Truth about smoking may be harsh, but important

To the Daily:

While I would normally be disheartened by columns similar to Joel Hoard’s recent diatribe on the truth (I can’t handle ‘the truth,’ 12/09/2004), I think it is important to consider where he’s coming from. Successfully quitting smoking is an admirable feat, one which no one should feel ashamed they were unable to accomplish, as in Hoard’s case. If you read his column a couple times it becomes clear that his hatred for the truth almost certainly stems from his frustration at his unsuccessful attempts to stop smoking.

After all, I can’t imagine that Hoard really intended to insinuate that he valued his own self-proclaimed coolness over his health. I also imagine that, had Hoard really opposed the truth, he would have done some research to at least statistically back up his claims. Had he done so, he would have discovered that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attribute 440,000 deaths annually to smoking as compared to 30,000 annual gun-related deaths. While both are alarming statistics, rationalizing that tobacco companies somehow deserve a break because there are “bigger fish to fry” is not only silly, but statistically incorrect. More so, the examples Hoard attempts to shift the focus to are nonaddictive — McDonald’s isn’t lacing its product with nicotine to hook you.

There are many ways that smoking harms more than the individual who is doing it, and states are finally beginning to recognize these dangers by phasing out smoking sections in restaurants and banning smoking in bars and nightclubs. Those who argue for their divine right to light up either don’t know or don’t care how that “right” affects those around them.

The fact that Hoard is so irritated by the truth proves that the campaign is effective; he just needs to realize that the anger and annoyance he’s experiencing is not the fault of the truth. Those commercials are aggravating because they remind Hoard he has a bad habit. I hope Hoard can figure this out and give quitting another try; besides the benefit of a longer lifespan, it will make those commercials less annoying.

Chris Clayson

Engineering senior

The letter writer is the vice president of University Students Against Cancer.

 

Inauguration protest is a way to ‘fight for humanity and global progress’

To the Daily:

I am writing in response to Laura Van Hyfte’s article (Students to protest at Bush’s inauguration, 12/09/2004). First, I would like make a correction: The presidential inauguration is to take place on Jan. 20, not Jan. 19 as stated in the article.

On Jan. 20, thousands of people will convene in Washington to voice their concerns regarding the state of society. Those voicing dissent will be met with military force.

Rather than clash with the National Guard in an attempt to disrupt the inauguration, we will celebrate the power of people united. Students for Progress wishes to empower people by creating a stronger network among progressives through positive visual and social actions.

The counter-inaugural is an opportunity to network on a national level; it is an opportunity to unite those fighting for common causes, to create motion in our minds and bodies. Let the day of the inaugurations avoid further fighting and become a day of awakening, to continue the fight for humanity and global progress, with passion, coordination and solidarity.

Those who would like to learn more about Jan. 20 and Students for Progress should go to www.umjan20.org.

Adam White

LSA junior

Students for Progress

 

Taking sides in Middle East conflict is a bad move for student government

To the Daily:

I would caution the leadership of the Michigan Student Assembly against taking such general unwavering positions of support for the state of Israel. Many respected academics and political analysts have blamed our brand of unwavering support for Israel for being detrimental to our relationship with the Middle East and the rest of the world and for being an unnecessary inspiration for twisted fanatics such as al-Qaida.

Please refrain from providing unwavering support for a racist state whose illegal occupation and defiance of more than 60 U.N. resolutions does not bode well for America’s position in the world. In order for the United States to gain the international respect and cooperation it needs to prosper, we must bravely reject the fascist Zionist agenda.

This is an agenda that places Jewish life above all others and is not reflective of good traditional monotheistic progressive values. The pro-Israeli movement in America and on campus makes no attempts at peacefully reconciling with the fact that Palestinians and all people of good moral conscience will never give up their human rights and self determination. All regimes of fascism, oppression and apartheid are doomed for failure — and MSA has no role in resisting this.

The aspirations of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and human dignity, in the face of atrocious Israeli oppression and humiliation, are not to be ignored. They are to be embraced. These aspirations embody the crossroads of all struggles against injustice in the world and have drawn solidarity from those who struggle against injustice. Do not reject the calls for divestment from the apartheid state — doing so will tragically place you on the wrong side of history.

Encouraging diversity does not entail the suppression of a movement of justice and conscience. If you choose not to embrace it then certainly don’t be part of the movement to cover it up and suppress it.

Tarek Baydoun

University of Michigan Dearborn junior

The letter writer is the president of the Arab Student Union on the Dearborn campus.

 

 

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