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January 25, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-25
This is a tabloid page

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A group of students join the other
protestors at the SOS (Support Our
Soldiers) rally on Saturday.


The Great Schism
One week of war splinters

While opposition to Saddam
Hussein was prevalent, many
questioned why the U.S. would so
easily send forces to fight an Arab
leader and his country when
similar aggressions have been
virtually ignored in the past.
"My initial reaction was:
what's the fuss about?" said
Nabeel Abraham, a social
sciences professor at Henry Ford
Community College and a
panelist at Martin Luther King,
Jr. Day activities.
"Aggression, invasion,
occupation are nothing new to
the world. Most Arabs think of
the West Bank as well as the
Golan Heights and Lebanon
when they think of aggression.
The U.S. can wait, dawdle about
those occupations, the violation
of humanities, and the
dismantling of those
governments... What's
different?" he asked.
University Public Health
Prof. Rashid Bashshur, a Syrian-
American, summarized the
dismay many Arab-Americans
felt when the U.S. bombed Iraq.
"Although I never liked
Saddam Hussein and was
completely against his
occupation of Kuwait, I hate to
see an Arab country being
decimated in the way Iraq is being
decimated. They are totally
overwhelmed by the technology
of the U.S.," he said.
"Arab-Americans are
stunned... They are stunned
because of the extent of the
humiliation of the Iraqis and the
ease with which the Americans
decide to go to war with an Arab
country. They expected more
patience and restraint," he added.
A group of approximately 50
students calling themselves the
Ad Hoc Coalition of People of
Color Against the War in the
Gulf and Racism at Home called
the Persian Gulf War racist.
They condemned its "anti-Arab"
nature and pointed out the
numbers of minorities in the
military are disproportionately
high compared to the U.S.
This reflects a system that
reinforces "domestic imperialism
and racism," explained group
member Tracye Matthews.
Many poor minorities choose the
military as a way to earn money
for tuition or to learn skills for
future careers, she said.
The concern for the makeup of
the troops contributed to the
overwhelming sentiment that no
matter what one may think of
U.S. policy or President Bush, one
should support the troops.
"I don't believe in violence,
but now that our soldiers are over
there, I support our soldiers," said
Engineering junior Ron Woods.
Supporting her two sisters
serving in the Gulf, first-year
Engineering student Africa
Freeman explained her opposition
to the war. "People have to

Students f
Support Lu

Mike Richardson, a Vietnam veteran from Detroit argues with a pro-war
student in the Diag last Thursday.

students' views on

Two days before the United
States bombed Iraq, reporters
flooded The Daily with calls,
asking how University of
Michigan students feel about
A week later, the answer to
their question lay on the Diag,
where students had shattered a
memorial depicting the brutality
of war because they opposed its
graphic nature.
The answer occupied the
Institute for Social Research,
where 35 students held a sit-in to
draw attention to the
University's military research.
It resonated from the steps of
the Graduate Library, where
students sang the national
anthem of Israel and pledged to
return every night that Israel is
And it took over the
classroom, where one student
called for all Iraqis in America
who aren't citizens to be deported
to the Middle East, for "This," he
declared, "is a war."
As Allied planes flew more
than 12,000 missions over Iraq by
mid-week, public support for
Bush soared and tensions on
campus splintered.
By the end of the first day's
fighting, students were becoming
familiar with the explanations

for and against a war in the Gulf,
and groups were forming to
spread their views on the conflict.
At issue was the question of
U.S. involvement in the Middle
East, and why the United States
chose this particular instance to
use its forces.
Anti-war ralliers on campus
and across the nation took up the
cry "No Blood for Oil," in
opposition to a war they saw
being fought primarily to
preserve the U.S. economy and
way of life which depends
heavily on oil imports.
Members of the group
Students Against U.S.
Intervention in the Middle East
(SAUSI) stressed that the war is a
result of outmoded Western
thinking which accepts
intervention in order to preserve a
way of life - even at the expense
of another culture.
"The action of war will not
stop other wars; we need to be
peaceful in our way of life," said
LSA senior Carl Burns, a member
of SAUSI. "We've been building
up a knowledge of how to fight
wars. Yet there is very little
discussion on what a philosophy
of peace would mean."
Some pro-interventionists
accepted a war fought for
economic interests.

the Gulf
"It is justified, in that the U.S.
position in the world -
unfortunately so - is dependent
on Western access to oil," said
LSA senior Reg Goeke.
More often, pro-
interventionists countered that
Saddam Hussein is a "madman"
who must be stopped before he
obtains a massive military with
nuclear capabilities that could be
used against the West or Israel.
They pointed to the 12 U.N.
resolutions condemning the Iraqi
attack and cited human rights
abuses committed by Iraqis that
Amnesty International reported.
When Iraq launched Scud
missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa,
ralliers gathered to show support
for Israel, and many expressed
fear of Saddam Hussein.
"America has a right to be
involved. Saddam has been
defined as a Hitler, and I believe
that's true," said Jennifer Loss, an
LSA senior who recently returned
from studying in Tel Aviv,
Israel's capitol. "When Hitler
was killing the Jews with gas,
[the U.S.] said it was someone
else's problem, and by the time
we went in, it was a little late...
Saddam Hussein is a threat who
must be stopped."
But many Arab-Americans
were torn.

interrupt their educations to fight
a war that's not even going to
benefit us," she said. "It's an
unnecessary war. The U.S.is
always playing Big Brother in
things that do not concern us."
Protests were numerous, but
the cries heard at rallies
throughout the week could only
present a few sides of a many-
faceted argument, and students
tried quickly to develop a better
understanding of the complex
politics of a regionwhich has
been in turmoil for years.

military force to restore the
independence of Kuwait, I'm
uneasy with the argument of
Bush that says because Iraq poses
a military threat and will so in
the future, that we have to
destroy the Iraqi military
machine," he explained. "Iraq's
biggest threat is to Israel... and
Israel's problem isn't central to
our security interests."
The question of Israel's role in
the conflict is a core of
Some members of the Jewish

The morning after the United
States attacked Iraq, Jong Han
walked to an anti-war rally on
the Diag, her backpack stuffed
with fliers urging students to
"Support Our Soldiers."
She was scared.
The campus group - which
planned to hold its first mass
meeting yesterday - was a little
more than a day old, supported
by the pocket money of eight
people who felt they represented
an opinion not often heard on
"I thought I was the only
person out there that had a
different view," said Han, a
first-year LSA student. "I was
terrified. I thought they [war
protestors] were going to laugh
at me or hit me."
Instead, Han and other
members of SOS - which now
has a coordinating committee of
about 25 people - said they were
welcoined by students with
diverse political views united in
their support for troops in the
Persian Gulf. Their first rally
drew more than 600 people to the
Diag on Saturday. On Tuesday,
after much debate, the Michigan
Student Assembly passed a
resolution supporting the
Persian Gulf soldiers. An SOS
petition had gathered 1700
signatures by the middle of the
In the future, SOS plans to
sponsor activities such as tying
yellow ribbons around trees on
campus, sending letters of
support to soldiers, and
coordinating activities with
Ann Arbor residents who
support the soldiers.
"There's a lot of people on
this campus who want to be
pro-America," said Reg Goeke,
an LSA senior. "The climate is
more and more for supporting
the troops. That's what I'm
While they have been
encouraged by student response
to their efforts, members of SOS
have also been discouraged by
what they call
misrepresentation and
misunderstanding of their group.
The aim of SOS is not to support
war, they said.
"We're not a pro-war group.
It's been very difficult for us to
convince people of that," Goeke
said. "But right now the deed is
done. We need to send a unified
message that America supports
its soldiers."
SOS, which includes students
for and against intervention,
does not plan to take a political
stand on the war, members said.
Students with diverse opinions
about the war work side by side


'I hate to see an Arab country being decimated in
the way Iraq is being decimated. They are totally
overwhelmed by the technology of the U.S.'
- Prof. Rashid Bashshur
University Public Health

Mandy Roger, a second-year Rackham graduate student, and Ken Polsky,
an LSA senior marched to the Administration building last Thursday to
protest the war .
Cover story
by Noelle Vance

The importance of oil to the
world economy, the balance of
power among Arab leaders, and
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
were topics debated in and out of
the classroom.
"I'm not a 'strong supporter'
of the war," said University Prof.
Paul Huth, a specialist in
international security issues.
"I think the U.S. was correct
in going in to defend Saudi Arabia
because Saudia Arabia is an
important source of oil, and the
U.S. economy would suffer
tremendously [if that source was
lost]," he said.
"Kuwait, however, is not
nearly as important a sourcetof
oil; and while I support the use of

community maintain the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict has
nothing to do with the Persian
Gulf War, and an attempt to link
it with the crisis is only a tactic
Saddam uses to broaden the war
into an Arab-Israeli war.
"(Saddam) is a strategic man of
battle who doesn't have anything
to go on, and he's trying to relate
it to this issue," said LSA senior
Mitchel Adler, who just returned
from Israel.
Those who considered the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict a non-
issue challenged those who
compare the two issues, saying:
Please turn to page 10

January 25, 1991


Page 8

Page 9



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