Letters to the Editor

The Passion

Dear Editor:

In his Monday column, Corey Parker condemned those who call for censorship of Mel Gibson's new film, "The Passion of the Christ." I agree with Parker that censorship is wrong. That, however, is not what the Anti-Defamation League or any major figure in the Jewish or Christian communities is calling for. The ADL's Director, Abe Foxman, did not request for Gibson's film to be banned or even for its content to be significantly altered. In fact, all that Foxman really requested was a meeting. He asked for Gibson to sit down with Jewish and Christian leaders to discuss how they could, together, assure that the film did not fuel anti-Semitism or inter-religious tension. Knowing that passion plays have fueled outbursts of anti-Semitism throughout the ages, that seems like a reasonable request. Yet Gibson rejected it out of hand. I have not seen the film, so I cannot comment on its content. But it worries me that Gibson was so unwilling to even sit with religious leaders and discuss the issues that his film might raise. No one is calling for censorship; what we ask for sensitivity.

Jason Benkendorf

Senior SPA

Gay Marriage

Dear Editor:

Monday's Eagle contains a researched article on faculty reactions to the latest ruling on gay marriage. The article discusses a West coast governor who allowed gay couples to be wed for a few hours as the end of his term rapidly approaches. The article made two points. First of all, that gay marriage is a "human rights" issue and secondly that this issue is likely to become a political '"football"' in upcoming elections, thereby meaning a divisive issue which candidates will use to maintain their base constituency by way of which side they take.

Despite, these two pertinent points, I feel that the article lacked perspective in ignoring two other issues. Foremost, that of state's rights. A close constructionist's interpretation of the Constitution brings much of the public to feel that the federal government should make no decision on gay unions either way. It is important to discuss whether or not this is an issue which should be left to close communities to decide on based on their own morals and common values systems.

Secondly, though the article mentioned marriage being sometimes considered a "religious" issue, it failed to make the distinction that it is an important aspect of our society to keep church and state separate. For example, one growing view is that there should be no legally recognized "marriages" and that every legal coupling should be termed a civil union because then, marriage may remain in the domain of each religious community to decide who they will allow to wed while the rights of every couple will be legally guaranteed for such things as tax breaks.

I'd like to thank the article's author for bringing up the topic, but I hope that readers will entertain every aspect of the issue and not resort to throwing '"political footballs"' at one another.

Makenna E. Porch

Freshman SOC

The NCOR

Dear Editor:

I am an undergraduate student at Brandeis University. When I first heard that students at AU were hosting the National Conference on Organized Resistance I was inspired. Events like these provide an opportunity for students to analyze a diverse spectrum of ideas in the efforts to build a better world.

I was disappointed to see the event so drastically distorted in the last issue of The Eagle, in an article entitled "Resisting Organized Resistance." Josh Kraushaar's editorial about the NCOR provides hasty mischaracterizations of attendees and demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of the event and its purpose. Unfortunately, it seems his observations have been filtered through his ideological stance and nothing more.

Universities across the country are facing increased pressure to censor students and professors from speaking freely. I'd like to encourage AU to uphold the values of democratic and honest discussion, and refuse to cater to the wishes of some students clamoring for censorship to further their own political agenda.

The notion that a University should deny students their right to host an event merely because it lies outside the confines of mainstream political thought is the antithesis of the mission of any educational institution. I hope that students and faculty will see Kraushaar's column for what it is: an attempt to distort and silence expression of difference on the AU campus.

Joshua Russell

Undergrad Brandeis University

Dear Editor:

The National Conference on Organized Resistance Club is no stranger to strangely inaccurate misrepresentation in the pages of The Eagle, even by editorial page editor David Hodges ("The Racism at Home and Abroad," 11/17/03). Thus, it was no shock to see Josh Kraushaar devote his entire column to misrepresenting the NCOR Club.

Really, if you're going to hate us, you should at least explain our history: The NCOR Club is an outgrowth of one of the oldest associations on campus, the AU Animal Rights Effort. AU has encouraged student organizers to host the conference in the Ward Circle Building since its inception in 1998 as the National Conference on Civil Disobedience, with Professor Abdul Aziz Said delivering the opening address. The conference workshops are selected with an eye towards diversity; the NCOR Club does not take positions on the issues presented (not even those related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), but merely serves as facilitator for an exchange of ideas. In fact, NCOR provides space for unscheduled workshops, allowing even those rejected by the organizers a place to share their views. (Josh and David, for instance, could have scheduled a 'Why NCOR Sucks' panel discussion.)

The club also works closely with University staff to ensure that participants abide by the Code of Conduct and that the conference conforms to departmental standards for safety and cleanliness. And above all else, NCOR is a student club, and welcomes dialogue and discussion - if you want to get involved or just voice an opinion, write ncor@mutualaid.org.

Andrew Willis

Senior SIS

Kraushaar Responds

Dear Editor:

I am glad that Andrew Willis is eager for the Eagle to cover AU's version of the national resistance club. But hemisreads my column [The Right Campus, a biweekly conservative column that appears on the editorial page], which focused on the national conference being held at AU. The conference was sparsely populated withthese aforemention AU NCORclub members. Most conference participants were from other universities or had graduated. I attended the conference and talked to at least a dozen participants and organizers. Most did not attend AU.

Willis does not mention the signs and posters encouraging property destruction and the session held to discuss Israel's "apartheid wall." Perhaps the conference organizers disagree with members' viewpoints but in my conversations with many participants, there was surprising unanimity in their dislike of America, Israel, and capitalism.

Perhaps I will write another column about AU's club, which was a sponsor of the event. But my column was about the national conference - which was held at our University for no cost.

Josh Kraushaar

Senior

SPA

When in Rome

Dear Editor:

I used to think that people would go abroad to integrate and learn about another culture, but today you have proved me wrong. I must tell you how offended and disgusted I was with Blair Payne's article, "Under Italian sun, the natives get restless." Before I go into what I disliked, I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am an Italian-American in every way: bilingual, bicultural and dual-citizenship. I have spent every summer of my life in Italy and furthermore am recognized as an Italian in Italy and an American when in the States. I have spent a semester abroad with AU in Rome and I know about all of the places and events you were speaking about.

So I take a seat in Mary Graydon Center and picked up the Eagle to see what's going on. I come across this article, and of course it immediately grabs my attention. The fact of the matter is, I cannot believe the description that was given of a "typical sunny Sunday afternoon in Rome - complete with church, fights and soccer games."

First off, Sundays in Rome are about church and soccer games, yes, but they are also about strolling downtown (did you know that Sundays in downtown Rome cars are not allowed to drive for pollution reasons, so people walk everywhere?), spending time with one's family and relaxing, not fighting. For me to pick up The Eagle and see such words: vagabond, well-dressed man, and "The Godfather" only reiterated every stereotype in the book. What exactly were you insinuating when you spoke of the "well-dressed man"? See, here's the thing, Italians are the known worldwide for their good taste in fashion, period. The fact of the matter is, you're making people believe that these sorts of events happen in everyday life, when in fact it does not. Please stop stereotyping about my culture and try to learn something about it before you go on and bash away.

Pina Tenore Senior SIS

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