To the Daily:

RHA president has left assembly reeling

As a president of a council in a residence hall here on campus, I am appalled by the actions of Andrew Eastman, the Residence Hall Association president who is being charged with indecent exposure. Obviously the incident in question is unacceptable for someone who is supposed to uphold the laws of the residence hall, but what is worse is what Eastman has done to the RHA assembly.

Leaders are people who motivate their followers to stand and lead with them, not behind them. After reading many pages of RHA minutes, I have come to understand that the five RHA executive board members who have recently quit did not resign strictly because of this one incident, but because of his lack of interest in what they had to say and what RHA really stands for. In the end, not one of the members who resigned seemed to support Eastman.

The saddest part of this whole fiasco is that Eastman has hardly flinched in light of it all. Shouldn’t a leader feel the least bit remorseful for losing his closest people? If I were to lose my board, my council wouldn’t be able to function. The members of my board lead the organization just as much as I do. An executive board is a team, not a hierarchy.

And what about RHA? Where will the organization go from here? After the outrage about the Michigan Student Assembly, then-president Zack Yost had the decency to step down and save MSA some credibility. Will RHA ever be able to be taken seriously again?

Ali McKenna

LSA sophomore

The letter writer is the co-chair of Couzens Hall Active Multi Ethnic Organization

Letter gets reality of Gaza wrong

In a letter to the editor last week, Hena Ashraf claimed that “Gaza is under siege by Israel” and that the American media is biased in favor of Israel because it does not report the “large-scale humanitarian crisis” in Gaza (Coverage of Gaza vigil shows Daily bias, 01/29/2008). These claims are false and misrepresent the facts on the ground.

On an almost daily basis, Israel permits fuel, food and medicine to enter Gaza. If Israel can be accused of anything, it is putting the lives of Gazans ahead of the lives of its own citizens. Israel permitted trucks carrying essential supplies to enter Gaza even though on at least one occasion according to the Israeli Security Agency there was an attempt to smuggle potassium nitrate, which is used to propel rockets, under the guise of sugar. Also, in countless other instances the border crossings that allow the movement of goods between Israel and Gaza have been shelled by mortars and Qassam rockets.

Credible foreign media outlets like the World Tribune in an article on Jan 3 have documented such abuse of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Over the past few weeks Hamas and other groups have fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian targets. At the same time, Hamas claimed that patients were dying in hospitals due to a lack of electricity and that starving children were on the verge of death due to lack of food, blaming the problems on Israel. Yet some reports on the ground show that food supplies remain adequate, as sources told The Jerusalem Post in article on Jan. 22.

The most recent humanitarian crisis was cynically engineered by Hamas in order to promote hatred of the Israeli people and to rally the support of Gaza’s population behind Hamas. As long as the Hamas government prefers to smuggle rockets and explosives into Gaza to be fired at Israeli citizens instead of investing in the needs of the people, peace will remain a distant dream. Peace can only be achieved through tolerance and sincere humanitarian action. Tactics of blaming the victim merely prolong the conflict.

I hope that the next time anyone claims the media is biased in favor Israel, that person will take a more objective and fair look at the facts on the ground

Ari Siegel

Business junior

The letter writer is an advisor for Israel IDEA

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