Not our fault
To the Editor:
I would like to respond to the editorial from Patrick Liddy and Ryan Adams.
I agree that it is a time for us to be tolerant of all American people and legitimate guests of our nation. Acts of violence against people because of their ethnic or religious background is never justifiable under any conditions.
My problem with your letter to the editor is that I fail to see how we brought this upon ourselves. Perhaps you two could bring me up to speed on which particular policies have caused this horrific attack.
While there is much to do in securing peace between the Palestinian and the Israeli people, let us remember that the U.S. treats each nation differently in regard to specific policies. There is no encompassing Middle East policy. The groups that you mention are of different nations, ethnic groups, and ideologies. Generalizing is a dangerous thing.
As for your parallel with Hiroshima (and let us not forget Nagasaki), it doesn’t fit into the equation. The bombing of those two cities was a response to a bloody and prolonged war with an aggressive nation that chose to attack after signing a treaty with the U.S. Far different than the diabolical act of incinerating people who had no idea of who their enemy was.
Our mistake with Pearl Harbor was that we failed to be attentive to the warning signs; one may draw a parallel here.
I believe that the US is taking a stance against international terrorism and the governments that sanction and harbor those who conduct such actions.
I hope that we do conduct this in a prudent and wise manner, and that it is an effort toward justice and the termination of future acts of terror and cowardice for all humankind.
Stand Courageously and United,
Environmental Safety and
Never normal again
To the Editor:
It has been one week since the hijackings, the destruction of the World Trade Centers and the attempted destruction of the Pentagon. Crimes against the U.S. by a group of angry, cowardly terrorists. I hate them.
I hear a lot of talk about getting “back to normal”, “business as usual” etc. I understand that life “must go on” but with 4,500 or more people unaccounted for and only one percent of the rubble removed from the World Trade Centers it is too soon for me.
My hope is that we never “get back to normal” if it means becoming complacent. We need to remain aware of our good fortune at being Americans- our pride and gratitude needs to last even longer than the memory of this tragedy.
We also need to be cognizant of our place in the world. We can set an example of what pride, determination and dedication to the rights of the individual can accomplish. We can start believing and practicing the ideals that we espouse. We must assure that our good fortune is not the result of the misfortune or exploitation of others.
We also need to be aware that our good fortune, our standard of living, our way of life may be the cause of envy- even hatred from those who have less and have lost hope. Jealousy and self- righteousness can be a deadly combination and make people very dangerous.
After the perpetrators have been brought to justice we have the choice of being the world’s peace keeper through police actions or becoming our “brother’s keeper”. I pray we choose wisely- I hope we choose the latter.
Senior, Social and Behavioral Sciences major
A message from our President
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
I want to offer my sincerest thanks to everyone who has worked so hard and given so much since the horrific tragedy of Sept. 11 to ensure that our campuses are as safe and as nurturing as possible.
As we deal with the aftermath of the attacks, we must rely upon each other and provide opportunities to talk and share. Individuals and departments throughout the institution are working to support our students, faculty and staff. University Counseling Services, to cite one example, is offering open support groups for members of our community. I urge anyone who might find these small group sessions of help, to call counseling services at 780-4050 for more information.
Each of us is dealing with feelings of helplessness, anxiety, sorrow and, of course, anger. It’s important to state again that our anger cannot, must not, be misdirected at any individual simply because of the way they look or pray.
There are many things that don’t seem quite as important as they were prior to Sept. 11. I submit, however, that the work of a great university, preparing people for the educational, economic and social challenges of the 21st century, is more important than ever.
Again, my thanks and best wishes to you and your loved ones.
Richard L. Pattenaude
To the Editor:
Rosh Hashanah is otherwise known as the Jewish New Year and means literally “head of the year.”
In the lunar calendar by which Jewish people mark the passing seasons, it arrives in the fall, just before the harvest. One prays to be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. Holiday wishes are
“May you be inscribed in the book of life for another year.” Very sensible. One year at a time.
Rosh Hashanah is a quietly joyous holiday, and marks the beginning of a week contemplation in preparation for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Children customarily eat apples dipped in honey to mark a sweet new year to come. A cross section of an apple core is a symbol of the continuity of life.
A week after the New Year is Yom Kippur. This is the most solemn of Jewish Holidays (literally a Holy Day) and is known as the Day of Atonement. On this day Jewish people pray and fast. We attend services and come to terms with transgressions that we may have committed during the year. Taking responsibility for these, one tries to bring to rights any breach or pain caused by oversight, insensitivity or wrong intention. Apologies and discussions are considered a good way to “come clean.” Resolutions are made, thanks are given and the commandments of Moses are renewed.
Following synagogue services, in a ceremony known as Tashlik, one casts into a body of water sins or transgressions written on a slip of paper, in hopes that they will be exonerated in the eyes of G-d.* This custom is akin to writing one’s New Year’s resolutions. This may be followed by a family or community Break the Fast.
A week later is Sukkoth, the harvest festival. Jewish people build outdoor structures in which to gather, take meals, pray and even sleep. One builds so that the roof does not obliterate a view of the stars, to better contemplate the presence of G-d, and the temporary nature of all things. It commemorates a time in distant memory when people lived temporarily in little shacks on the edges of their fields during harvest time. It strikes me as an apt symbol for the continued wandering of Jews from land to land with their house on their backs, metaphorically speaking.
*This name is considered too great to be spoken or written.
USM Campus Hillel
Beautiful thank you
To the Editor:
I’d like to thank the members of the environmental law society from the Maine School of Law who gave up studying and their free time to pick up trash at Mackworth Island and the Falmouth shoreline last Saturday.
Their love for our land is very apparent.
Bonita Rodden, coordinator of the Coastal Cleanup
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to your Sept. 17, 2001 issue. On page seven, under “Senate update, how much do we have again?” The Free Press reporter tried to clarify what the Student Senate unallocated funds were.
Unfortunately it seems to have left people more confused than informed. Allow me to explain what the Student Senate did last year during the budget meetings that affected this year’s unallocated funds.
Last year when the Student Senate passed the 2001/2002 budget for $280,796.52, (excluding the 30 percent that goes to the Student Communication Board) they also passed a list of items they would fund (once they got the fall student activity fee money) before they funded anything else.
This list was created because the Student Senate had to cut some very important items in order to get down to a budget that was within the projected amount of student activity fee money. In total, the Student Senate has to fund $29,100 worth of items.
The unallocated fund consists of student activity fee money that was not spent last year and any money over the $280,796.52 that will come in this year. The Student Senate gets the bulk of its money in two payments, one in September and one in February. Student groups get money in two payments, half their money on July 1 and half on Jan. 1.
This means that after July 1 (until the student activity fee money comes in September) the unallocated fund would only be the student activity money not spent last year (around $13,967.35) and the $140,398.26 (half of the budgeted amount) that was taken from unallocated and given to student groups on July 1.
The unallocated fund currently stands at Negative $126,430.91. However, to tell student senators and the students in general that the unallocated fund is a negative account gives a false impression the Student Senate is in the red.
This is not the case. The Student Senate has the $13,967.35, but because they also have a list of items to fund after the student activity fee money comes in, they in effect do not have access to the unallocated funds until they get the actual money and address these items.
I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding people had, but if you have any questions about what was said, please call me at 874-6595.
Kathleen Pease, coordinator of Student Senate operations
End the ignorance
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a copy of a speech written by UMaine freshman Matt Audesse for a class last week. His mother, Robin, an administrative associate in USM’s Sports Medicine Department, wanted to share his thoughts with the community.
My topic last Tuesday was the importance of every college student having computer skills in order to be equipped for doing research, communicating with others in a modern medium, etc, etc. But last night, I changed my topic for another. While there is no shortage of supporting reasons for my original argument, I couldn’t go through with it. For one thing, it was lame. And for another, I couldn’t get something else off my mind. Last week, was at once, sobering, saddening, and revolutionary – that is to say, the collective epiphany we all experienced can no less serve as an agent of change than emancipation, Vietnam-era conscription, or the fall of the Berlin Wall. What can we learn from the events of last week? However terrible, what good can be salvaged? I’ll tell you one of the things that last Tuesday left with me: I know next to nothing about how the world actually works. For instance, what do I really know about our own government, let alone how things are run in the Middle East. Could I even find Afghanistan on a map if it wasn’t marked? I’m embarrassed to admit that I probably couldn’t. This acknowledged, I can see now, that if not for the catastrophe of last week, my head would still be stuck in the sand. I imagine that some of you felt similar realizations. So, what I am trying to say is this: Don’t be caught unawares anymore. Take an active interest in the world around you.
As voters, it is our responsibility to have some rudimentary knowledge of what we are supporting. Our votes are arguably one of the most powerful assets granted us by the constitution. Too many people throw this power away or decide not to use it at all. We all have access to Fogler, FirstClass, and the insight of others students and professors – that is far more information available to us than the average adult with only the paper and television news. College students could easily be the best informed of anyone. When election time rolls around again, one of the main topics we will hear from all candidates will be their new stance on terrorism. How do you want our leaders to prevent more attacks from happening? There is talk of suspending some constitutional rights for the sake of security – are you really okay with this? Who among the candidates best represents what you would like to see being done? There is no quick way to know – you have to actively inform yourself.
How many of us really know anything about Islam, the Taliban, or Osama Bin Laden’s group of fundamentalist militants? Did you know who they were before the USS Cole attack? The African embassy bombings? Those were both attributed to Osama, in case you’re not familiar with some of his earlier attacks on the US.
Who are our friends, and who are our enemies?
Obviously, it isn’t that “cut and dry”; I for one think that the Afghani people wanted no more part in this than we did, but Afghanistan’s ruling party, the Taliban, has long been accused of harboring Bin Laden. How can we distinguish between these radically different groups if we don’t even know who they are? Would any of us assert that all North Irish are terrorists because a few of them in Sinn Fein have set car bombs? I hope not.
College students especially can benefit from this enhanced level of awareness, because the implications of current events will have more bearing on us than anyone else. Who else will go on to be active players in world politics, business, industry, technology etc? Because of our age, we all stand to live a good deal longer than anyone “running” the world right now. We are the ones who will be inheriting all the problems left by earlier generations. It’d be best if we knew what we were going to have to deal with.
To wrap up, I still consider myself to be in the dark. I’m certain that some of you must have a better grasp on current events, government, geography, terrorism than I do. I hope that’s the case, anyway. But if any of this does apply to you, remedy the situation now – because we can’t afford another “last Tuesday” just to open our eyes.