Students and professors from several universities crowded Bodek Lounge last Friday for an all-day teach-in on the post-war situation in the Persian Gulf. Edward Herman, a professor in the Annenberg and Wharton Schools, criticized the media for allowing itself to be manipulated by President Bush. "Would the President of the U.S. lie?" Herman said. "The media pretends he wouldn't. The media tends to play easy and dumb." Herman was not alone in his attack on the media. George Gerbner, a former Dean of the Annenberg School and an expert on television, said the media's use of violence is a reflection of the American public's attitudes. "I don't think there's been an era in the history of mankind where there were so many images of violence," Gerbner said. "There's been such an overwhelming amount of these images that they have become almost invisible." Gerbner said that the victory in the Gulf war was seen by many Americans as the "apocalyptic" destruction of Iraq. "There's no way to convey how desensitized we have become to celebrate this event," Gerbner said. This view of the war was shared by many speakers, including History Professor Beshara Doumani. Doumani was among many speakers expressing concern that the end of the war did not signal the end of turmoil in the Middle East. "All the problems in the Middle East that existed before the war continue to exist," Doumani said. "In fact, these problems have only gotten worse." In addition to several University professors, professors from Drexel University, Temple University and representatives from several peace-activist organizations also spoke at the the forum. The lectures inspired strong emotions throughout the day from the attentive audience. "For five months I've heard the point of view of the people who were dropping the bombs on Iraq," said College freshman Buddy Attie. "I came to this lecture to see the war from the other point of view, the view of the country and people who were being destroyed."
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