Friday, February 28, 2020
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Letters to the Editor

Letter Shows Anti-Muslim Prejudice

[In response to ”24′ Portrays Muslims Accurately,’ Jan. 29]

First, let me say that I have no problem with ’24’s’ content. Yes, Muslims are being portrayed as terrorists in the show, but the show has had a number of different ethnicities of villains. What’s going on now is that the ’24’ writers are finally admitting that, yes, a rather large number of terrorists are Muslim.

However, the letter to the editor in the Jan. 29 issue of the New University was a travesty. Islam is not a violent religion. The fact that there are people who still think that is sheer lunacy. As anyone who’s even touched upon the subject knows, it’s not religion that’s causing terrorism. After all, we have our own fair share of small-minded twits in the United States, many of them preaching varieties of Christianity.

No, the reason for all the strife is that they are Them and we are Us. It’s Them versus Us, on both sides of the fence, and that’s all it’s ever been. Those at the top of the terrorists are exploiting the beliefs of those at the bottom, playing on their fears and telling them, ‘The only way to protect your family is to kill the evildoers.’ Does anyone actually think that there’s any other reason?

And the published letter isn’t helping. ‘I hope Americans can walk by a mosque and not feel a sense of fear’? Who gets afraid of walking past a house of worship in the United States? That quote is possibly the most evident example of what is wrong here. We think of Them as evil, and that makes it OK to hate Them, to ridicule Them, to make a mockery of what They believe in and, yes, to kill Them.

Just like how They think of Us.

By the way, in case anyone was wondering, I’m agnostic. I’m just tired of this. The fastest, best way we can stop all of this damn killing is if we stop thinking of Them as Muslims, Arabs, jihadists or terrorists and start thinking of Them as people, and realize that They aren’t all that different from us. They just look different, speak a different language, come from a different place and have a different faith. They’re still human, just as we are.

And who knows, maybe some of Them will follow our lead.

Eric Miller
Fourth-year Information and Computer Science Major

Bike Ban Needs To Be Rethought

I’m glad to see the ‘no-bikes’ debate is still healthy and continuing. It is good to hear the origins of the ruling and I do understand the measures to prevent another such accident from occurring. However, things change. That accident occurred before I was born, and I would like to believe bicycles have changed since then. Brakes are standard on every bike, from regular rubber pads to disc brakes. Bikes are smaller and easier to control than those old cruiser bikes. The ‘no-bikes’ rule needs to be re-evaluated after 20 years for today’s bicycles.

While Ring Mall being prohibited was addressed, why not the other way around? Why not prohibit cyclists from Aldrich Park instead? First, most cyclists dislike Aldrich Park, so the rule is easily obeyed. Next, a geometry problem: The entire campus, Ring Mall and Aldrich Park, are circles, with all the buildings as points around it. The quickest way to each point? A straight line through Aldrich Park.

Finally, the new Ring Mall is nearing completion. I have yet to notice any decent pathway to Aldrich Park from Ring Mall. Rather, it appears the majority of the access points will be below the bridge between Humanities and the Student Center, through Humanities Hall or down the side streets. As this appears to be the most likely case, it can be concluded that pedestrian traffic will increase in Aldrich Park, making it even more difficult for cyclists to contend with. While Ring Mall is location-friendly, Aldrich Park becomes easily navigated once pedestrians know the campus. Otherwise, I see no logical reason as to why Ring Mall should service only pedestrians when there is a park for that purpose as well.

There is a little yellow sign that I think should be posted on Ring Mall or at least more often; it reads: ‘Bicyclists: You are responsible for the pedestrians’ safety.’ Many cyclists I’ve seen on campus are responsible people, although they do not all wear helmets. While the rule may have been established in the past and is still in effect, the most recent open debate about enforcement and fining pedestrians makes this situation less desirable and overcomplicates everything. I was uninformed about the previous forum and failed to attend, but based on the disgruntled view of the audience, more discussion is needed.

Since it has been a few weeks since the enforcement has taken place, I have not heard anything from the administration itself to address this concern at all, not through e-mail or even through this newspaper. I have my doubts the administration reads the concerns of the students on such an issue.

This entire debate does not have to end in such an absolute decision. Many arguments and remedies have been given by the community themselves: changing pedestrian-only walkways, provision of alarms to cyclists, the ‘5-10-20’ rule, bike bans for 10-minute periods, etc. These must definitely be taken into consideration for the school’s community and students to be happy and prosper.

On a final note, while most people have concerned themselves with bicyclists, I must ask the argument be extended toward skateboarders, roller-bladers, scooter riders, unicyclists, etc. as well. While I feel that people like those are more dangerous as they have less control over their vehicle (i.e. no mechanical brakes), their objectives are similar to ours: a fast, active and healthy activity to make education better.

Anthony Tran
Fourth-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Major

Iran Not The Threat to Peace

I read your article on Iran [‘Iranian Threat Proving to Be Imminent,’ Jan. 29]. I spent six years in the U.S. Army. I was a cavalry officer who later branch detailed to military intelligence. I’ve seen our policies first-hand. I have even served side-by-side with Israeli soldiers. I want to provide a different perspective.

1) Iran has not invaded or occupied another country in over 300 years, but look at the many occupations and foreign wars the United States has engaged in. How many of them were just? I don’t know. The Iranian president’s words are bellicose; however, the United States’ posture is worse. We want to bring democracy but we have committed to doing so by the points of our bayonets.

2) The issue of nuclear weapons is a defensive posture for adversarial states. Nuclear weapons have proved to be history’s only successful deterrent. It is a security guarantee for Iran, assuring that it will not be attacked by another state if it acquires nuclear weapons. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons that can strike anywhere in the Middle East, but why does Iran not have the same right? There are arguments to this, such as the fact that Iran uses non-state actors such as Hezbollah to conduct clandestine operations; therefore, it cannot be trusted. But don’t the United States and Israel do the same? From a moral standpoint, Iran has the same right. But let’s not fool ourselves and talk as if we have the moral high-ground.

3) From the stances of Bizmarck, Metternich and now Kissinger, a state’s actions derives from its vital political, economic and security interests. Iran is the only country (besides the United States) that exports its foreign policy and values. The main issue is not security. The issue is that Iran is challenging the United States as the dominant power in the Middle East. This is very unfortunate. If current trends continue, I believe military conflict will ensue at an undetermined time in the future.

4) The anti-Israeli sentiment from Iran is the result of the blowback from the 1953 CIA overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh. It is also the result of the 1979 overthrow of the Shah, who was a strong advocate for the state of Israel. The problem with our political rhetoric is that we as Americans only have a short-term memory; we cannot place cause and effect into context of the current situation.

Amir Bagherpour
MBA Student
Paul Merage School of Business