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 — 5/7/02

Opinion editor Kristin Wieben claims my uncompromising opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is “narrow-minded” (?UW can do better,? May 6, 200). This implies for me to be “open-minded” I should consider not opposing the occupation, meaning I should consider the idea that Palestinians have no right to the land that was left for them when Israel was created on 50 percent of Palestine in 1947.

The occupation and the increasing presence of “settlements” (read: colonies) are a state-sponsored colonial project to completely expel Palestinians from their land. Suggesting I not oppose the occupation is suggesting I consider Palestinians should be ethnically cleansed. Such a suggestion is absurd.

If in order for me to be “open-minded” Wieben wants me to consider that Palestinians have no right to their homes, it is only fair for her to ask Israelis to be “open-minded” and consider that they have no right to their homes. Such a suggestion is also absurd.

Israelis are now indigenous to the Middle East. It is their home too. The problem is their continued attempt to make more of it their home, and keep the Palestinians out.

To frame the debate in such a way where both sides are being asked to consider their own annihilation in order to be “open-minded” is just asinine. I agree we should be able to do more than our crazy leaders, but she clearly doesn’t know much when it comes to the Middle Eastern conflict. If it were really so simple as being open-minded and compromising, a solution would have been found long ago.

This is not to undermine the importance of open-mindedness and compromise, both of which are essential for a just peace. This is only to point out that a discussion of compromise without addressing realities on the ground, especially the enormous power difference between the two parties, is an unproductive waste of time (and with people dying daily, we can’t waste time).

A just peace means equality for both the Israelis and for the Palestinians, who are still waiting for their rights after 54 years of oppression.

Sarah Kaiksow
UW senior

This letter is in regards to See Vang’s article claiming investigation into the more “shady” aspects of General Vang Pao is an attack on the Hmong people (?Hmong general a hero for his people,? May 3, 2002). Her claim places the pride and identity of the entire Hmong people on one individual. As a Hmong person, I say it is wrong to allow one person to represent what a whole culture stands for. Just as the American culture should not be characterized by the actions of Christopher Columbus or George Washington alone, General Vang Pao should not be promoted as the epitome of Hmong culture. What unethical activities he was supposedly involved in should not reflect on the whole culture, but only on the man himself. I am not denying the general’s importance in history, but I would not want him, or any other individual, to represent Hmong culture. Our culture has more dimensions than that.

Lee Yang
UW grad student

In Kristin Wieben’s Monday column entitled, “UW can do better,” my quotes were used, and twisted to fit her agenda. I was also offended that Wieben dubbed me and another reader as having ?extremists attitudes.? I did not find the statement made by either myself or the other reader ? a Palestinian sympathizer ? to represent extreme attitudes at all. A strong opinion, yes, but not illegitimate. Nor do I consider myself to be ?narrow-minded? or only interested in ?self-victimization.? I am an Israeli, you are correct in saying this, but I am against the building of settlements, against the occupation and for a Palestinian state. Extremist? I think not.

Yifaa Shalev
UW freshman

The School of Social Work wants to respond to the claim in Monday’s paper we are not committed to the objectives of Plan 2008 (?Schools Defend Diversity Accusations,? May 6, 2002). Because our recruitment and retention of students of color consistently runs about double the rates for the university as a whole, and because two of our last three faculty hires have been scholars of color, we are sometimes cited as an example of successful efforts to promote diversity on campus. However, we are not content with our success to date and welcome all the help we can get with our continued diversity goals ? from the “Diversity Vigilantes” or from anyone else. Please contact us directly.

Dan Meyer
Professor and Director, School of Social Work

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