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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail Bag

    There’s more to consider when responding to Pope’s comments

    Jon Riches is certainly right to express dismay over the death of the Italian nun murdered in Mogadishu and the bombings in London, Bali and Madrid in his article “”Protest the real evil, not 14th century quotations”” (Sept. 21). These are all horrible crimes which have caused great pain and suffering and deserve our abhorrence.

    However, there are a number of points in Riches’s article that deserve conscientious re-examination.

    1. While the pope does not explicitly endorse the Byzantine emperor’s description of Islam as “”evil and inhuman,”” he hardly distances himself from it in his talk. In fact, Benedict refers to the emperor as “”erudite”” and uses his comments to support the point that faith without reason can be dangerous. So the pope may not agree with the “”letter”” of the emperor’s description, but he seems to endorse its “”spirit.”” It is critical that Benedict communicate more diplomatically if he wishes to engage in constructive interfaith dialogue.

    2. I also think it is important for Riches to go beyond the simple assertion that Islam spreads through military conquest. For it is also true that many converts chose Islam because they found it meaningful and religiously satisfying. To stress only one of these factors is to oversimplify a complex process by which Islam spread so quickly into many different cultures in the seventh and eighth centuries.

    3. Like Riches, I too wish Muslim leaders were of one voice in condemning violence against innocent people. Yet it also seems to me that why people express outrage and protest over certain issues and not others can be complicated. In the 1980s, the U.S. was involved in the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama (among other Central American countries). And yet, few Americans expressed outrage publicly about our deeds. Is this because we condoned them? When and how humans express moral protest, then, cannot easily be used as a gauge for their integrity and character.

    Tom Donlan
    history graduate student

    A reflection on Sept. 11 observances

    Now that the 9/11 observances are well behind us, it might behoove us to consider their psychological effect. In a time of strife, such commemorations help to unite and strengthen a worried nation – but that is not what we have seen of late. Instead, they have served only to show the deep divisions between us. What purpose then can be served by constantly afflicting ourselves with relived grief? It is not avarice or ambition, lust or hate, but rather fear that most often motivates wrongful behavior. It causes us to strike out blindly, at times with mad fury, even to the point that we sometimes do violence to ourselves, those we love and the virtues and values we cherish. That fury is evident in Bethany Fourmy’s Sept. 18 letter to the editor. After five years, it has not abated. Many others like her are consumed by fear and anger on a daily basis. The unmitigated shock of that day is still intruding on their thoughts and poisoning their hearts. This day, the 9/11 anniversary, is a special torture for them – but so is every day.

    Understand that I am not advocating forgetfulness, but instead, acceptance. Nor am I saying that we should abandon the war on terror. I mean only that we should face it rationally, so that we do not harm ourselves – or the innocent.

    We need to move beyond this terrible event so that we can grow strong again, because being mired in the past is a mortal danger. America must not embrace martyrdom. A nation cannot be both powerful (and righteous) and, at the same time, wallow in self-pity over past calamities. When a nation expends more energy, more thought, more heart, on the memorializing of tragedy rather than triumph, it begins a slow spiral into decay from which it will never recover – eventually vanishing into the waste bin of history. We all heard bells tolling last week. At the founding of this republic they were bells of liberty – now they are bells of mourning. Unless we do something to snap out of this constant state of haunted victimhood, they may become the death-knell of our beloved country.

    Robert M. Phillips
    mathematics senior

    Air show could make up for noise pollution

    As UA students, I believe we are charged with making our campus a better place for ourselves and those who come after. So what I have here is a simple proposal to turn a major defect into a major benefit. While I am sure we are nothing but thankful for the daily reminders of American air supremacy, manifest in the fly-bys and touch-and-go exercises passing over campus every few minutes, these spectacular embodiments of our tax dollars at work have a fiercely negative side: noise pollution.

    I’m sure no one is to blame for orienting the landing pattern directly across campus, but let’s be honest; not only is the screeching and roaring annoying, it directly inhibits the learning process in many classrooms not yet fitted with triple-pane windows. I have pondered how to solve this issue and come up with such plans as moving Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, moving the UA and outfitting every single aircraft with silencers. None of these seem feasible at the moment, so why not make the best of the situation?

    I propose that the Air Force devote 15 minutes once a week to an airshow above campus at either noon on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, or at 12:15 on Tuesday or Thursday to afford for the greatest number of spectators. This would not only provide UA students with an often much-needed break from the

    intensity of class but would also allow for our pilots to practice their dog-fighting skills, which I am sure they would enjoy personally. Who knows? This could even become a new UA tradition that sets this fine institution apart from the rest, ensuring a multitude of future honors and students.

    Brian McArthur
    junior majoring in Spanish

    UA policy not racist

    I am replying to the onslaught of letters in the Wildcat that decry policies making the UA substantially more Hispanic as being “”racist.”” It is in itself racist – as members of the educated classes in the most privileged segment of society with the most responsible quality of choices – to restrict opportunities to all other segments based on the fact that they are “”breaking the rules”” of entry into university. It is crucially the fact that these rules are broken that is productive in reconstructing the racist society in which we live.

    It is important to recognize that this country is founded upon racism. It was Thomas Jefferson who petulantly wrote in his “”Declaration of Independence”” of the “”merciless Indian savages”” as menacing vermin and blamed England for subjecting the colonists to them. Taken further with the “”manifest destiny”” of the white race to “”march from ocean to ocean,”” as Rep. William Fell Giles of Maryland put it in 1847. Many doctrines of American democracy were constructed to protect and encourage racial superiority, and they continue through today.

    I came from Tucson High Magnet School, where whites are greatly in the minority, yet many of the Advanced Placement classes are filled with white faces. What does this imply about the subtleties of our educational system? Furthermore, student ethnicity regarding entry and completion of graduate studies programs in universities are still predominantly white. I’m not solely degrading our country’s values, our history, our culture, our institutions – merely further recognizing that there are some very serious problems with our society and our institutions that need to be corrected.

    Affirmative political action in university institutions are among direct ways of taking power away from a system that is inherently corrupt and correcting the serious flaws by implementing policies of equality by force. Because let’s not forget that it was the social movements for civil rights of the 1950s and ’60s, and ongoing, that ensured these powers of force to ordinary citizens.

    When racial diversity is fully realized and institutional assimilation no longer functions will be when our culture truly redeems a rightful attainment of what novelist Kurt Vonnegut calls “”original virtue.””

    Gabriel Matthew
    undeclared sophomore

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