Contrary to Pesick’s claims, global free trade is often harmful to poor nations

To the Daily:

Jason Pesick’s column, Free trade and cowbells (09/17/03) is a shallow National Enquirer-level analysis which deeply dishonors real victims like Lee Kyung Hae, a South Korean farmer who stabbed himself to death Wednesday to protest global trade practices (The Washington Post, 09/11/03) while Pesick was jonesing himself up for the big Notre Dame game. Pesick uses “Red scare” tactics worthy of Ann Coulter, smearing the Cancun activists as being a bunch of “obstructivist commies” or such; but his hysterical, inaccurate article shows that sometimes columnists are even more dangerous than communists.

Malaysia’s trade minister, Rafidah Aziz, has positively noted the anti-subsidy movement so vocal at Cancun, “This has made it clear that developing countries cannot be dictated to by anybody.” And many of the activists support this anti-subsidy agenda, knowing that while globalization can spread wealth, it can also spread inequality, sweatshop labor, predatory “sex tourism,” etc. Pesick can bang his cowbell till the clapper falls off, but all his ignorant cheerleading for go-go-globalization is not going to solve world problems; only thoughtful action and activism can do so.

Or, rephrasing Pesick’s fatuous reverse-Marxist bleat, “Bourgeoisie unite!,” one might say of folk like Pesick, “Columnists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your brains!”

David Boyle

Alum

Divesting from Israel contrary to U.S. policies supporting democracy in Middle East

To the Daily:

In order to assert that divestment from an entity is appropriate, facts must be carefully scrutinized and evaluated without bias. While Mahammed Elghoul may be the vice chair of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, he clearly does not evaluate Israel with equal consideration to other states of the world (Singer, Tamaroff give Israel a pass, ignore its violent policies, 09/15/03). He holds Israel to a double standard.

According to Elghoul’s letter, he believes that links can be made between Israel and apartheid South Africa. Consequently, he rationalizes that divestment from Israel is necessary. Unfortunately, he forgot to analyze a key element: the Israeli government.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. All members of the government, directly or indirectly, represent the Israeli population. Accordingly, eight elected representatives on the Knesset are Arabic.

Withdrawing support for Israel would be inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy. The United States supports the spread of democratic values; reprisal to a secular democratic state such as Israel would be counter-intuitive. Also, if divestment were chosen as appropriate, the next question would be “Whom should the United States support in the region?”

The first thought would be to look at the Palestinian Authority. Justifiably, the United States refuses to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, who hindered former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’s success and continues refusal to give up his dictatorial rule to a more rational leader.

Surrounding Islamic and Arabic states could be plausible, however, strict Islamic code in these states prevents the equality that Israel provides. Israel, more than any other country in the Middle East, replicates American government and values.

Constant fabrications and presumptions are made about the Middle East all the time. However, it is important to maintain an open mind and look for ways to resolve the crisis there. Divestment from Israel will only hurt a fellow democratic state. I support democracy. Ergo, I support Israel.

Stuart Wagner

LSA freshman

A2 council right to ignore disruptive tactics of a small group of individuals

To the Daily:

Rather than discuss the irrationality of the claims made by a handful of Ann Arbor residents during Monday’s City Council meeting, (A2 council sidesteps military resolution, 09/16/03) I feel more compelled to examine the means by which these people chose to present their cause and why the council is to be commended.

It is inaccurate to state that the council “sidestepped” any resolution with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, because no resolution was properly placed in their path. Over the last year or so, a small group of individuals has put on a fortnightly circus for the council, in which they each spend four minutes brandishing a packet of papers, and telling the council to endorse them. Rather than seeking the council’s sponsorship for a resolution in advance, these savvy few have repeatedly ignored a number of recommended procedures, to the extent that Mayor John Hieftje had to issue a reminder to them.

Blaine Coleman and Co. have made a habit out of sacrificing plausibility for indignity. They are perhaps most disreputable for their picketing tactics, which have been both laughable and distasteful. They have appeared in front of my synagogue on a couple of Saturday mornings, bearing signs that instruct prayer-goers to “ask them about their time in Gaza.” Why should I feel compelled to waste my time asking them questions on a Saturday morning – a time set aside for me to make requests to the Almighty to bring peace to the State of Israel. I care not to squander my day of rest asking an oversized posterboard to remove itself from a place of worship.

While I believe their claims to be highly amiss and highly sensationalized, I would still like to offer them the following suggestion: If you are truly interested in being heard, you must take the proper measures – not just the time – to schedule a dialogue or event, at a time that is convenient for – not insulting to – your intended audience. I must admit, though, that your current decorum does a remarkable job of highlighting the true plight of the Palestinian people – counterproductive representation. But I digress.

As a longtime resident of Ann Arbor, I thank the City Council for maintaining proper procedural decorum and practicing the democratic processes that they have been elected to uphold.

Adam Soclof

LSA freshman

For more enlightening view of Paul’s opinions, turn to Fortune Magazine

To the Daily:

In response to Ari Paul’s column, Security for sale, (09/17/03), he and his readers might consider reading Fortune Magazine’s article dated March 17, 2003, which discusses at length the increasing privatization of the military.

His polemics against President Bush’s “liberal” tendencies to reward his friends in the defense contracting industry do little to address the principal thrust of his argument and his column as a whole reveals little more than his absence of knowledge on this topic.

Jonathan Prokup

Law School

‘M’ fans finally show some spirit, crowd antics do not merit Daily’s criticism

To the Daily:

I was reading the Daily’s editorial, Fighting the Irish, (09/17/03) on how Michigan fans treated Notre Dame fans at this past Saturday’s game and was absolutely appalled at the editor’s comments. As Michigan fans we are roundly criticized across the country for not being tough enough or loud enough or even supportive of our athletes.

Now when we finally show some spirit, misguided as it may be, we are criticized by our own paper. No wonder our campus is seen as a place that is not supportive enough of its teams.

Vartivar Sagherian

Alum

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