Letters to the Editor

Latino Studies Is a Sizeable And Growing Department

To the Editor:

In your article "Latinos Celebrate Heritage" [Oct. 2, 2000], you briefly mention the Latino Studies Program here at Columbia. As the three full-time faculty members who are involved with that program, we write to support the concerns of students who would like to see more course offerings in Latino Studies. Likewise, we applaud the Latino Heritage Month organizers' emphasis on crossing racial and ethnic boundaries; indeed, this is one of the core purposes of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, in which Latino Studies is housed (www.columbia.edu/cu/cser). We would, however, hasten to clarify two points in the article that seem somewhat misleading. First, although Latino Studies is not a full-fledged department, but rather a program housed within the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, it does have some full-time faculty. Two of us have just joined the Columbia faculty this fall as assistant professors in Latino Studies, with joint appointments in our relevant departments. Indeed, we are currently conducting a search to fill a third full-time faculty position in Latino Studies and English. Second, the Latino-related listings in the pencil book frequently appear more scarce than is actually the case, simply because cross-listed courses are only permitted to be listed in one place due to a technical shortcoming of course listing procedures.

Nicholas P. De Genova

Nicole P. Marwell

Gary Y. Okihiro

Oct. 2, 2000

Nicole P. Marwell is an assistant professor of Latino Studies and sociology. Nicholas P. De Genova is an assistant professor of Latino Studies and anthropology. Gary Y. Okihiro is the director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.

Student Organization Misreads Mid-East Events

To the Editor:

About the picture and article on the front page of the Spectator of Turath's protest against Israel ["Mid-East Violence Draws Ire" Oct. 3, 2000], let me first say that I am extremely upset about the killings that are going on in that region.

Clearly positioned in that picture was a poster that stated "Israel's 'Peace Process' = Ethnic Cleansing." It seems that if Israel's ultimate goal were to ethnically cleanse the region, they have been largely unsuccesful.

Let me remind everyone that when the state of Israel was created in 1948 and the ensuing war of independence took place, several thousand Arabs living in what is now Israel were displaced. With no place to live, many of them went to the neighboring Arab country of Jordan.

Jordan, however, did not want them and quickly killed several hundred of them and sent them on their way to Lebanon. Lebanon, also, did not want them and was responsible for the killing of several hundred more.

They did, eventually, agree to keep many displaced Arabs on their land resulting in the Sabra, Shatila, and other refugee camps. Of course, when Assad died, the people of Syria were crying and mourning in the streets even though he was known as one of the greatest murderers of the area and responsible for the death of thousands of his own people. I guess killing is something that is easily forgotten in the Middle East.

The Israeli War of Independence is not like other wars in that it created displaced persons. In other cases, however, those people eventually integrated into the country they came to inhabit. Only the Lebanese are preventing these people from integrating into their society. Unlike the thousands of Europeans who were moved to different nations during World War II, they are forced to live under horrible conditions in these refugee camps.

As a Columbia student who has spent the last seven months in Israel, I am outraged at the recent killings in Israel. I am also outraged, however, by the distorted media attention that Israel receives under the world's scrutiny.

Israel Gordan, CC '01

Oct. 3, 2000

Palestinian Protests Are Not Peaceful, Should Be Stopped

To the Editor:

Turath misrepresents the facts; the only peaceful Palestinian protest that has occurred is here at Columbia. Instead of maturely protesting their objections to Ariel Sharon's visit to the temple mount with sit-ins and quiet resistance, Palestinians throw rocks. How do you control people who are rioting? Ask them nicely to stop? I am outraged over Palestinian conduct, but you don't see me throwing rocks at the Turath demonstrators; I'm writing a letter. If I did I would expect to be arrested; If I threw rocks at the police I have every expectation that I might get shot, as such behavior is unacceptable and dangerous. Turath complains as Israeli troops fire back when fired on by Palestinian police who are supposed to be controlling the rioters. This is all politics by other means as Arafat stands behind the violence trying to seize control of Jerusalem by proxy of violent mobs throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The fact that Mary Nazzal refers to Israel as Palestine exhibits their lack of peaceful intent.

Oren Ritterband

Oct. 3, 2000

CU Students Exhibit Vitriol And Propoganda, Not Peace

To the Editor:

The past few days at Columbia have been turbulent as we watch what is going on in the Middle East and begin to take sides. As an Israeli/American student at Columbia University, I am saddened that my fellow students are unable to step back from all the emotion, the conflict, and the violence.

Instead they bring anger and hatred to this campus, and this is making me question the possibility of peace. I am horrified by the deaths of innocent children, but at the same time I am afraid that my colleagues at Columbia University are spreading propaganda that will perpetuate this violent situation. I was brought up believing that peace is the ultimate goal and that it is truly attainable. I will not let Turath convince me that there is no hope for the future. I implore other students to resist Turath's violent and destructive rhetoric and to embrace the notion of peace.

Tamar Zaken, GS/JTS '01

Oct. 3, 2000


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