Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Letters to the editor — 4/5/02

I am writing about Adam Rust’s comic strip in the April 4 edition of your paper. As a person with a mental illness, I was very hurt and appalled to see such a pathetic attempt at humor by slamming people who have Multiple Personality Disorder and schizophrenia. As a UW-Madison alumna, I have usually been proud of our campus’ tolerance and concern for others. This type of thing does not belong in your paper. I have long admired The Badger Herald as a source of fair, ethical journalism.

Portraying people with illnesses this way makes me feel hurt and devalued. It is hard enough to deal with my type of illness, but it is harder for those who have to deal with more severe problems, such as MPD and schizophrenia.

Everyone needs to work together on our campus to promote understanding and tolerance. I guess Adam Rust has a selective tolerance. I think Adam and the Herald owe an apology to the campus at large for publishing such a hateful piece of trash as this. Everyone, no matter if they have a health problem or not, deserves respect. My formerly high regard for the Herald has now hit rock bottom. I challenge you to print an apology and get someone to write an article examining people who have MPD and schizophrenia. That kind of journalism will help promote understanding of people who have to deal with these challenges and encourage them to understand you. I bet a lot of students on campus have mental illnesses and would appreciate your help instead of your slamming them.

Nancy Helgesen Lyons

Madison resident

I was disturbed to read the front-page article concerning cohabitation (“Study: Cohabitation on the rise”). The article seemed to extol the virtues of this practice, claiming it “should be an advantage” and “you’re finding out about the other person’s flaws before you move onto the next level.” These fallacious statements support the underlying flaws of our society. It has been shown beyond a doubt that couples that cohabitate before marriage have higher levels of divorce than those that maintain separate accommodations. Couples that live together show a lax attitude toward the important institution of marriage. The failure of the family is the single greatest problem of today’s society and should be garnering much more concern than it is. The Badger Herald is contributing to the disintegration of the family by printing a pro-cohabitation article on the front page.

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Matt Holman

UW graduate student.

In his condemnation of “much of the media” for its supposedly morally relative coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Benjamin Thompson (“Absolutely wrong”) portrays himself as a defender of “the very foundation of our civilization.”
I would like to respond to at least some of his claims. As Israeli soldiers using tanks, attack helicopters, guns and F-16 warplanes have invaded the West Bank, Thompson writes the “primary focus” of the military onslaught is “Yasser Arafat’s security compound in Ramallah.” Perhaps this indicates Thompson’s journalistic peripheral vision is a bit weak, since he neglects to mention Israeli soldiers’ house-to-house raids, their blockade against incoming food and medicine, the cutting off of electricity and water, the ongoing curfews and the killing of Palestinian civilians.

Thompson is right, however, to condemn Palestinian suicide bombings for what they obviously are — a form of terrorism. But he is mistaken to portray Israeli army violence, in contrast, as merely “preemptive action to protect the lives of citizens.” It has been well documented that Israeli soldiers in the Occupied Territories regularly make use of indiscriminate violence which has resulted in the death of hundreds of unarmed women and children in the past year and a half alone.

The April issue of Harper’s Magazine presents an interview, written by Israeli journalist Uri Blau, of Israeli soldiers who not only attest to the nature of the Israeli army’s violence but actually say soldiers knowingly shoot at innocent Palestinians. One soldier even says such shooting “relaxes” him, “like meditation.” This too is terrorism, and to not condemn it, as Thompson fails to do, reveals his double standard.

Brendan LaRocque

UW graduate student

Ben Thompson says there is no equivalence between Israeli terror and Palestinian terror. He is right. Israeli terror is part of a systematic genocide that began with the massacres of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian villagers at Dar Yassin and elsewhere, continued with the murderous ethnic cleansing of most of the natives of Palestine, reached a new low with Sharon’s massacre of thousands of defenseless women and children at Sabra and Shatila and is now moving toward ever-greater atrocities.

Sharon’s goal is to establish a state populated only by a Jewish master race, with such inferior races as Arabs expelled or exterminated. To that end, Israeli soldiers and snipers have been shooting Palestinian children for sport for more than 10 years. They repeatedly blast away at houses with tanks and helicopter gunships, using the most modern heavy arms to exterminate a mostly unarmed civilian population. Now they are shooting doctors, nurses, paramedics and ambulance drivers for sport, summarily executing detainees, murdering women from point-blank range with their babies in their arms and basically shooting everything that moves, including Americans.

All this, according to Thompson, isn’t terrorism. Well, he’s right. It isn’t terrorism, it’s genocide, and Israel is about to find itself in the World Court facing genocide charges filed by University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle. It isn’t for nothing that the Israeli Defense Force makes its soldiers study the tactics the Nazis used in the Warsaw ghetto — Sharon’s Israel is becoming the mirror image of Nazi Germany, and Palestine is the new Warsaw ghetto.

Kevin Barrett

UW junior

I am writing in response to Benjamin Thompson’s editorial (“Absolutely Wrong”). Thompson makes the argument that the media must label Palestinians who kill innocent civilians as terrorists and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can entirely be blamed upon the Palestinians, contradicting the very definition of a conflict.

First, as the author must be aware, it is the media’s job is to be objective. Those who see the killing of innocent Israelis as a terrorist activity will see it as such. Those who do not will not. It is not the media’s duty to judge what is freedom fighting and what is terrorism on such an issue which, at the very least, raises the question in many minds. Either way, this does not mean those deaths should be neglected or are tolerated losses in the struggle for freedom. Many on the Palestinian side wish to see the suicide bombings stop. On the contrary, the deaths of innocent Israelis are to be mourned, as are the deaths of innocent Palestinians. However, if the media were to implement Thompson’s idea of referring to terror as “terror” in the Middle East then it would apply to the areas in this conflict that went unmentioned.

For example, instead of “Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,” according to his labeling system, a better title would be “Israeli terrorist leader Ariel Sharon.” After all, in one of his most infamous “terrorist attacks” before he became prime minister, his troops blew up 45 houses and mercilessly killed 69 Palestinian civilians, half of whom were women and children, in the West Bank village of Qibya. Thompson does little to describe the difference between Israeli and Palestinian killing of innocent people besides playing it off as only Israeli defense, which, as any informed observer must know, it is not. This leads me to believe there is no difference. By his logic, the women and children standing on the street past curfew in the West Bank are somehow a threat to the Israeli civilians, and thus their deaths are justifiable and acceptable. If you judge by the numbers alone, Israel is more guilty of terrorism than the Palestinian people, quite contrary to what Thompson portrayed. This is not to say that terrorism should be used by either side, but the sad truth is that it is.

Finally, as for Palestinians taking a nonviolent approach, I would like to remind the author that it goes both ways. Perhaps Israel should reconsider its approach of collectively punishing the Palestinian people by bulldozing their homes, separating families and killing their loved ones. This is most obviously not a one-sided conflict as Thompson naively asserts, and it is not the media’s duty to make it one.

Renee Medved

UW freshman

Banning political speech at the doors of dormitory housing is a barrier to First Amendment free speech and students’ rightful involvement in the political process. The debate about the dorm speech codes should move on to what is best for democratic participation. Despite being over one-fifth of the city, students have gone from electing their own Mayor Soglin and pushing the city agenda to losing the right to a nightlife and being politically marginalized. Candidates can knock on doors everywhere, and the dorm’s heavy-handed speech codes are not helping students impact the decision-making that affects all of us downtown.

Vance Gathing

State-Langdon Neighborhood Association

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