To the Editor: In his column, "Stop the abuse of Arabs' rights" (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 10/11/00), Salem Samra juxtaposes the organized Israeli military to the unorganized Palestinian rioters and draws the conclusions that since the Israelis are a professional military force and the Palestinians are not, the fight is not fair and that Yasser Arafat cannot be held responsible for the violence. In truth, neither is correct. While much of the Palestinian resistance has been carried on by civilians, it is also true that it has been carried on by the Palestinian police, which is indeed under the command of Mr. Arafat. The assertion that none of the resistance is controlled by Mr. Arafat is a fallacy. Moreover, since the Palestinian paramilitary forces are armed with military weapons, it is grossly disingenuous to juxtapose "rock versus rifle" as Mr. Samra does. But even if we grant Mr. Samra that Mr. Arafat "is not the leader of any army," he has been complicit in, if not responsible for much of the violence. As Robert Pollock noted in The Wall Street Journal, "Israeli forces had been on high alert for some time before the outbreak in answer to intelligence reports that Yasser Arafat had given the shock troops of his Fatah... the green light for serious violence." These men, known as the Tanzim, have been mentioned in almost every Israeli government press release on the violence, and are armed with automatic weapons. But to acknowledge their existence would have been inconvenient for Mr. Samra, who goes to great lengths to portray the violence as one-sided and uncontrolled -- and indeed uncontrollable -- by Mr. Arafat.
Aaron Yunis College/Wharton '02
To the Editor: I am writing in response to the sentiments I have seen expressed in the press regarding Israel's use of excessive force in the recent conflict there. Palestine does not have an army, and Israel does. But a battle is a battle and a war is a war, even if one side has a huge military advantage. Of course, most of the casualties are Palestinians -- Israel has the guns. But I am sure every gun the Palestinians have is being used. What should the Israelis do, throw stones and fire bombs back? At least that would be a fair fight, right? People kill people, not rocks or guns. Instead of blaming Israel, let's accept that there are no innocents in war. Each side is doing its best to ensure its own survival. What more can we expect? If you had a gun and someone were throwing rocks at you, how long could you restrain yourself? How much would you bleed before you fought back? War is not pretty, no matter which side you're on.
Daniel Gonen College '02
To the Editor: The American Civil Liberties Union chapter at the University of Pennsylvania applauds The Daily Pennsylvanian for bringing attention to the University's misuse of student and faculty information ("Your name here," DP, 10/10/00). We believe that the sale of contact information to (and subsequent use by) outside, for-profit companies poses a significant threat to the right to privacy of members of the Penn community. We hope that the University recognizes this situation and discontinues the process of selling personal information.
Adam Lubow College '03
The writer is the correspondence director for PennACLU.
To the Editor: I would like to comment on the recent removal of the "DP Swamis" section of the DP. I was moved by the courage of those who spoke up against such an insensitive section of the paper. It has moved me to speak out against the use of the "Quaker" as the school's athletic symbol. As a Quaker, I have been dismayed to see my religion's good, pacifist name be tarnished by violent sporting events. I would like the school to consider changing its mascot. Now, obviously, this is ridiculous. Why would any Quaker be insulted by the use of his religion as the symbol of a college football team? I am not a Quaker and the name, though unlike the aggressive offense that Penn fields, should stay. Likewise, the Swamis represent a 48-year-old tradition; no one who wrote to remove the Swamis is even half that old. Does tradition mean anything any more? Of course not! That is why, during my freshman year, I have now had to witness the untimely death of the DP Swamis. Did the DP Swamis hurt anyone? Were the reason for any major racial stereotyping or gang beatings on or off campus? No. It was just a funny way of predicting football scores. I thought this was a liberal campus and am dismayed that people take offense to the most trivial of issues -- and this is a trivial issue. In the end, though, fans of the Swamis still have the last laugh. Because several years ago, a student at Brown saw the DP Swamis and thought it was a clever idea. Today, that student uses the Swami every Sunday morning to make his football prediction on ESPN. So, thank you, Chris Berman, for keeping the "Swamis" -- and tradition -- alive.
Tim Pirolli College '04
To the Editor: I read with interest Douglas Robbins' column ("Penn's own inferiority complex," DP, 10/12/00). I agree that the University acts humble and that this can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. As an alumni representative, I have been impressed by the quality of students applying to Penn, and I tell students that Penn is the only school in the top 10 of U.S. News & World Report that deserves a higher ranking. In short, we need to rethink the way we compare ourselves to others.
Robert Edelman College '72Comments powered by Disqus
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