicaraguan history
who had each lost several fami- and society. It is even more
ly members in the Contra war. upsetting to speak to people who
The Contras destroyed schools, have lived this devastating reali-
health clinics and cooperative ty or to see the country's poverty
farms, and routinely employed tn the sprawling shantytowns.
murder, mutilation, torture and The Nicaraguan people pos-
rape against the populace in an sess tremendous strength and
effort to sabotage the revolution. courage in the face of relentless
In 1990, after almost a interference from the United
decade of war and economic States. We found them to have a
blockade thatdevastated the high level of political sophisti-
country, Nicaraguans voted the cation that allowed them to treat
FSLN out of power in favor of us as friends while condemning
the Unites States-funded conser- the actions of the United States
vative, Violetta Chomorro. This government. We urge
vote represented the people's Americans to educate them-
wish to end the war and econom- selves on the far-reaching, neg-
ic blockade rather than end the ative consequences of Unites
revolution. After six years of States foreign policy. We must
conservative economic policies, fight to ensure that the tragedy
decreases in social spending, and of Nicaragua never be repeated.
other United States and Eric Dirnbach is a
International Monetary Fund- Rackham student.
imposed structural adjustments, Jaime Nass is an
the economic situation is worse University ahumna.

Roseanne: The American dream incarnate
T his country has an obsession with success. Roseanne kissed another woman on national tele-
One of our bedrock American ideals revolves vision, she was way before her time - Ellen
around the belief that no matter where you start in DeGeneres and the movie "Chasing Amy" didn't
life, working hard and "pulling yourself up by the make lesbianism commercially vogue until a few
bootstraps" will bring you to success. Conventional months ago. Roseanne, for better or worse, has
wisdom paints a slightly murkier picture because changed us into more accepting people.
"it's not what you know, it's who you know." Roseanne has a knack for breaking the rules. In
Roseanne - Barr, Arnold or what- both her show and her life, she has proven
ever - has proven that this notion that she will not subordinate herself to
actually has some truth to it. She came anyone, especially a man. Whether that
from almost nothing to be one of the means screaming at her fictional husband,
most powerful and influential women divorcing her real one or supplanting her
in the country. She faced her demons show's male producer, she always defies
and walked away laughing, and in America's patriarchal order. And as far as
doing so, changed the very nature with we like to think we've come, any woman
which Americans view not only TV who builds her career around figuratively
but religion, sexuality and a whole kicking the good old boys in the groin still
slew of other things. scares the hell out of us.
Born to a Jewish family in a primar- JACK But don't call her a feminist -
ily Catholic neighborhood in Salt Lake SCHILLACI Roseanne and mainstream feminism have
City, Utah, Roseanne grew up know- JACK i long since parted company. There is even
ing she was a little bit different than tE 'P ULP animosity between the two - when The
her schoolmates. By her early 20s, she New Yorker magazine asked Roseanne to
had three kids, a husband and led the life she later consult on a special women's edition, several writ-
labeled as that of "trailer trash." ers resigned in disgust. But she has done more for
It was at this time that she got her start in stand- women in the media than anyone since Mary Tyler
up comedy. Drawing on her years as a housewife Moore portrayed an independent, single girl in a
and mother, she poked fun at the human condition. big city. Hers was one of the first female characters
She capitalized on middle America's stereotypical that led and dominated. Her character championed
problems - debt, unemployment, obesity, etc ... the image of the working-class soccer mom before
and made a colossal joke out of it all. In 1988, they were even a voting bloc by leading a family,
"Roseanne" debuted on ABC - it quickly soared holding down a job and managing a relationship
to top ratings and hasn't looked down since. with her husband without missing a beat.
Nine years ago, it was a big deal that someone Roseanne has risen to the top of the television
would dare sing the National Anthem off-key at a industry using her determination and drive to fuel
baseball game and grab her crotch at a booing her climb. As her show comes to a close, we can
crowd. In fact, it was enough for former U.S. see the indelible mark she has left on society -
President George Bush to whine about as evi- one that no amount of moralistic politicking will
dence of the patriotic and moral collapse of our be able to remove.
nation, ignoring such supposedly miniscule - Jock Schi/aci can be reached
issues as homelessness and welfare. When over e-mailtatjschilla@iumnich.edu.
'U'basketball could learn from Wings'fan loyalty
H owever the Stanley Cup playoffs conclude, It's a lesson that the University's coaches might
the series has already been filled with great want to observe.
moments, especially for Detroit fans. Last For the past few months, stories have been
Thursday was probably the most memorable appearing about the basketball team's possible
night of all; no one is going to forget the Red violations of NCAA regulations. Booster Ed
Wings' 6-0 victory in Game Four anytime soon. Martin has allegedly offered money and gifts to
But what I remember best about that game basketball players, and a recruit may have had
wasn't the goals or the fights, it was illegal contact with Martin. The
Joe Louis Arena packed with fans. I University has hired an independent
haven't seen that much red and white in firm to investigate these charges, but
one place since I went to high-school t the report will not be completed until
football games. midsummer.
A few minutes before the game start- Basketball coach Steve Fisher, and
ed, the cameras zoomed in on one fan, the athletic program as a whole, should
a little kid wearing a goofy red styro- be considered innocent until proven
foam hat. It had wings on either side, guilty. The investigating firm will even-
and the band across his forehead said, tually provide some answers, and until
"Wing Nut." As ridiculous as it was, then it's unfair to make assumptions
the kid still looked pretty happy to be Liz LUCAS about what happened.
there. COUNTRY But the consequences of a negative
It's been 42 years since the Wings EE-DBACK report are already clear. NCAA penal-
won the Stanley Cup. For the past few ties could severely damage the athletic
years, it's been a May ritual watching them make program. Recruits would probably think twice
it to the playoffs and then self-destruct in every about coming to Michigan.
crucial game, and it might well happen again this Most of all, no matter how this affair ends,
year. True, we enjoyed a nice surge of optimism people will see the athletic program in a different
after the Anaheim shutout, and after Thursday's light. The facts will be forgotten; casual
game against Colorado. But even though the observers will only remember the taint of ques-
Wings managed a 2-1 victory Monday night, the tionable behavior.
finals will still be a nerve-racking series. The Wings' history shows us that fan support is
And even so, at Monday's game in Detroit, the vital to a team; it's always heartening to know
fans were still there. that people will support you even when you fal-
This series is demonstrating the incredible fac- ter.
tor of team loyalty. People will stick with their The University's other athletic programs
teams despite endless defeats, always providing a should take note of this fact, in light of the bas-
home-court advantage. They sympathize with ketball team's troubles. If the University doesn't
rebuilding years and players' losses of confi- watch out, the Wing Nut kid - or his Wolverine
dence. But there's a limit to this patience. When Nut equivalent - is going to get up and leave the
people grow too disillusioned with a team, when arena.
they no longer want to identify with it, they'll - Liz Lucas can be reached over
just stop paying attention. e-mail at erelucas@utmich.edu.

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