Israelis, Palestinians should not take “cheap shots”

To the Daily:

Every morning, I look forward to what seemingly has become a hostile debate between Palestinians and Zionists on campus. Often, both sides feel that their “point” must be expressed in harsh and cruel terms. Some responses have even been submitted embarassingly late, just to compose a perfect refutation to the argument that preceded it Wael Hakmeh”s viewpoint praising Hamas terrorism (“Discussing diplomatic hypocrisy hypocritically,” 10/22/01) was in response to an viewpoint almost a month old.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised to read Paul Saba and As”ad Tarsin”s viewpoint that openly denounced terrorism (“Discrimination in the 21st Century,” 11/08/01). If only Yaasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority could be as kind and open in their views regarding terrorism, maybe these debates would be unnecessary.

The message that should be learned from their viewpoint, however, is clear: While freedom of speech is a precious privilege, the concept of pluralism is even dearer to us in America. We must acknowledge the practice of every religion in a kind and appropriate manner, and not denounce others in public forum.

What cannot be acceptable, however, are the parting shots and unfair generalizations that both Hakmeh and Saba/Tarsin make. These cheap shots do nothing to further the otherwise scholarly evidence presented in their materials.

A proposal to those who participate in this forum we call free speech in the Daily: Keep the personalized arguments private. We would fare much better without them.

Brad Sugar

LSA freshman

Islam “obviously” does not prohibit war during Ramadan

To the Daily:

Waj Syed”s opinion piece (“Sensitive insensitivity,” 11/7/01) fails to show why bombing Afghanistan during Ramadan is wrong or “insensitive” towards the religion/culture of Islam. He calls the argument “ludicrous” that if, “Muslims have fought each other in Ramadan before,” then our continued campaign in Afghanistan is justified during the holy month of Islam. I fail to see why this argument is “ludicrous.”

If Muslim states have fought each other (or attack non-Muslim states for that matter) during Ramadan, then obviously Islam has nothing against warfare during this holy month, and the campaign continuing during Ramadan is not disregarding the religion/culture of Islam. To hold the US to one standard while Muslims do not is clearly hypocritical. I fail to understand Syed”s logic.

The U.S., or Donald Rumsfeld for that matter, are not ethnocentric or insensitive. Rather, Syed and fellow extreme leftists like himself are anti-American and unclear in their thinking. But no one should be surprised by this, since the Daily op-ed Section has become indistinguishable from the Maoist publication MIM Notes.

Frank Giancola

LSA senior

Yesterday”s front page evoked “moment of insight”

To the Daily:

I want to commend photographer Jonathan Triest and the Daily staff for the excellent front page photo yesterday. Normally I find the photos on the front page fairly bland and pragmatic, but the beautiful shot of the sculpture on North Campus really caught my eye. It made me stop and think about how many times I take for granted some of the amazing art and architecture we have on this campus, and how we should all stop to appreciate it more often. Thanks for the moment of insight.

Amanda Atherton

LSA senior

GSIs integral to University learning experience

To the Daily:

In a recent letter (“When has GEO ever cared about students?” (11/02/01), alumnus David Taub proposed that graduate student instructors do not contribute to undergraduate education and the University community as a whole. Such assertions are problematic on numerous levels.

First, global networks are expanding to profoundly shape the world in which we live and work. It is ludicrous to propose that this globalization would not affect the classroom as well. It is disheartening to see members of the community at a top educational institution such as the University epitomizes American arrogance and isolationism.

Second, it is an undeniable fact that in a university of 40,000, there is not and will never be an adequate number of professors on staff to instruct all courses. Taub claims nothing to be lost in canceling discussion sections, in which case he was not engaging in true learning or intellectual development. There does not exist a student capable of fully exploring all concepts that are briefly, and often superficially, addressed in lecture. GSI led discussion sections serve as the first step in enabling students to digest and explore concepts, which would otherwise be forgotten with the rushed scrawl on any given page of lecture notes. Lastly, the University community is meant to engender academic development. In a community consisting of nearly half graduate students, it is ignorant to claim that graduate students do not make daily contributions to intellectual and personal development.

Certainly, University students must be guaranteed the presence of the most qualified instructor in ever classroom. However, claims tantamount to University students being shortchanged by virtue of GSI presence in the classroom demonstrate extreme degrees of arrogance and shallowness.

Rachel Tronstein

LSA junior

The letter writer is the president of the LSA Student Government.

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