Archive for September, 2002

The Gold Standard

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Matt Goldberg

As baseball heads into the last weekend of the regular season, there is something very curious, even striking, about the standings.
No, it is not the fact that four teams have lower winning percentages than Alex Rodriguez’s on base percentage (.391). Nor is it the fact that both teams slated for contraction (the Twins and the Expos) have winning records.
Instead, it is the reality that all of the west coast teams, in both leagues, (with the exception of my San Diego Padres) are in the thick of the playoff chase.
Currently, the Oakland Athletics, Anaheim Angels, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks (okay Phoenix isn’t on the coast but it is in the same time zone for baseball season), Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants all still have hopes of playing in October. While only four of these west coast dwellers (and possibly fewer) will advance to the playoffs, the mere fact that there are so many good teams in the land of surfer dudes, non-stop caf‚ latt‚s, and lovable overgrown mice should serve as evidence that when it comes to sports, the West Coast is for real.
I understand that many from the eastern establishment, especially Yankee fans, may have a hard time giving these teams the credit they deserve. In fact, I appreciate that people east of the Mississippi have a bona fide resentment for everything that being from the west coast is all about (sun, sand, and waves). I wish for once people would recognize, without qualification, that these teams have game. While the time difference between the coasts precludes many from seeing action live, that is not enough of an excuse. In fact, this phenomenon of West Coast teams dominating the sports landscape is nothing new.
West Coast teams have been winning championships at the college level since Warren G. Harding was president. That’s right, California (i.e. UC-Berkeley) captured a share of the NCAA football championship four consecutive times from 1920-1923. Furthermore, Oregon captured the first NCAA basketball championship in 1939.
While pro sports did not migrate west until the mid-1950s (when the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for Los Angeles), many top flight baseball players started on the left coast. Look at Joe DiMaggio who grew up in San Francisco, or Ted Williams who played his high school ball in San Diego, or even Jackie Robinson who starred

Bears hoping to achieve “special” effort against Engineers

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Pankaj Chhabra
Annabelle de St. Maurice

After a series of special teams miscues in last week’s 31-24 overtime loss to Illinois Wesleyan, the Washington University football team will look to rebound with a strong effort Saturday against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Engineers.

Illinois Wesleyan pressured the Bears’ kicking units relentlessly, blocking a punt, as well as a missed field goal and extra point. However, sophomore place-kicker Ben Lambert believes that the problems can be remedied.

“The field was wet, which made it difficult to kick field goals,” explained Lambert, who also missed a 24-yarder in the third quarter. “But I definitely place the blame for the blocked kicks on me. Basically, the kicks weren’t high enough to get past the line of scrimmage.”

Despite his poor showing against Illinois, Lambert has converted five of his seven field goal opportunities this season. His previous success has helped him maintain a high level of confidence throughout the week.

“I can’t worry about those missed kicks, because the most important kick is always the next one,” said Lambert. “If you worry too much, you might miss again, and then you’re really in trouble. It doesn’t matter if I make a 50 yard kick or miss a 20 yarder; I always try to concentrate on my next attempt.”

Meanwhile, pressure has been on sophomore punter Richard Worth to get his kicks off in time. He has had two kicks blocked in just three games this season, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

“We need more protection,” Worth said. “The blockers don’t have their assignments down perfect yet. On both blocked punts, somebody missed their assignments. We worked together as a punting unit seven minutes each practice, and we had a really good week. I think we’ll start to pick it up from now on.”

In previous years, head coach Larry Kindbom has made sound special teams play a hallmark of WU football. This season, since the first practice, he sensed that the unit would be a work in progress.

“Our special teams are loaded with guys that can play,” Kindbom said. “Every one of those guys plays hard and comes to practice, but we just haven’t developed chemistry like we have the last few years. We have an inexperienced team, though, and sometimes inexperienced kids have to go through some growing pains.”

The Bears will get a chance to see how much the kicking game has progressed against Rose-Hulman, who lost resoundingly last weekend to Wheaton College 49-0. Wheaton gained 551 total yards against the porous Engineers’ defense.

“On defense we have to be able to stop the run and make them one-dimensional,” said Kindbom. “Obviously we have to clean things up on special teams. Offensively, I like our chances because of the way our passing game is going. We have some young guys who are really playing well.”

One such young gun is freshman quarterback Nathan Szep, who had a breakout game last weekend, going 29 of 50 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Brad Duesing, also a freshman, proved to be Szep’s favorite target, catching nine balls for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Kindbom sees Szep’s rapid development as a function of the entire offense’s aptitude in the passing game.

“The offense as a whole has come together and played well,” said Kindbom. “Duesing and Jeff Buening have made things easier on Nathan by running nice routes. When the offensive line gives us protection, we feel that any of our quarterbacks can deliver the ball well. I’d like to see even more improvement this weekend.”

WU athletes earn UAA honors

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Nick Sreshta
Annabelle de St. Maurice

This past week, three Washington University athletes were named among the University Athletic Association (UAA) Athletes of the Week.

Junior cross country team member Matt Hoelle, sophomore football player John Wook, and junior volleyball player Katie Quinn all earned the top honors with fantastic individual efforts.

Hoelle was the top individual finisher for the 17th-ranked Bears, who placed seventh out of18 teams at the St. Olaf College Invitational. Hoelle placed eighth out of 232 runners with a time of 25:56.

Wook, a defensive back, recorded eight tackles, including five solo stops, and added aninterception on his own two-yard line to stop an Illinois Wesleyan University scoring drive in a 31-24 overtime loss to the Titans.

Quinn helped the top-ranked and defending UAA champion Bears to a 3-0 record during the first half of Association Round Robin play at Emory University.

She also posted a .656 hitting percentage in the three matches with 23 kills in 32 attempts with two errors. In the opening match against the University of Chicago, Quinn hit .909 with 10 kills and no errors in 11 attempts. For the season, she leads the team with 142 kills and is second with a .333 hitting percentage

While men’s cross country and the football team attempt to find that magical formula, Quinn’s efforts are one of the most important reasons as to why the volleyball team is ranked number one, and has won 22 games in a row.

UAA Athletes of the Week are selected from nominees submitted by coaches and sports information directors from across the Division III Association. UAA Athletes of the Week are selected in each sport in which the UAA sponsors competition. They are selected on the basis of their individual performances and contributions to team efforts during the past week in both Association and non-Association competition.

Freshmen looking to excel

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Lesley McCullough

The Washington University men’s tennis team is coming off an outstanding spring season, with hopes that this year things will only continue to improve.

Last year, the Bears finished with a 12-6 record, including impressive wins over several nationally ranked teams during the regular season, such as #5 Trinity and #25 Southwest Baptist University. In addition, they qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third consecutive year. In the first round of the championship tournament, WU upset the #16 seed, DePauw University, before falling to #7 Kalamazoo in the second round. At the conclusion of the season, the Bears found themselves ranked third in the central region, and ninth in the nation overall.

Based on their performance in the first warm-up event of the fall season, the team is off to a good start and has picked up right where they left off. This past weekend, under the direction of second-year men’s head coach Roger Follmer and women’s head coach Lynn Imergoot, the Bears hosted the 1st Annual WU Tennis Invitational at the Tao Tennis Center and Forest Park tennis courts.

Players from Graceland University (Iowa), Principia College (Illinois), and Kenyon College (Ohio) participated in both singles and doubles competition. The tournament was divided into four singles and two doubles pools for both the men and women.

WU dominated the men’s competition, finishing an impressive first or second, in each of the six brackets, except one. This meant that several WU teammates faced each other in the finals, including a close 9-7 showdown between the returning doubles team of senior co-captain Max Schlather and sophomore Shaul Yecheskel versus the freshmen duo, Ari Rosenthal and Neil Kenner. “Every one of us played well. We knew we were the best team out there and we proved it,” said Schlather.

One weakness of last year’s team was a lack of depth at the doubles positions. However, based on the results from the weekend, it is apparent that the new freshmen are having an immediate and positive impact on the team.

“We have a great recruiting class. The freshmen are very talented – if they work hard, the future of this program looks really good,” said senior David Genovese.

Spectator and fan of the tennis team, junior Ann Gilpin added, “I think the freshmen are fantastic. I went over to watch some of the matches on Saturday morning at Forest Park, and I was so impressed, with Neil especially, that I stayed for the rest of his matches.”

This past summer, even before his college career at WU began, Kenner played in several Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) summer circuit tournaments, winning one and beating several NCAA Division-I players along the way.

“All the freshmen have been working very hard, but Neil can probably be competitive with anyone in the nation, and as a freshman, that’s pretty good,” said senior co-captain Michael Thompson.

This upcoming weekend, that skill and talent will be put to the test when Kenner and three other members of the WU team, including Schlather, Yecheskel, and Rosenthal travel to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana for the annual Omni Hotels ITA Regional Championship.

Last year, the Bears top ranked player, then-freshman Brian Alvo, amazed everyone by upsetting one ranked player after another en-route to the central region championship title, becoming the first ever WU men’s player to accomplish that feat.

Now a sophomore and studying abroad in Spain this semester, Alvo’s presence will be missed, but as Genovese explained, “Of course we wish he were here, but he will be back in the spring when it counts, and that’s all that matters.”

Thus, in the meantime, it will be up to Schlather, Yecheskel, Kenner and Rosenthal to attempt at dupliating Alvo’s success. The four enter the tournament ranked in both singles and doubles. Schlather, Yecheskel and Kenner are ranked #6, #7, and #10 in the region in singles, respectively. In doubles, Schlather and Yecheskel are #2 while Kenner and Rosenthal are not too far behind at #4. Using last weekend’s matches as a warm-up, the Bears are hoping to return to St. Louis with a repeat championship title, in both singles and doubles.

“Coming in, I really didn’t know what to expect, but this is a great group of guys with a lot of talent,” said Kenner. “Coach Follmer really knows what he is doing and we all really respect him. If we continue to play hard and compete hard, good things will happen.”

Gore regains respect

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Jesse Krohn

The 1998 film Bulworth told the story of a Democratic Senator who, disgusted with the cheating and money-grubbing of politics, takes out a hit on his own life. Knowing that his death is fast approaching, Senator Bulworth uses his last days to speak out against the corruption he has witnessed, and to publicly return to the leftist political ideals he espoused in his youth.

I’ve actually never seen the movie Bulworth. It looked cheesy, implausible and preachy-a total waste of $8. Little did I know back in 1998 that I would see the Bulworth story come to life in the case of former Vice President Al Gore.

Unlike the other 2004 presidential hopefuls, Gore this week publicly attacked President George W. Bush’s foreign policy concerning Iraq and the War on Terrorism. This move, while most likely rendering him “too dangerous” for presidential candidacy in 2004, will certainly win back the approval of liberal voters.

In the 2000 presidential election, Gore was lambasted for the same offenses as Senator Bulworth. Linked to the scandal-ridden Clinton administration, he was accused of being corrupt and dishonest and bragging about accomplishments that were not his, such as his infamous claim to be the inventor of the Internet. Lastly, Gore was accused of being a sell-out for abandoning his more liberal ideals in order to snatch swing voters from Bush. Gore was accused of all these things, and-recounts, popular vote wins, and Supreme Court rulings aside-he lost.

I hated that Al Gore. Everyone did! He was evasive, double-speaking and terrified to take a permanent, distinctive stand on any issue lest his polls drop half a point. But Al Gore is back, and he’s breathing fire Bulworth-style.

After the debacle of Election 2000, Gore stayed in seclusion for almost two years, teaching the occasional economics class, eating Krispy Kremes, and refusing to shave. He must have been furious, losing an election he could have won if he had simply quit the political posturing and been himself.furious enough to take out a hit on himself.

Well, not that kind of hit. While Gore may not actually have arranged his own death, he has willingly committed political suicide, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Left-wing voters have been frustrated of late because the United States attack on Iraq is becoming more and more likely. Even though an increasingly large percentage of voters are against a preemptive strike, their voices have fallen on deaf ears. The right is solidly behind Bush, and the left is too nervous to oppose him.

This week Gore proved that he’s not afraid. In a speech delivered to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on Monday, Gore boldly criticized Bush’s policy initiatives, insisting that taking military action against Saddam Hussein would only hinder the success of the War on Terrorism by portraying the United States in a poor light worldwide.

While Gore admits that Saddam Hussein “does pose a serious threat,” he urges the Bush administration to assemble an international coalition before instituting a military strike, just as George Bush, Sr., did before the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Gore is no stranger to the matter; he was one of the few Democratic Senators who voted to authorize Bush, Sr., to wage war in Iraq in 1991, and he still maintains that war against Hussein is justified. Gore, however, warns against taking military action without strong international support, which at this point the United States simply does not have.

Traditional United States allies, such as Great Britain, will not fail to support American military endeavors. But so far, the only country that has actually voiced its approval of a preemptive strike against Iraq is Israel, which is bogged down with obvious problems of its own and enjoys only tenuous worldwide support. Gore notes that acting without international support will shatter whatever post-September 11 leeway the United States has left.

In addition, Gore was gutsy enough to suggest that the Bush administration’s sudden focus on Iraq is part of a strategy for the upcoming elections. War would give Republicans a strong principle with which to identify themselves. It would also distract voters from the defunct hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda terrorists.

These views certainly will not win Al Gore any friends on either side, but his pure courage in expressing them has won him back my respect. The new Al Gore is aggressive, opinionated and outspoken, and he has brought to life the kind of “honest politician” figure previously seen only in the movies.

Made-up advice letters

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Julia Kreyskop

So many people on campus seem bewildered and angry that I feel it is time to set some minds at ease. Only reason can achieve that. Here is my attempt to heal, soothe, and lighten the burdens of the uninformed.

Dear Julia,

I requested that Olin Library send a book to another library on campus so that I could pick it up. I would have just gotten it at Olin, but I couldn’t find the book, even after taking into account the fact that the old level two is now level 3AQ277. Anyway, I received an e-mail saying the book had arrived, so I went to pick it up, but the book wasn’t there. I was told that the e-mail just probably meant that the book was in transit, but would it not make sense for the e-mail to just say so?

-Hungry for Literature

Dear Hungry:

An important part of being an adult is learning that some people are incompetent imbeciles. Washington University is simply trying to enlighten you to the ways of the world. You should be grateful, not annoyed, that you have wasted your time.

Dear Julia,

I bought some used textbooks at the bookstore and found they incorrectly charged me the price of the new books. I went back to the store to get my money. They said this sort of thing happens all the time. Why don’t they warn us that this could happen?

-Katie, Class of 2006

Dear Freshman:

You silly little goose. The WU bookstore is trying to steal your money by relying on the off-chance that you’re an unobservant quack. You should thank the store for teaching you the value of being observant, not be angered by what seems like unethical and deceptive behavior. It’s all for your benefit, my dear.

Dear Julia,

I spend a long time looking for parking on campus. (I have a yellow parking pass.) I often see many free red spaces. Why don’t people with red permits park in them?

-Wasting Gas on Forsyth

Dear Gas Guzzler:

Perhaps the WU parking facility does not sell all of the red permits each year, in which case it would probably make sense to convert those spaces into a color that sells. However, I assume that you see red empty spaces because red permit holders are also allowed to park in yellow, brown, and green zones. Don’t worry though; you can increase your chances of finding a parking space because as a holder of a yellow permit you can also park in a green zone. Though actually, all of those permits have been totally sold out, so I doubt you’ll be finding a free green space anytime soon. Have you ever considered getting a bike?

Dear Julia,

I have a problem. One of my classes is held in Small Group Housing. It takes me about 15 minutes to get there from the Brookings side of the campus. I just don’t understand why this class is held so far, far away?

-Tired and Confused

Dear Tired:

Cheer up! The reason that you are made to walk in 92-degree weather with a heavy book bag to one of the furthermost points on campus is the popularity of WU. The university has become so popular that there are absolutely, positively no free classrooms in which to hold your class except in a god-forsaken building very far away.

Next time in Dear Julia: “Obviously Unenlightened” wonders whether it’s proper to lose all respect for professors who tell her they grade her papers while they are high.

Online file sharing eases college loneliness

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Brian Schroeder

Before I came to Washington University, I considered myself to be a fairly attractive, desirable young man. Unfortunately, the past year seems to have proven me wrong.

My dry spell rivals that of the Sahara Desert, and the odds in Vegas of me finding female companionship before the Winter Break are worse than the odds my hometown heroes, the Kansas City Chiefs, have of winning the Super Bowl. Even I wouldn’t bet on myself. But I digress. John Donne once said that “No man is an island, entire of itself,” and this line holds true even to the most romantically challenged.

The marvels of modern technology, however, have helped me obtain some relief, as small as it may be. I’m sure almost everyone reading my rant is familiar with Napster and its many variants. You have probably used it to share music and ripped copies of DVDs. Fortunately for you, you’ve never been forced by loneliness and desperation to seek a digital alternative to human companionship.

I have spent many a lonely Friday night swapping “adult” material with the other desperate members of a club of which no one wishes to be a member. Jenna Jameson, my goddess, was suddenly available to me, thanks to WU’s high-speed Internet connection and programs such as Direct Connect and Bearshare. An entire new world had opened up. For once, I was no longer alone on the weekends. While all of you beautiful people were throwing parties on the Row and hooking up, I held my own private parties in the relative comfort of my own room (apologies are due to my roommate, Steve). Much like guys and girls go on the prowl every weekend for someone new, I too enjoyed some variety in my female companionship. Even Jenna Jameson, the queen of the adult cinema, doesn’t always do it for me. After all, variety is the spice of life. I was able to share with my ill-fated brethren many different movies and other “visual aids” and life was good.

But not for long.

In August, when I moved back in, I no longer had the empty feeling in the bottom of my stomach that used to accompany me as I attempted to socially integrate myself with the beautiful people that look down upon me. I knew that I would be able to find companionship in the form of the digital code that brought me my “adult” material. So you can imagine the shock and look of horror upon my face when I discovered what so many people already knew: the goons at ResTech had taken it upon themselves to effectively prevent anyone from making use of the “Peer to Peer” (p2p) file transfer protocol. I cried myself to sleep that night, all alone.

They claim my downloading of companionship and a musical score to accompany my own private parties consumed too much bandwidth and prevented on-campus users from using the Internet. This argument doesn’t hold water. I can’t imagine that there is a huge line in the computer labs for live video-conferencing at 2 a.m., when I want to download erotic material. As empty as that might sound to those of you who have the “mojo” and can experience this in real life, it remains something real to me.

During the day, when the on-campus bandwidth usage is at its peak, no one is in the dorms downloading music, movies, etc., and, therefore, people on-campus should have all of the bandwidth that they want. During the night, when the students return to their dorms and begin to share files, no one is on campus to complain that their Internet connection is too slow. They also need to remember that not all file sharing is illegal. Many indie music groups rely solely on p2p sharing to get their music out.

This egregious violation of our freedom of speech is an outrage, and I suggest that you do something about it. Complain to your RA. E-mail ResTech and complain. We pay for the ability to access the Internet and we should not have arbitrary restrictions placed upon our ability to use what we have purchased. We have just as much right to the bandwidth as these fictitious on-campus users who need so much of it at 2 a.m. on a Friday night. I’m sure we can all reach a compromise. Perhaps something like a time window when p2p file sharing won’t be restricted-maybe during the weekends or after a certain time of day, when on-campus usage is minimal. Besides, winter is quickly approaching, and I hate to be alone during the holidays

Part II: We live in dangerous times

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Henry W. Berger

Editor’s note: this is the second part of Professor Berger’s analysis of the potential conflict in Iraq. The first part appeared Tuesday and is available on

The appropriate analogy of a possible unilateral, pre-emptive military assault against Iraq is not really Vietnam but rather the 1989 invasion of Panama, launched by George W. Bush’s father.

The strategic objective then was also a regime change: the kidnapping of Panama’s dictator, General Manuel Noriega. Like Saddam, Noriega was once upon a time an American ally and a recipient of U.S. military aid. At the time, then-President George H. W. Bush did not bother to consult Congress or the United Nations and declared that he had ordered the invasion to defend the Panama Canal, protect U.S. citizens, and to interrupt the lucrative drug trade traveling north via Panama. Bush the Elder blamed Noriega for failing to carry out these responsibilities. No one ever found Bush’s reasons convincing. Obsessed with Noriega, Bush believed the Panamanian leader had betrayed his trust when Bush was vice president and Noriega was a CIA informant assisting the Reagan Administration’s covert war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua during the 1980s. By 1989 Noriega, himself enriched by drug profits, had become increasingly resistant to U.S. control and was making unacceptable demands concerning the conditions under which the Panama Canal Zone was to return to Panamanian sovereignty under the terms of a 1978 treaty.

In short, Noriega was defying U.S. interests and power-threatening what Bush had announced was a new world order presided over by the United States in the post Cold War era. In the judgment of the current administration, Saddam Hussein is doing the same. He makes mischief in a region that, since the end of the Cold War, has increasingly become the center stage of American foreign policy concerns and where the strategic, economic, and political stakes are very high indeed. Perceived United States interests, especially access to oil, and premises about the world, unchanged since the Vietnam War, are at the heart of the matter.

If Vietnam “fell” to communism, it was argued, all of Southeast Asia would be imperiled and its millions of people, critical raw materials, and markets would be at risk. America’s global reach would be severely compromised. Such beliefs became convictions elevated to ideological assertions, laced with phrases like “our dominoes,” “our credibility” and the equation of American freedom with American global designs to ensure the nation’s survival.

Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated the continuity of unilateral United States foreign policy in 2002. True to American cultural form, the Vice President personalized the object of a proposed strike against Iraq as Saddam Hussein, “a sworn enemy of our country.” Cheney accused the Iraqi leader of developing weapons of mass destruction, including but not confined to nuclear arms. Seeking to justify U.S. action, the vice president presumed to predict Saddam’s intentions: “Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror and a seat atop 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world’s energy supplies, directly threaten America’s friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.”

In theory, of course, the same could be said of Iran and of North Korea in Asia-and might yet be. Even so, neither the President nor any of his advisors has said exactly how the proposed regime change in Iraq would be carried out, who would replace Saddam Hussein, and how the United States intends to win the support of the Iraqi population which, it is somehow assumed, will welcome the American invaders with open arms. Nor do we know how long U.S. forces would remain in Iraq or who would pay for the war. The last Gulf War was mostly financed by Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait-but they won’t pay this time. And it’s unclear how the United States intends to “manage” other parties interested in Iraq’s future: Turkey (which has tanks and men in northern Iraq), Syria, Iran, Russia, and the Kurds, among others. Finally, we don’t know who will control Iraq’s oil reserves in the future.

These are major issues. Unfortunately, American foreign policymakers have been long on global hubris, grandiose strategies, and insistent unilateral purposes in the past. They have been noticeably short on thinking through the consequences of their actions or acknowledging the folly of their ideological obsessions. Such an approach got America into serious trouble in Southeast Asia with tragic consequences. It threatens to do so in the Middle East, which, unlike Panama, has never been “manageable,” compliant, or willing to submit to imposed agendas by the United States.

We live in dangerous times.

Friendly fire

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Alex Fak

It is miraculous to observe the ease with which some people go about undermining their own cause.

Hundreds of scholars at universities in Europe and the U.S. have signed two petitions this spring calling for boycott of academic and research links with Israel until that country’s “violent repression against the Palestinian people” stops. The petitions, which can be found at, have of course generated counter-petitions, mostly American in origin ( Meanwhile, in Boston, a coalition of students and faculty members at Harvard and MIT tried to persuade the universities to divest any endowment funds invested in companies that do business in Israel. Then this summer, a British editor, Mona Baker, fired two Israelis from the advisory and editorial boards of two prestigious journals in translation studies. She said that she is boycotting them as representatives of Israeli academic institutions.

This sort of rudeness has paved the way for some majestic grandstanding on the other side. Take Larry Summers, the first Jewish president of Harvard University. Last week, he chose to use his annual address to the university to denounce all these actions as-you guessed it-“anti-Semitism,” in its “effect if not [its] intent.”

Summers’ remarks could be interpreted in this light: he’s still reeling after coming to blows with Cornel West, a popular black professor at Harvard whom he had rightly accused of spending time doing nonsense (like recording a rap album). West got incensed and left for Princeton in a huff. Summers ended up fighting accusations of cultural intolerance. Nothing like denouncing other people’s intolerance to detract attention from himself.

But the Harvard president should have gone easy on the epithets. One need not be an anti-Semite to be concerned over Israel’s actions in Palestine. Its incursions have left hundreds dead and thousands homeless. It has ignored dozens of U.N. resolutions and provokes constant criticism from every respectable human rights group, among them Amnesty International.

In all this, Israel has been driven by an embittered brand of Judaism. This Judaism measures the gravity of any catastrophe by the number of Jewish last names on the list of casualties (and puzzles over ambiguities like Miller or Rose). It has denounced its critics as bigots and the Jewish among them as “self-hating Jews.” As exclusive as an old-time country club, it has become obsessed with eugenics. It frowns upon intermarriage, and has set up youth groups for the purpose, as some students have gleaned, of having young Jews date each other and not goyim (gentiles). And its stubborn insistence on packing as many Jews as possible in precisely the one narrow strip of land where they are least wanted mocks one of Israel’s strongest reasons for existence-to avert a future Holocaust.

And yet

So you can understand the frustration felt by pro-Palestinian academics and students. What else could they possibly do about this besides the “empty talk”? Even discussing the issue on campus could invite some nasty reaction-as Jonathan Sternberg found out last year after he denounced Zionism on the pages of this newspaper. Sternberg claimed to have received hate mail and had to remove his e-mail address and phone number from the WU directory.

Still, diverting money from Israeli projects is a bad idea. Academic sanctions would mostly hurt the doves in Israel. Secular universities are the main supporters of the peace camp there. Israeli academics regularly work on projects with their Palestinian colleagues. Many of them criticize their country’s policies in exactly the same words as do the petitions. Miriam Shlesinger, one of the scholars fired by the British editor, is a former chairman of the Israeli chapter of Amnesty International-the same group that regularly censures Israeli actions. The strong pacifist sentiment in the academia has even endured the recent bombing at Hebrew University. So the calls to boycott Israeli scholarship, even if they don’t alienate the peaceniks, will end up ridiculing them in the eyes of the Israeli public.

As for your enemies…

Those who call for boycott of Israeli companies or products are even more misguided. In Norway, for instance, supermarkets considered marking Israeli goods with a special sticker to make them easier to detect and avoid. Though supermarkets have a right to do this, the customers who refuse to buy the marked products are actually slowing down the resolution of the conflict.

True, Israeli business helps support its military machine. It also gives jobs to people-half of whom then turn around and vote for Ariel Sharon. The boycott, however, would have the effect of making the country poorer. This would in turn make its citizens less averse to war because they would have less to lose from any conflict. Already, it is the wealthier slices of Israeli society that are most in favor of peace. Their houses, stock portfolios, and high-paying jobs all urge the same thing-financial security. The richer ordinary Israelis become, the likelier it is they will vote to end this nagging conflict, just to get on with making a good livelihood. Pro-Palestinian activists should think about helping fatten up both sides, not starve them into bitterness and desperation.

Letters to the Editor

Friday, September 27th, 2002 | Leslie Brooks Suzukamo

People should not be offended by Salman Rushdie

It simply won’t do for Professor Keshvarz to misrepresent Salman Rushdie, free speech, and Muslim countries, as she did in her recent editorial.

She begins it on a particularly specious note, suggesting in the very first sentence that Rushdie’s upcoming campus visit is “viewed as.a security risk by all” and later on assuring us of the “considerable emotional trauma that the Muslim members of the university community will experience [as a result of his visit].”

The claim about security is almost completely untrue and is an issue which tends to get exaggerated. Rushdie has been living an open and public life since around 1996-without incident.

But what Keshvarz means to suggest with her comments is that Rushdie is a particularly nefarious figure who, because of The Satanic Verses, is a walking anti-Muslim insult-“injuring” droves of Muslims as he makes his way around the literary lecture circuit.

If this is indeed true, then it ought to tell you more about the people it offends rather than the writer himself. Keshvarz does right in distancing Rushdie, the author, from the fictional narration in The Satanic Verses. Why then, can’t she hold the Muslims who dislike him to have that same standard? Instead, she rehashes the most notorious sub-plot of the novel, in which early Muslim history is depicted in a rather unflattering way-because of which, “millions of Muslims.are deeply hurt.” Those scenes occur in the dream sequences of a character who is later revealed to be completely insane.

Later, Keshvarz attempts to place the Rushdie affair in the context of the intellectual cultures of Islamic countries, stating that “. [In Muslim countries] free-thinking and critical analysis of human behavior is a degree unknown to the rest of the world.” The reason, I think, that these achievements are unknown is because of arcane institutions, like Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law;” or the illegality of dissent in Saudi Arabia; the theocratic state-machine in Iran; or the madrassah-system in Afghanistan. Free-thought, no doubt, is cherished in these countries-though it seems unlikely that there are many avenues for expressing it in states devoid of secular, democratic institutions.

And though I doubt that the Ayatollah would have had much of a taste for postmodernism, The Satanic Verses might actually have been better received by Muslims if the book had been available in many of their home-countries.

Finally, to those of you who think you’ll feel “hurt” when Rushdie visits, don’t expect to be taken seriously-you don’t deserve it. If, however, you are angered by his recent move to the political Right, or have been disappointed by his last couple of novels (no, they haven’t been very good), then we might talk.

Hasan Siddiqui

Arts & Sciences

Class of 2005

Do not hold victims of sexual assault responsible

As counselors for S.A.R.A.H., WU’s sexual assault hotline, we would like to thank Rishi Rattan for his recent column. We feel that it is important that we also respond to the argument made by Alex Fak regarding sexual assault because, in our opinion, Fak succeeded only in further justifying the need for a group like One in Four on our campus. Most upsetting to our group was the claim that, if a rape occurs while the victim is drunk, the perpetrator should not be considered guilty of a crime. “She is responsible to gauge the environment around her.she has the freedom to choose not to drink. Whatever she chooses, she’s solely responsible: that’s the inconvenient price of freedom” (Alex Fak, Student Life, Sept. 13). There are other inconvenient prices of freedom as well, and all kinds of illegal actions that we can then consider a victim responsible for. Suppose a student was mugged walking back from work one night. He made the choice to be outside after dark; if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have gotten mugged. Doesn’t that make him responsible for the mugging? Of course not, because he was doing nothing wrong by walking home; only the person that mugged him is responsible and should be held accountable. Would it matter to Fak if he had been drunk while he was mugged?

Choosing to get drunk does not excuse rape. However, Fak’s attitude regarding rape is a pervasive one in our society. When someone is mugged, we are outraged and sympathetic towards the victim; we do not ask, “why were you walking alone at night?” or “do you think you might have voluntarily given the perpetrator your wallet, and now regret doing so?” These types of questions and accusations of blame are issues that rape victims constantly have to deal with. They too have been violated and victimized, but our society re-victimizes survivors by blaming them for the crime. This is why many rape victims never choose to come forward. They think that it is their fault, because they agreed to go out with the person, because they had been drinking, etc., We at S.A.R.A.H. want to make this clear-rape, like any other crime, is never the victim’s fault. No one deserves to be raped. To Rishi Rattan and One in Four, we thank you for working to change attitudes regarding rape and helping to remove the stigma surrounding rape victims. It won’t be easy. To survivors, whether the assault happened days, weeks, or years ago, we’re here to listen if you want to talk. Our hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please feel free to call-5-8080. Thank you.

Sexual Assault and Rape

Action Hotline


Editor’s note: While Student Life typically does not accept letters without the name of the author, the importantance of anonymity to S.A.R.A.H.’s role on campus warranted an exception. We have been assured that the views expressed are agreed upon by all members of the group.