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July 19, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-07-19

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 19, 2004 - 5


Closing ranks

SAPAC editorial
Your editorial (Who you gonna
call?, 7/12/04) was thoughtless and
ill-titled. First, the Daily has too eas-
ily accepted the pseudo-compromise
that the University Administration
offered, basically just of keeping the
*old 936-3333 phone number, while
excluding the student crisis line vol-
unteers from serving further on the
line (Is there some huge body of
information that they were really ter-
rible in their joho? Or were some of
them deemed "troublesome" for
signing a 2003 petition to rid
Bernard Robinson Jr. from the bas-
ketball team?) and still making sur-
vivors go to CAPS.
Second, as a sexual assault sur-
vivor and SAPAC client I know
informed me, you trivialized the
matter of rape by evoking the 1984
soundtrack from the film "Ghost-
busters" with your absurd "Who you
gonna call?" title.
While your editorial may have
been well-intentioned, it was neither
mature nor truly thoughtful. The
Daily should consider publishing an
apology to survivors for the "Ghost-
*busters" nonsense and should be
more alert about the need for pre-
serving the former, and admirably
functional, form of SAPAC without
needless changes which upset so
many assault survivors and other cit-
izens of the University community.
Mediation can solve
Last week, the International
Court of Justice at the Hague
ruled that the wall Israel is build-
ing in the West Bank is a violation
of international law due to its con-
struction on internationally recog-
Wized Palestinian territory. Many
in the international community

were thrilled to see the world's
premiere court stand up to another
in a series, along with the illegal
settlements, of Israeli land grabs
of Palestinian terrain. This bubble
was soon popped when Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
declared that his government
would continue building the
unlawful wall and American offi-
cials announced that the United
States would veto proposed Unit-
ed Nations Security Council reso-
lutions condemning Israel's
erection of the wall in the West
Bank. Due to these reasons and
the continuing misery that Pales-
tinians are forced to endure due to
the 37 years of Israeli military
occupation, it comes down to the
international community to
become more involved in settling
the decades-old conflict.
The first step that can be taken
by the international community
would be to send U.N. observers
into the West Bank and Gaza, in
order to have an objective delega-
tion examine and file reports on
what is actually going on in the
occupied territories. This is not a
new idea; it has been suggested on
a number of occasions. The only
thing that has spared Israel from
international observers is the U.S.
veto in the Security Council.
Regardless, as a result of the Israeli
government's total disregard for
Palestinian lives and the Bush
administration's complacency
toward Israeli human rights abuses,
it is time for Israel to be placed
under the same legitimate standards
that every other nation in the world
is placed under.
Sending International observers
to areas of conflict is a moderate
and standard process that has been
used in many different parts of the
globe. Since Israel has repeatedly
denied claims of human rights vio-
lations made against her, it is aston-
ishing that Israel has not relished
this opportunity to clear her name.
That is unless Israel has something
to hide.
LSA senior
Vice-chair; Students Allied for
Freedom and Equality

t was the perfect
storm. Already
trailing, the
Democratic Party
would have to safe-
guard 19 Senate seats
(four more than their
Republican counter-
parts), six of which
reside below the
Mason Dixon Line, and five of the six
which were to be fought without the
weapon of incumbency. No more than six
months ago, November's Senate elections
were a foregone conclusion - an early
Christmas celebration for the GOP.
For the Democrats' part, the 'duck and
cover' strategy seemed most sensible. If
they picked their battles carefully, the ana-
lysts held, the Dems could count their loss-
es and limp away only slightly wounded.
But to the disbelief of forecasters, the
Democrats have launched an electoral
blitzkrieg over the last half-year, saturating
presumed Republican districts with a flood
of candid and hard-hitting competitors.
With the help of some record-shattering
fundraising, gigantic pre-primary consoli-
dation efforts, and an extremely feeble
President, the Democratic Senatorial cam-
paign has evolved into a well-oiled politi-
cal machine. The notion of a power shift in
the Senate, once out of reach and impracti-
cal, has now found a grounding in reality.
Not counting in their rank-and-file Jim
Jeffords, the left-leaning independent Sen-
ator from Vermont, the Democrats face a
thin 51-48 GOP majority. And assuming
nature doesn't deviate from its constant

state of equilibrium and no incumbents are
upset in the 21 or so "safe races," the
Democrats have approximately 13 com-
petitive contests to mount their coup d'6tat.
Most of the heavy combat will occur
in the south, where the simultaneous
retirement of five prominent Southern
Democrats has left the party dangerously
susceptible to Republican encroachment.
In South Carolina for example, the depar-
ture of seven-term legend Ernest Hollings
was generally accepted as the end of the
Democratic dynasty in the Palmetto State.
Recognizing this, party leadership pre-
emptively vacated the primary - mobiliz-
ing early behind state Education
Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum. With a
head start, the self-acclaimed social con-
servative had time to strap on her body
armor while U.S. Rep. Jim Demint, the
Republican contestant, was still sparring
for the nomination. Given her constituen-
cy, Tenenbaum's polling numbers have
been tremendous, and the formerly locked
up district is now too close to call.
Just due north, Democrats have
unearthed a treasure trove to fill the void
left by the exiting John Edwards. Former
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Erk-
sine Bowles, an admired warrior of the
Clinton Administration and one of the
masterminds behind the balanced budget
of the mid-'90s, now holds a 10-point
margin over U.S. Rep. Richard Burr.
In Georgia, House freshman Denise
Majette's lofty bid to replace Zell Miller
has become a political Cinderella story,
and the spiritually inspired millionaire's
effort has made a big splash. And though

the Bayou state is tilting right, a fierce
Republican primary in Louisiana has GOP
leadership anticipating a Democratic move
to unite behind U.S. Rep. Chris Johns. Bob
Graham's seat is still up for grabs in Flori-
da, but expect to see former University of
Southern Florida President Betty Castor
on the Democratic ticket.
To the west, the campaign takes on a
more offensive tinge as the Dems advance
to fill GOP vacancies across the country.
In Oklahoma, another crowded Republi-
can primary has put retiring Republican
Don Nickles' seat in jeopardy, and after a
Republican implosion in the Land of Lin-
coln, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama
has all but sealed the deal.
The Colorado race is my favorite. In
the GOP corner is beer magnate Pete
Coors, a fringe-libertarian whose platform
includes a lower drinking age. His oppo-
nent (and you have to admire the Democ-
rats' boldness): the Colorado Attorney
General Ken Salazar. Unless University of
Colorado, Boulder students are alone at
the polls this November, Salazar will prob-
ably ride this one out. Then there's Alaska,
where GOP incumbent Lisa Murkowski,
having been appointed by her father in
2002 when he abdicated his seat for a
gubernatorial bid, is scrambling to deflect
allegations of nepotism.
A dark-horse story from the begin-
ning, the Democrats are closing ranks, and
as the GOP continues to lose traction,
anticipate an exciting November.
Singer can be reached at

Tne realm of it all


have recently
began studying in
Salamanca, Spain,
with one of the Uni-
versity's study abroad
programs. I've gone
abroad several times
before, and each time,
it becomes more and
more interesting to
observe the first-time travelers in the
group. It's not hardto find them. They give
themselves away by the way they bring too
many suitcases, forget to wear money-
belts and insist on showing off designer
clothes. The most obvious giveaway, how-
ever, are their misconceptions about travel,
which is quite possibly one of the most
idealized activities the world has to offer.
They think that traveling can be likened to
a continuous state of bliss, and that some-
how, they can erase a lifetime of living in
the United States to easily fit into
whichever country they happen to be in.
After a few days, however, reality
begins to set in. "This definitely isn't how
I thought it'd be," one of these travelers,
tired from a hectic first week in Madrid,
told me over lunch. "Sometimes, I feel like
I would be having just as much fun at
home." She swirled her lemonade. "But
my parents probably think I'm so happy,
I'm dancing on the tabletops right now. So
of course I can't tell them that."
It's true. Even if your trip doesn't go
exactly as planned, what are you supposed
to tell your friends and family back home,
who are eager for cool and exciting stories

about your time abroad? As a returning
traveler, you have a responsibility to enter-
tain. I never felt this more than when I
returned from visiting my sister in Japan
earlier this summer. As soon as I stepped
off the plane, my family wanted stories,
more stories than Ilhad to tell.
I told as many as I could. And I do
have a few good ones, a few postcard-per-
fect moments that shine against the rest. I
told them about the iris garden at the
Meiji-jingu Shrine, the Imperial Palace
and kabuki theater. I concluded with refer-
ences to "personal growth" and lessons in
"self-reliance." I even threw in "cultural
understanding" for good measure.
Of course, when I'm telling all this,
there are so many things I'm not saying.
I'm failing to mention that I thought more
about practical matters, like food and hos-
tel reservations, than about any of the
sights. I won't say how my sister and I
seemed to spend half our time on trains
and buses. And I definitely won't admit
that one time, due to a lack of money and
linguistic skills, we resorted to eating ajar
of peanut butter for dinner on the
overnight train from Sapporo to Toyama.
Contrary to popular belief, real life is real
life no matter where you go.
But most of all, I won't even attempt to
explain what a lonely experience losing
your language and your culture is. Call it
"culture shock" if you will. All I know is
that you'll become acutely aware of how
different you are from everyone else, how
you'll suddenly understand the importance
of language once no one can understand

what you're saying, how in only a matter
of days, your situation will become your
world and your identity. You'll know that
there's a place out there called the United
States, a place where people speak English
and are loud and obnoxious and not afraid
to start arguments. You'll know this, but
you won't feel this. It's easy to begin to
think that you'll never fit in anywhere,
ever again.
I won't tell you any of this because
chances are, you won't want to hear. You
want to listen to profound and exotic remi-
niscences, so I'll humor you with my sto-
ries, and the misconceptions about
traveling will continue on, safe and sound.
Sometimes, I wonder why I bother to
travel at all. Every time I go abroad, I
decide that I'd never want to live anywhere
but the United States, that my home is the
most beautiful place on Earth. I wonder
why I bother to spend so much time and
money trotting around the globe, jumping
from country to country in my efforts to
see the world.
Really, the answer is simple: because
the Universe is larger than we'll ever be
able to fathom. Because there's millions
upon millions of galaxies out there, and if
you manage to spend your entire life in the
same small town, the same state, even the
same country, you might as well be living
with your head in the ground for all your
seeing of the world. This is our home. We
have a responsibility to explore it.
Kellman can be reached at

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