War should continue through Ramadan

To the Daily:

I am writing this letter in response to Waj Syed”s column in the Daily entitled “Sensitive insensitivity” (11/07/01).

Apparently, Syed believes that the United States is being insensitive to Muslims in the Middle East, with particular disregard for the holy month of Ramadan. While Syed blithely glosses over this fact in his column, Muslims have repeatedly pursued their own wars during Ramadan throughout history, and have violated other non-Muslim holy periods (e.g. the Yom Kippur War). Is Syed suggesting that Americans be stupid and disregard the Middle East”s own clear duplicity on this matter? The war declared on the United States will be 24/7/365, and the swathe of any religion cannot hide this reality.

It is regrettable that the people of Pakistan have little voice in their government and have become infected with the “Blame America” rhetoric currently pervading the Middle East, but their past/present political realities are not the fault of the West. Would any citizen of the United States ever whine that social and political problems within our borders are the fault of Middle Eastern countries?

The position of the United States is not borne of arrogant insensitivity, but realism: The protection of our homeland through the destruction of the internal and external forces that were responsible for the events of Sept. 11.

Disappointingly, this is a distinction that Mr. Syed either cannot or will not make. The U.S. homeland was breached in grandiose fashion on Sept. 11, in case Syed hadn”t noticed or had forgotten. The past sensitivities of the U.S. toward people who cannot be reasoned with is partly responsible for a lot of dead people in New York City. Syed should replace his operational definition of “insensitivity” with this: Snuffing out the lives of 5,000 people for no good reason, then gloating about it.

Kenneth Longo

The letter writer is a post-doctoral fellow

in the physiology department.

Foreign media not inherently superior to U.S. press

To the Daily:

Waj Syed”s on-going series, “Under the Flak,” goes far to illuminate the increasingly obvious hypocrisy of our media-inflated “war against terrorism” and America”s endless fascination with itself. Syed brings a needed prospective to a dialogue that is long overdue in millennial American life and indeed supplies Daily readers with the most significant copy since the illustrious James Miller.

Nonetheless, Syed cannot both criticize the alarming importance of a media-fed public opinion to Bush administration war-makers while simultaneously using opinion polls and the sound bites of foreign celebrities and journalists to emphasize the potency of his own opposing views. There is no doubt that the boys at CNN and Fox News control, with marionette precision, the steady stream of News McNuggets that whet the American appetite for easily explainable phenomena. However, Al-Jazeera and other journalists and opinion-makers in Islamabad and the rest of the Muslim world share the same economic realities of writing and publishing to an audience.

Unfortunately not even university newspapers are free of this constraint. Passing judgment on one while embracing or explaining away the other is not being intellectually honest and is not a sensible contribution to a rigorous debate on this country”s response to the Sept. 11 tragedy.

John Targowski


The letter writer is a former editorial writer for The Michigan Daily.

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