Thursday, March 27, 2003

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Volume 7, Number 109


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NEWS IN BRIEF

1) Faculty panel presents perspectives on war

2) Beth Ann Fennelly announces poetry contest winners, reads from
her own
work

3) Tuesday’s Student Council meeting discusses SBC budgets, Spring
Fling

4) World news roundup

5) Campus events

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1) Men’s Lacrosse lays waste to Ursinus

2) Upcoming contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today: Sunny, high of 59
It’s getting to be that time of the semester when everything piles up- but
you’ve gotta just go with the flow and hope it turns out ok- there’s no time
for worrying or meticulous planning

Tonight: Clear, low of 39
For example, I have no idea what the punch line to this weather joke is
going to be- but nevertheless, I just keep putting one foot in front of the
other

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, high of 60
Hmm. now that I’m here at the third line, perhaps a little planning wouldn’t
hurt after all- “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of good weather
joke” or something.

TODAY’S SHARPLES MENU

Lunch: Maryland crabcakes, lattice cut fries, roasted tofu, baby carrots,
puppy club bar, assorted cupcakes

Dinner: Fried chicken, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, mashed black
beans, stewed tomatoes, green beans, breakfast bar, ice cream bar

NEWS REPORT

1) Faculty panel presents perspectives on war

by Jeremy Schifeling
Co-Managing Editor

Over 100 people turned out last night to hear seven members of the faculty
offer their views on issues surrounding the war against Iraq.  In addition,
many of these audience members remained in the Friends Meetinghouse after
the presentations to discuss the conflict in small groups led by the
panelists.

The event, organized by students Alex Barney and Marissa Vahlsing, was
designed to create “more of a dialogue between staff, faculty, and students”
about issues pertaining to the war, according to Vahlsing.  It featured
professors from the History, Political Science, Religion, and Modern
Languages departments, and was moderated by Jennie Keith, executive director
of the Lang Center for Social and Civic Responsibility.

Keith began the evening with a grim reminder of the ongoing events in the
world, but also with a message of hope.  “It’s a very terrible thing that
brings us together tonight,” said Keith.  “But it’s a good thing to be
together.”

Ken Sharpe of the Political Science department then opened the presentations
by presenting three questions to the audience.  Sharpe asked those present
to consider, “What we’ll never know?,” “What do we know?,” and “What do we
need to know?”

In response to the first query, Sharpe told the audience that people would
never know whether alternatives to the war would have worked, and that he
feared President Bush would use the successes from the military campaign to
vindicate his decision and disparage the other possibilities.

Meanwhile, one of Sharpe’s replies to the final question was another
question: “How many well-meaning liberals supported this war?”  From here,
he went on to accuse key liberals like Leon Wieseltier (see a previous
Gazette article on Wieseltier’s participation in the Great Debate:

http://daily.swarthmore.edu/archive/spring_2003/20030306.html#n2
) and Tony
Blair of giving Bush the support he needed to launch the war.  “These
liberals lack wisdom,” said Sharpe, pointing out the failure of “liberal
imperialism” to bring about democratic reform in many Third-world nations.
“All too often, the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said
Sharpe.

Next to speak was Religion professor Scott Kugle.  Kugle confessed that he
didn’t know where to begin when dealing with such a large and complex topic,
but eventually opened with an anecdote about learning Arabic with some
students on campus, and coming across the Arabic word “istiyamar.”  Though
the word, often used by Middle Eastern protesters, has been interpreted as
“occupation” in the Western media, Kugle told the audience that its meaning
was actually closer to “colonization,” being rooted in the word
“civilization.”  Specifically, he said, it means “when somebody’s
civilization sits on you by force.”

Kugle went on to discuss the four fundamentalist religious systems involved
in the current Iraqi conflict.  Two of these were obviously present in the
scenario, said Kugle: Protestant Fundamentalism (practiced, according to
Kugle, by “neo-conservatives like Bush and [Attorney General John]
Ashcroft”) and Islamic Fundamentalism (linked to al-Qaeda and Osama bin
Laden, but not applicable to Saddam Hussein, said Kugle).  And the other two
were less visible but still present: Zionist Fundamentalism (represented by
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who, according to Kugle, was seeking to
“dehumanize Palestinians” and potentially all Arabs) and Market
Fundamentalism (which meshes with the tenets of Protestant Fundamentalism,
said Kugle).  Together, Kugle said these belief systems show how “religion
can be twisted by greed and self-aggrandizement.”

Kugle finished with his own poem, entitled “In Critical Condition.”  The
piece compared the current situation to a medical procedure in which the
American-led coalition is the surgeon and the Iraqi people are the unwilling
patients.  “If the cure is this bad, imagine what the disease must be,” said
Kugle.  “What is the disease again?”

Marjorie Murphy of the History department presented the next perspective,
opening with an apology “to the student generation; that your generation is
hit by war.”  Offering cautionary lessons on war provided by Nazi leader
Hermann Goering and the Vietnam Tet Offensive, Murphy told the audience that
“it’s OK to feel ambiguous about what’s going on.”  She said that people
often don’t know how to feel in wartime when they are being bombarded by
many contradictory opinions, and thus, she asked Swatties to be tolerant of
“people who come from cultures that don’t allow for this ambiguity.”  “War
always seems nice at the outset,” said Murphy, referencing the picnickers
who turned out for the Civil War’s first battle.

She closed by telling the audience that “your job is to listen carefully to
what they are saying to you.”  Murphy called on those present to look past
the “fully-processed information” provided by the military to see the “big
picture.”

This call for scrutiny of the popular media was then echoed by fellow
History professor John Turner.  Turner told the audience to skip the major
American news sources in favor of the BBC, which was “much more reliable” in
lifting the “war fog” that permeates most US media outlets.  “The military
has given out false information to give you the impression that the war is
going well and is right,” said Turner.

To back up this claim, Turner quoted a number of examples, including the
first night of the war, when American sources reported that Iraq had been
firing Scud missiles – in violation of the United Nations dictate.  However,
Turner said that Israeli newspapers quickly pointed out that the missiles
were, in fact, not Scuds at all, but that the error was never corrected in
most American papers.  “The media is repeating what the military has told
it,” said Turner.

Turner also discussed the American funding and provision of Saddam Hussein’s
weapons programs, chemical plants, and anthrax supply to question the
ethicality of the conflict.  “I am not inherently opposed to the concept of
a just war,” said Turner.  “But this is not a just war.”

Turner’s comments were followed by those of Tim Burke, also of the History
department.  Burke noted that he was in the unusual position of being
farther to the right than any of his fellow panelists, based on his belief
that liberal democracy was indeed being threatened by the rise of Islamic
fundamentalism.  However, he did quote France’s 19th-century foreign
minister Talleyrand in explaining his opinion of the current war: “It is
worse than wrong.  It is a mistake.”

Nevertheless, Burke did go on to offer three critiques of the anti-war
movement.  First of all, Burke explained that an anti-war protest that took
no interest in reaching the “silent plurality” of dissenters was not worth
doing at all.  He complained that the current opposition is focused on
stressing difference and antagonizing the mainstream, rather than finding
“common cause” with those who might harbor similar beliefs.  Second, Burke
called for an “opposition to war grounded in philosophically-consistent
logic.”  He warned that “randomly mixing and matching” rationales for
opposing the war could leave a dissenter without ground to stand on if one
of their rationales were proven incorrect.  Finally, he chastised war
protesters for not being open to the possibility of a “sincere, genuine
justification for a war, if not this war.”  For instance, Burke said, there
was an entirely valid critique to be made of the UN’s role in world affairs
following this conflict, and that war opponents needed to be able to use
that critique to build their opposition.  “The civil society of the world is
dead,” said Burke.  “If it cannot be resurrected, we must dream up a new
one.”

The string of history professors was rounded out by Robert DuPlessis, who
spoke sixth.  Like his peers, DuPlessis hoped that the audience had been
consulting alternative news sources, instead of just relying on the US
media.  He said that such broadening of one’s horizons could lead to new
outlooks on the war.  For DuPlessis, this meant six alternative perspectives
on the current conflict:

First, “This war was neither inevitable nor necessary,” given that not much
had changed in Iraq over the last several years.  Second, “The US
government’s rush to war was not because the UN failed, but because it
worked” and the US did not want it to work having already proclaimed that
its inspections would fail.  Third, “Terrorism is a red herring” since
national security can be had through other measures and by focusing on other
targets.  Fourth, “Iraq is not a major target,” but instead, the Bush
administration is actually targeting Americans in a “cynical attempt to
induce the population to accept a broad extreme-right agenda,” as evidenced
by the conservative bills to be passed by Congress during the war.
Additionally, the war leaders are seeking to target the rest of the world,
including our traditional allies, as it’s now “harder to achieve US hegemony
without our traditional enemies.”  Fifth, “The opposition must persevere in
the face of divisive tactics, reject appeals to support the troops for the
sake of national unity, and call for a negotiated end to the war rather than
unconditional surrender,” especially given that such a surrender is a
relatively new concept in warfare.  As DuPlessis explained, it used to be
that all wars were ended through negotiation, without complete winners or
losers.  Finally, DuPlessis called on the opposition to “Maintain global
solidarity while acting locally.”

The last speaker of the evening was Spanish and Literature Professor Aurora
Camacho de Schmidt.  Camacho de Schmidt explained that she was speaking as a
resident alien about the fate of civil liberties in the face of the
conflict.  She told the audience that the “curtailment of civil liberties”
after September 11th had impacted the immigrant community particularly
harshly.

After discussing the details of 2001’s USA PATRIOT Act, Camacho de Schmidt
warned audience members that Congress was currently considering a new bill
dubbed “PATRIOT ACT 2.”  The proposed legislation would increase control
over immigration, expedite deportation, and alter the procedures for taking
away citizenship, amongst other provisions.  She noted that the National
Lawyers Guild had called this bill representative of “the new McCarthyism.”

Like the other speakers of the evening, Camacho de Schmidt called on the
audience to stay well-informed about developments at home and abroad.

After the seven speakers had finished their presentations, Keith invited
those gathered to join the panelists for small group discussions on the many
issues raised throughout the evening.

*****

2) Beth Ann Fennelly announces poetry contest winners, reads
from her own
work

by Megan Mills
Gazette Reporter

On Wednesday afternoon, multi-award winning poet and Professor Betsy Bolton
introduced the judge of this year’s Lois Morrell Poetry Prize and the John
Russell Hayes Poetry Prizes. Bolton quoted many sources praising Beth Ann
Fennelly’s works and style, including her own opinions that the “hearty dose
of self-criticism” makes her a particularly accessible and humorous poet.
She also admired her “balancing of unity on one hand and diversity,
digression on the other” and the “immense passion for life” present in her
poetry. Fennelly’s book “Open House” won the 2001 Kenyon Review prize for
poetry and was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards Poetry Prize.
She is currently an English professor at Ole Miss.

Before announcing the winners, Fennelly acknowledged that claiming that the
judging was difficult is cliched. Nevertheless, she also said that of the
three contests she has judged this year that “Swarthmore’s was by far the
most difficult.” The winners were as follows:

First place: Ester Bloom
Second place: Cindhy Briano
Third place for translation: Alana Price

In addition, Fennelly awarded her own honorable mentions to Emily Regier,
Alyssa Timin, and Nick Malakhow. After reading each name she commented on
what she specifically liked about each collection of submitted poems and
ended this part of the afternoon by saying “Thank you for the pleasure of
letting me read your work.”

The second part consisted of Fennelly reading from her own work. Poems
ranged from commentaries on language to a letter written from Gaugin’s
daughter to the famous painter to a series about her young daughter, Claire.
One in particular stemmed from her observation that “breasts are kinda a
funny thing.” She also added that after reading at a conservative Christian
college, being able to read poetry with drinking, sex, and politics was a
welcome opportunity. When she finished, the forty or so people in the
audience applauded resoundingly.

The final part of the evening was a dinner in which students could
informally ask questions about writing, publishing, and her specific poems.
One attendee, Karen Zaino ’06, said of the whole experience “The atmosphere
was writerly but not chilly.”

*****

3) Tuesday’s Student Council meeting discusses SBC budgets,
Spring Fling

by Evelyn Khoo
Living & Arts Editor

At this week’s Student Council meeting on Tuesday March 25th, chaos reigned.
The first hour of the meeting was taken up by a painful SBC appeals process.
There was only one appeal: SASA’s 50 percent cut due to their lack of
attendance at the SBC Spring Budgeting meeting that took place earlier in
the semester.

Naa Aku Adoo ’04, the treasurer of SASA claimed that her absence was not due
to gross negligence but to a last minute emergency which was out of her
control. She also stressed that she attempted to get a replacement, but was
unable to do so due to the limited time she had.

Most of the student council members were inclined to try and give SASA more
money, particularly in the light of the fact that one crucial item affected
was Africa Week. Anna Morgan  ’04, Student Council co-president, brought up
the concern that this event was a benefit for the entire campus, and that
the campus should not be penalized for one student’s action.

Much of the complication arose, however, due to the bureaucratic channels
that Student Council had to go through. According to SBC chairman Jeff
Traczynski ’04, in order for Student Council to attempt to change SBC’s
ruling they would have to reject the whole spring budget.

In the end, after much confusion and one failed vote, Student Council voted
to accept SBC’s spring budget, with the knowledge that SASA had alternate
sources of funding to turn to, such as SAC.

Despite the stress and tension, this year’s appeals process was, as
commented by Student Council co-president Ryan Budish ’04, “still, only a
quarter of what it was last year.”

The second item on Student Council’s agenda was SAC’s presentation to
Student Council of their proposal for Spring Fling, scheduled for the last
day of classes. The activities remained much the same, with the Willets
Carnival, Movie Night and the Student Council party on Friday and
Worthstock, Margaritaville barbeque and Margaritaville on Saturday.

The only possible changes include a possible flea market, to be held on
Mertz field, in which Swatties can sell their belongings. Another suggestion
brought up was the idea of a giant Jeopardy game for Swatties to participate
in during the Willets Carnival. Chris Morello ’03, SAC co-director, said
this might be popular with Swatties and will help to make the Willets
Carnival a bigger and better event.

The last issue Student Council discussed was their proposal for Student
Council t-shirts, in an attempt to increase campus knowledge and awareness
of Student Council and its activities. The proposed t-shirt would have the
words  ‘student council’ across the front of the shirt and the question
‘what can I do for you?’ printed on the back.

Student Council also discussed the idea of spending one afternoon walking
around Parrish Beach wearing their shirts and distributing Krispy Kreme
doughnuts along with flyers listing all the issues under Student Council
discussion, in order to highlight the changes they can implement for
students.

Explains Budish: “It’s all part of an informational campaign to get more
information out to students about what Student Council does. We want Council
to be more accessible to students and we want students to realize that we
can help them.”

*****

4) World news roundup

* Approximately 1000 soldiers from the US 173rd Airborne Brigade parachuted
into northern Iraq and secured an airfield early Thursday morning. After the
airfield was secured, the US began to airlift soldiers and equipment from
the 1st infantry division into the area. The original plans for the war had
called for the troops to move overland through Turkey, but when the Turkish
parliament voted against a resolution allowing US troops to move through the
country military officials had to find another route into northern Iraq.

* Both India and Pakistan conducted tests of short-range ballistic missiles
capable of carrying nuclear warheads on Wednesday. Announcements made by
officials from each of the two countries called the tests “routine”. The
tests increased fears that the two south Asian nations could compete in a
dangerous arms race. Since the two countries first conducted nuclear tests
in 1998 they have engaged in a number of tit-for-tat missile tests.

* Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell outlined a “Plan for a New Pennsylvania”
in his second budget address in Harrisburg earlier this week. The plan
combines a restructuring of the tax system with new education spending
initiatives. The plan would raise revenue by increasing the income tax,
installing new slot machines at horse tracks, raising the fines for moving
violations and increasing the tax on beer by two cents. The plan would also
increase cell phone fees and close some corporate tax loopholes. In return,
the plan cuts local property taxes on average 30%, eliminates the
Philadelphia wage tax, reduces school class sizes, and provides full day
kindergarten in public schools.

*****

5) Campus events

Foreign Study Program Visit: Institute for the International Education of
Students- Programs in Japan
Pearson 113, 12:00 p.m.

Upward Bound Tutoring
Sponsored by Upward Bound
Kohlberg 226, 4:00 p.m.

Physics and Astronomy Clinic
Dupont 133, 7:00 p.m.

Latin American and Spanish Film Festival
Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literature
Kohlberg 115, 7:30 p.m.

“Blues, Jazz, and American Literature”
Sponsored by the Cooper Foundation
Kohlberg: Scheuer Room, 7:30 p.m.

Fellini Film Festival: “And the Ship Sails On”
Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology
LPAC Cinema, 8:00 p.m.

“An Ideal Husband,” by Oscar Wilde (directed by Ester Bloom ’04)
Sponsored by the Drama Board
LPAC: Pearson-Hall Theatre, 8:00 p.m.

*****

SPORTS UPDATE

1) Men’s Lacrosse lays waste to Ursinus

The Garnet were off to an auspicious start in Wednesday’s game against
Ursinus, scoring two rapid goals a mere 31 seconds apart in the first half.
Never relinquishing their lead, Swarthmore scored again early in the second
half on a goal by Joe DeSimone ’04 (his second goal of the game), increasing
Swarthmore’s lead to 3-0.  While Ursinus added two goals late in the game,
the Garnet could not be stopped.  With another goal by DeSimone and solid
play in the net by Ryan Croken ’05, the Garnet defeated Ursinus with a final
score of 4-0.

*****

2) Upcoming contests

Today:
Softball  hosts Arcadia, 4:00 p.m.
Women’s Lacrosse at F & M, 4:00 p.m.

Tomorrow:
Golf at Widener, 1:00 p.m.
Baseball hosts F&M, 3:00 p.m.

*****

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the
complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is
not true.”

–Robert Wilensky

*****
.
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Contact the staff at gazette@swarthmore.edu

Managing Editors: Pei Pei Liu
Jeremy Schifeling
News Editor: Alexis Reedy
Living & Arts Editor: Evelyn Khoo
Compilation Editors Charlie Buffie
Greg Leiserson
Megan Mills
News Reporters: Charlie Buffie
Jennifer Canton
Wendy Cheung
Mary Harrison
Sanggee Kim
Greg Leiserson
Megan Mills
Aude Scheuer
Siyuan Xie
Roxanne Yaghoubi
Sports Writers: Jenna Adelberg
Saurav Dhital
Sarah Hilding
Holice Kil
Photographers: David Bing
Liz Bada
Miriam Perez
Casey Reed
Christine Shin
Webmaster: Jeremy Schifeling
World News: Greg Leiserson
Campus Sports: Charlie Buffie

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Our world news roundup is compiled daily, using a variety of sources, most
notably the Associated Press (www.ap.org),
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This concludes today’s report.