28 October 2002

Women, Clothing and Self-Respect

Thank goodness winter is coming. It will now be easier for us, the women on campus to keep our own self-respect.

What we wear is who we are. We don’t have to like it, but it’s true. Business people wear suits, bank tellers wear business clothes, baggers at the supermarket wear aprons that have the name of the supermarket on it, and some of the women on campus dress like prostitutes.

What the question really comes down to is, who are you dressing to impress? If you wake up in the morning with no thought to what you are wearing and you put on the most comfortable jeans and sweatshirt, then this article is not for you. For the other 95% of women on campus, pay attention.

Most women wear clothing to attract the opposite sex. So who is it that you want to attract and will exhibiting your body get you the man you want? What do want the guy sitting next to you in class to notice first? Your chest, almost covered by a nonexistent shirt, or the great insightful question you just asked the professor?

“Wait a minute”, you yell. “I should be able to wear whatever I want and he should still respect me for my mind.”

As a woman, I would agree with you. You should be able to wear whatever you want. But let us deal with Reality. Are guys dating you because you look like an easy target or are they interested in a real relationship? What image are you projecting?

Are we women so insecure with ourselves that we are dependent on a man to give us an identity? What happens when you “get” a man? Are you going to be able to keep him? What will you give up in order to keep him?

We all know the answer to that one. But what about “love”? You fell in “love” with him. How long does that “love” last - until he finds someone else. Is this a real relationship, or is this sex? How much do you know about him? You both like the same movies? That’s real deep. It’s definitely something on which to base a lifetime relationship.

Let’s go back to the idea of clothing. Clothes are the objects that tell the rest of the world who you are. What kind of a person you are. Wearing clothing that doesn’t show off every curve of your body, leaving nothing to the imagination, is a good thing. It shows that there is more to you than your body. You are more than just your body. Hopefully. If you’re showing off your body, it may be that there is nothing else to show off, no mind to go along with it.

When you go outside in the rain, and you have something that shouldn’t get wet, like a book or a camera, you cover it with something. Not because that object is bad, but because you want to protect it.

The same concept applies. The body is not a bad thing. It is a valuable thing that needs to be protected and not used at anyone’s discretion or as a means to an end. The more valuable something is, the more protection it should be given. This does not include dressing like the Taliban women under a veil, where they were unable to participate as a full member of society. This is unnecessary and cruel.

We are not objects. Our bodies should not become objects. If we want a real relationship with a man, we must show them that we are more than how much skin we show. Show them that you have some self-respect. Otherwise, there’s no difference between us and a prostitute.

21 October 2002

Don’t Like History? Change it!

What is the definition of an Historian? An Historian is someone who researches history and writes about it. The key word here is “researches”. This Historian checks his facts, double checks, and triple checks what he finds in order to be as accurate as possible.

When I was completing my history degree here at Wayne State, I had a professor who made it very clear that you needed at least three independent sources to prove that an event actually occurred. If it couldn’t be verified, it may never have happened.

But wait, there’s a new breed of historians. They call themselves the “new historians”. They find “new” information and tell us all about it. Sounds great! Learn something new every day. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. These “new” historians are notorious for making up facts and using these “new” facts in order to support their political views.

I understand that people and governments use history to support their political views all the time. This isn’t the problem. The problem is when historical “facts” are really embellishments or worse, complete and utter fabrications.

On campus last week we had a “new historian” by the name of Ilan Pappe. Pappe not only had a political agenda, but made up the facts to go with it. Who is Ilan Pappe? He’s a political science professor at Haifa University in Israel. He came to enlighten us about the “fact” that when Israel was created in 1948, there was a systematic attempt to uproot the “native” Arab population living there and destroy their homes.

What made Professor Pappe more believable was that as a Jewish Israeli, he was able to muster his courage and go against accepted documented history with his “facts”.

I have absolutely no interest whether he’s Jewish or Israeli or Greek or Chinese. His nationality gives him no more credibility than any other credential he might be able to create. The truth is, he made up historical “facts” in order to fit his political agenda.

One of Professor Pappe’s students Theodore Katz, wrote his Masters thesis on the accusation that the Alexandroni Brigade massacred 200 unarmed Arabs in the village of Tantura in May 1948. This Masters thesis earned him a 97% by Professor Pappe and a libel suit by the Alexandroni Brigade veterans in January 2000.

During the libel trial it only took two days for Katz to retract his statements. “After checking and re-checking the evidence, it is clear to me now, beyond a doubt, that there is no basis whatsoever to the allegation that the Alexandroni Brigade, or any other fighting unit of the Jewish forces, committed the killing of people in Tantura after the village surrendered.” Within a day, Katz tried to take back his statement, and continue the trial, but the judges refused. The Haifa University also found that Katz had falsified testimony “gravely and severely” in 14 different places in his thesis.

What is important to note is that Katz’s thesis advisor, Professor Pappe determined that Katz’s conclusions were correct even if the facts were not. His decision shows us that historical accuracy is not that important to Professor Pappe. Why bother with real research when you can make up your own?

The Alexandroni Brigade is trying to have Katz’s Masters thesis revoked but is having a hard time because Pappe is fighting for him. The question is, if Pappe is willing to support a thesis which is full of lies and embellishments, why should he be believed at all? What is the point of doing historical research, when according to Pappe, it isn’t necessary to be truthful or accurate?

Professor Pappe, while being brought in as an “expert” in the Middle East is no more than an expert liar.

11 October 2002

With Friends Like These...

Supposedly we know that the only way to have peace in the Middle East is to get rid of the State of Israel. It is because Israel exists that there is no stability in the region. Let’s give everyone what they want, a Middle East without Israel. No doubt, stability will improve.

Of course human rights are very important in the Middle East region. We know that Arab countries are “dedicated” to protecting those rights. In addition to protecting those important rights, it is well known that the Arab countries are “committed” to a terrorist-free world.

Let’s begin with the United States friends in the region. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. As we know, peace and freedom loving dictatorships.

Egypt. The United States next best friend. While Egypt is officially a social democracy, President Hosni Mubarak was reelected for a fourth 6 year term in September 1999. It’s really amazing to see democracy in action.

According to the U.S. State Department Report on Human Right Practices 2001, the Egyptian “Government's record remained poor with respect to freedom of expression and its continued referral of citizens to trial in military or State Security Emergency courts... The [Egyptian] President and the entrenched NDP [National Democratic Party] dominate the political scene to such an extent that citizens do not have a meaningful ability to change their Government.” It is good to know that Egyptian citizens have a real right of representation in their government.

It is also good to note that the Egyptian police departments are taking their jobs seriously. They are allowed to arrest and hold suspects without charges or lawyers. Abuse, torture and killing of suspects is rampant in the police departments.

Let us move away from such a freedom loving society which the United States supports with 1.3 billion dollars annually. But there’s no need to worry, it’s a stable Middle East.

Let’s take a look at the Kingdom of Jordan, a constitutional monarchy. While the word “constitutional” is in the title “constitutional monarchy”, there are, of course, limits. According to the State Department,

“Citizens may participate in the political system through their elected representatives in Parliament; however, the King has discretionary authority to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and upper house of Parliament, to dissolve Parliament, and to establish public policy.” I’m always happy to hear about democracy flourishing in that part of the world. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it’s the ties they have to the fun dictatorships of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan, that give the King of Jordan such funny ideas about how democracy works.

As in Egypt, we see that the Jordanian police are up to snuff with arbitrary arrests and holding without charges. There is also torture and abuse of suspects. It’s good to know they’re not spending their energy focusing on the al-Qaeda terrorist cells based there. There’s no need to be worried, it’s a stable Middle East.

Moving right along to Saudia Arabia, another good friend of ours. It’s definitely not a democracy. But who needs democracy anyway when Crown Prince Abdullah’s in charge?

According to the State Department the Saudi “...Government prohibits or restricts freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, religion, and movement.” Picky, picky. Who needs those rights anyway? “Other continuing problems included discrimination and violence against women, discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, and strict limitations on worker rights.” Then again, maybe we’re focusing too much on human rights.

What about the Saudi dedication to stopping terrorism? Hey, what kind of a question is that? Do we not trust our Saudi friends?

They’ve certainly given us what to work with. The Saudi kingship has yet to close any known terrorist bank accounts. According to Saudi intelligence, 25,000 Saudis have trained in military camps, mostly in Afghanistan since 1979. More recently, of the 300 terrorists taken prisoner in Afghanistan by the United States, 100 of them are Saudi citizens.

As can be seen, we have good friends in the freedom loving countries of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We’ve seen that these countries are totally against terrorism and are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of the world around them. I’m sure that even though we haven’t discussed the countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the other seventeen Arab countries of the Middle East, that they too would do everything to protect the human rights of their citizens and the security of the world. You were worried about stability in the Middle East? I can’t imagine why.