Palestinian election not a true, competitive race

To the Daily:

Nobody seems to have noticed the essential irony of the Palestinian elections: There seemed to be no candidates, while the winner, Mahmoud Abbas, was virtually assumed to have won prior to the elections themselves! Of course, there were candidates, such as Mustafa Barghouti (brother of Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti), who was routinely detained, harassed and intimidated by the Israeli military during the “campaign process.” On Dec. 26, for example, in East Jerusalem, Israeli policemen removed the only billboard that contained Barghouthi’s presidential election materials and detained the campaign advertisement manager for interrogation. Barghouti is a grassroots human rights campaigner, struggling for Palestinians’ social, medical and educational needs. Along with the late Edward Said and others, he established the Palestinian National Initiative in 2002, which aimed to build democracy in Palestine and worked toward reform, the cause of Palestinian liberation and the right of return. Clearly, he is not some riffraff you simply detain and humiliate when you please, although this was precisely the way he was treated by the Israeli military. Abbas, however, was given $20 million in frozen funds by Israel as well a free hand to travel throughout the Occupied Territories without infringement. If this is how elections are conducted in the Occupied Territories, then one can hardly call this a “historic moment.” Elections mean candidates in the plural, not candidate.

Tarek R. Dika

LSA senior

The letter writer is the vice chair of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.


Editorial misses point; banning Bible class would be unconstitutional

To the Daily:

The Daily’s staff editorial entitled A Glaring Violation (01/11/2005) is just that, a glaring violation. The article talks about a course being considered at Frankenmuth High School, among others, that would teach the Bible as historical fact.

While I could launch into a philosophical debate regarding the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible, its complimentary and supporting texts and the place it deserves in academia, I find the larger problem to be the accusation of the course as unconstitutional.

I contacted the Frankenmuth School District Office and was told that were the class to be offered, it would be an elective, not a mandatory class — a point not included in the Daily editorial. This point negates the claim of its unconstitutionality, in that the class would be optional, not taught to everyone as common knowledge. What would be unconstitutional and a threat to the preservation of student civil liberties is if this class were removed from schools as an elective, in which case, schools would be discriminating against those interested in the Bible, taking it out for no reason other than to persecute those interested in its studies.

Those crying out that such a course is “an unambiguous infringement on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution” should take a closer look at the situation. The purpose of the First Amendment was not to completely remove religion from government-funded establishments, but to avoid imposing any one specific religion on the entire country. So the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” should not mean that religion cannot survive in our liberal society like some individuals bastardize it to mean, but rather that our government cannot make us follow or practice any one particular religion against our will or establish a particular religion as the official one of our country. And that is clearly not the intention of offering the course in question.

I sincerely hope that the Daily further investigates the situations on which it chooses to write editorials, especially those as controversial as the First Amendment and its place in academia.

Anthony Hessler

Art and Design senior


Arguments presented for abortion are flawed

To the Daily:

In the letters to the editor by the executive board of Students for Choice (Columnist misunderstands nature of abortion debate, 01/12/2005) and Greg Malivuk (Abortion, beating with a bat are different, 01/12/2005), there were some common misconceptions mentioned that I believe warrant further discussion. In the Students for Choice letter, the writers spoke of casualties beginning after the Hyde Amendment, while casualties actually began after the passing of Roe v. Wade.

An unborn fetus is not a potential person; it is a person. The child has separate DNA from the mother, and in half of cases, even has a different gender. How is this not a person? The writers’ proposed solution to preventing cases like that of Rosie Jimenez is to provide “safe” abortions using taxpayer funds. Safe for whom? The death of innocent children would only be facilitated by such funding. Besides, forcing every citizen to chip in for someone else’s preferred form of birth control is an atrocious idea in itself. The writers state in the subsequent paragraph that “our focus is in the wrong place” and then go on to re-assert the need for medical insurance-funded abortions. Our focus must be in the wrong place if our concern is with finding an “affordable manner” for an unnecessary and dangerous procedure instead of stopping the fatal practice.

In Malivuk’s letter, he seems to make the claim that the death of a fetus is more acceptable due to its quick method. Were I to be murdered, my reluctance would not abate with the quickness of the procedure. Malivuk also writes that “For many pregnant women, (abortion) is the only available option.” That is simply not true. Adoption and — I go out on a limb — raising one’s own offspring are wonderful, safe and rewarding choices.

The old argument of concern for the well being of the child is outrageous. There exist waiting lists of thousands of people waiting to go overseas to adopt a child because there are not enough here. Our campus leaders, regardless of ideological disposition, should be capable of much more logical arguments for their case than those they presented in the Daily.

Gideon D’Assandro

LSA freshman


Affirmative action contrary to the ideal of a meritocratic society

To the Daily:

I’ve read many articles defending affirmative action from its opponents, but I’ve never read one as vitriolic as Jasmine Clair’s recent column (Reforming the American Dream … I mean lie, 01/11/2005). In her piece, Clair appears to have no interest in espousing any possible virtues of affirmative action. Rather, she seems only to be interested in depicting those who disagree with her as selfish exploiters who seem to rob the American proletariat of its meager earnings and put it into social and economic slavery.

But once one looks past Clair’s anger, a simple principle emerges; the principle that people should not be treated as individuals, but as just one small part of a larger race or social class. What she seeks is not a society where all men are created equal, but one where the haves are sacrificed for the have-nots. So what if a white or Asian person is more than qualified to get into the University? That individual’s achievements shouldn’t matter because these races are already over represented. The ultimate outcome of decisions such as these is that achievement takes a back seat to uncontrollable factors such as race and economic background when determining qualifications for admittance. So much for the idea of the American Dream.

With Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday next week, we should remember the most important American principle, a principle that King articulated better than anyone: that men should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Denying qualified students admission to the University in favor of a lesser-qualified minority fails to treat all human beings as equals. This practice should be repudiated both by the University and society as a whole.

Brett Meyer

LSA sophomore


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