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July 24, 1956 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1956-07-24

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EIGHT

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

WEDNESDAY, JULY 2 5, 1956

EIGHT THE MiCHIGAN DAILY WEDNESDAY, JULY 2~. 19~

.R

IN NATIVE FASHION:
Schorger Studies Culture by Living With People

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OPEN DAILY INCLUDING SATURDAY 9 TO 5:30

By TED FRIEDMAN
Editor's Note: Prof. William Schor-
ger, of the anthropology department,
has lived for two years in Lebanon,
part of which time he spent in a
Moslem village in the mountains.
7n 1953-'54, he lived in Aleppo, Syria
while directing a field session for the
University's program in near eastern
studies. He attributes his original
interest in the area to his two years
with the British eighth army in North
Africa 1942-'43.
The following is an account of one
of Prof. Schorger's more colorful so-
journs.
To Prof. William Schorger, the
way to study a culture is to live in
it.
In 1948 and '49, the anthropol-
ogy professor stationed himself in
an isolated Moroccan peasant
community. He ate native foods,
obeyed local etiquette and taboos,
spoke in the village dialect and at-
tempted to be as inconspicuous as
possible.
Prof. Schorger's efforts were
well repaid. He is one of few
Westerners who have witnessed
the complete dervish rituals at
Sidi Kasem, supposedly forbid-
den for non-Moslems to behold.
Indeed, he was successful enough
at winning the villagers' approval
that they "tried to marry me off
to one of the local girls."
He was flattered by the offer.
"This is evidence of friendly feel-
ing-when they suggest you con-
vert to Islam and marry one of
their women." But he did not ac-
cept. He is married to an Ameri-
can-born woman.
"I got into the village in Moroc-
co through a man who was work-
ing as excavator for an archeolog-
ical expedition I was on in 1942."
Prof. Schorger became friendly
with him and one day he re-
marked that the professor should
drop over for a stay at his vil-
lage.
"I don't think he thought I
would," Prof. Schorger observed.
A year later the anthropologist
did not merely drop in on the vil-
lage, but fully dived into the so-
ciety. "What it involves is going
out and living with the people
and eating what they eat and sort
of blending into the woodwork.
"I enjoyed it. I don't know

whether that's a bad sign or a
good sign, but I find I have no
trouble accommodating to the
Arab way of life."
Prof. Schorger paused a mo-
ment, then observed, "Arabs are
very hard to manipulate. They are
all anarchists at heart.
"You have to. be as patient or
more patient than they are. It's
a nice environment for someone
who is individualistic. There is a
good deal more tolerance for in-
dividual idiosyncracies than there
is in our own country.
"A man can act pretty much
however he wants to without in-
curring much criticism."~
They are also polite to a degree
that would stagger most Ameri-
cans. "When you ask an Arab a
question, he will answer you with
the answer he thinks you want
to hear.
"If you ask him a direction and
he doesn't know, he will give you
a direction anyway."
One time Prof. Schorger was
suffering from a leaking roof in
his dwelling and he asked a na-
tive if he would repair it.
The repairman readily consent-
ed and assured him it would be
taken care of by the following
day.
It was not until many wet frus-
trating weeks later that he learned
such an answer in Morocco
amounts to a refusal.
But Prof. Schorger found it
was possible to get across to the
people using his approach. "Most
Americans don't try to learn a
foreign language when they go
abroad," he said.
"When they do learn the lan-
guage, the people are highly flat-
tered, and will do almost anything
for you
"I was once at the 'Saint's
Feast' where theoretically no non-
Moslem is supposed to be" The
annual ritual is performed at the
tomb of an Islamic saint. It is
there that the esoteric Dervish
Dance takes place.
"These were essentially dances
that were supposed to throw some-
body into a trance-highly dra-
matic affairs. They have drums
and they play an oboe that sounds
like a bagpipe. When it's held at
night by the moonlight, it's very
effective.
"The theory here is that
through this dance you get into
contact with the supernatural.
The dancer keeps whirling until
he goes into the trance.'
The professor indicated there
is far too little of his type of ap-
proach toward foreign areas.
"A lot of the people the United
States sends there frequently
don't know the language and
don't know the culture of the area.
At the present time the United
States is relatively ignorant of this
part of the world. We seem to
miss a real knowledge of the area.
We can't really change the com-
munities.
"I think the principal problem
there is a misconception that if
you give people money they will
'improve,' they will become like us

STATE
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AT
LIBERTY

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Wednesday

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FEAST OF SIDI KASEM -- (left) where dervish rituals forbidden to non-Moslems contact the
supernatural. Right, Morroccan starts home amid cactus, with saplings, rope.

doctor's Life
Tough Behind
Iron Curtain
One of Europe's best surgeons
says that Russia's most recent
new look is not a change of heart.
He calls it "Smiling Politics."
Dr. Rene Fontaine, professor of
surgery and dean of the Medical
Faculty at France's University of
Strasbourg, said that while visit-
ing the University Medical School
recently that the Soviet's latest
tack is more treacherous than the
blunt, open policy of domination
which preceded it. "The Soviets'
goals have not changed, and I do
not believe they will", he stated.
He emphasized his point by stat-
ing, "I would rather die than have
to practice medicine and teach un-
der thi communists."
Commenting on medical educa-
tion behind the Iron Curtain, Dr.
Fontaine saidothat considering the
lack of freedom and shortage of
medical faculty, satellite coun-
tries were producing some pretty
fair surgeons. "They are generally
well-trained", he stated, adding
"and areperforming operations,
such as those of heart, with ad-
mirable skill."
Drawbacks'
He pointed out, however, that
there are many drawbacks.
To become a surgeon one has
to have a good standing in the
Communist party. Medical men
who are not party members are
permitted to practice, but are cut
off from all contacts with med -
cal students, he stated.
* Medical . practice in satellite
countries is suffering, Dr. Fon-
taine stated. Poland is suffering
the most. Most medical school
teachers are in their 70's, while
the next age level of new doctors
and students is below 35 years. The
vacuum of men in the "prime"
ages between 35 nd 70 is a re-
sult of Poland's involvement in
the second world war, which took
a great toll of lives, he said.
To make up for the doctor
shortage in Poland, the Commu-
nist government is now permitting
persons to practice the more rou-
tine forms of medicine and this
can be right after high school, he
said.
Satellite countries are placing a
great emphasis on research, Dr.
Fontaine stated. The doctors seem
to be eager to do research and are
doing some good work.
Dog Reflexes
Research is hampered, however,
by the Communist regime, he said..
fl1,,,i lnnri .c fnr.. a mn1 a nn

STATE

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AT LIBERTY

PROF. SCHORGER ENJOYS INFORMAL CHAT WITH MOSLEM

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JULY 25th thru 31st

Greyhound
Files GM
Damage Suit
NEW YORK, (P) - Greyhound
Corp. said yesterday it is prepar-
ing to file a multi-million dollar
damage suit against General Mo-
tors Corp., charging mechanical
defects in a fleet of 1,000 buses
purchased from GM.
Arthur S. Genet, president, told
a news conference that the bus
company paid about 53 million
dollars for the 1,000 "Scenicruis-
er" buses, which make up about
20 per cent of the total fleet.
Genet declared that 570 of the
buses were not up to the contract-
ed mechanical standards of Grey-
hound and the normal commercial
production standards of GM." He
said the vehicles had trouble in
the lubrication systems for the
transmission and clutches.
General Motors declared in a
statement, "We cannot make any
comment until we see a copy of
the pleadings in the suit which
Mr. Genet says will be filed by
Greyhound."

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