Letters to the Editor

    Anti-Semitism thrives on Library Walk

    Editor:

    Anyone who opposes bigotry, ignorance and hate should be appalled by the April 26 display on Library Walk. After 6 million Jews were massacred in the Holocaust, the swastika was used once again against the Jewish people during the anti-Zionism display on Library Walk on April 26.

    Following such proud displays of solidarity against hate during Take Back the Night and the Day of Silence for the LGBTQIA, one would hope that UCSD would be a community that would not condone hate, discrimination or intimidation for any group. The fact that there was not widespread protesting against the use of Nazi propaganda aimed at the Jewish people and Israel reflects very poorly on the UCSD community as a whole. Before today, I had only seen swastikas being used for political means in old photos, with their captions in German.

    In stark contrast to the dreary, morbid display of anti-Semitic propaganda, the Israel Alliance group flew American flags next to Israeli ones to show that the two countries were both progressive democracies that support freedom of religion, speech and thought. Israel offers far more rights for homosexuals and women, for example, than any nation in that region.

    In addition to the swastikas, one could also find clearly anti-Semitic political cartoons of Ariel Sharon, which made him look like a character from a Nazi children’s book. There is suffering today in the Middle East the same as there was suffering in Germany in the 1930s. Like the anti-Semitism of yesterday, the fingers are again being pointed at the Jews as the people to blame for the world’s misery. When will we students heed the call of duty from those exterminated by hate, and learn to stand up against hate and bigotry against all people?

    It is easy to dismiss what happened here today by convincing yourself that you don’t know enough about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. True, there are many issues to be explored before one could make an educated judgment. But it doesn’t take a genius to observe a swastika being flown at an anti-Zionism rally and put two and two together and realize that anti-Semitism is being perpetuated here at UCSD.

    What happened in Germany was incomprehensible to the people at the time, because they felt that in the modern age, such widespread anti-Semitic violence was impossible. Nazism was dismissed as freedom of expression until it had caught Germany by the throat. With synagogues being bombed in Europe, buildings becoming targets in America, and innocent civilians like you and me being torn apart by nail studded bombs in the streets of Jerusalem, it is time for everyone to realize that freedom itself is under attack. Once again the question arises whether the Jewish people, and all people who advocate rights for diversity, can exist. As the banner which displayed the Nazi insignia next to the Jewish star read, “Never again is happening again.” Only this time the enemies aren’t just in Germany.

    — Jacob Rupp

    President, Union of Jewish Students

    Annual event about more than feminism

    Editor:

    Recent articles, opinions, and letters to the editor in the Guardian have created a controversy over Take Back the Night. By arguing over feminist philosophy in relation to the event, every article has lost sight of the issue at hand. Take Back the Night is not a feminist event. It is not even an event just for women. It is a community event. Sexual assault and domestic violence are community issues. Both men and women are affected when someone is raped and/or beaten.

    Had anyone writing these articles been to Take Back the Night, they would have seen that there was a good-sized constituency of men. These men were applauded for helping to break stereotypes and myths that concern these issues. The men were also given the opportunity to share their own experiences, which many did. Men made some of the most powerful statements of the night. This event was created to bring awareness to the UCSD community and perpetuate action to stop crimes against both men and women. It is disheartening to have students come up to you and say, “People are raped here?” Take Back the Night showed me that UCSD is not always apathetic and students here can create a powerful healing environment.

    To clear up another issue, the A.S. Women’s Commission is not a feminist organization. The commission is trying to create a safe space on campus for women of all races, religion and political affiliations to voice their opinions. If people like Adam Bronstein and Kelly Gilbert are still offended by what the Women’s Commission is doing, we invite them to get involved, check their facts and put some action behind their empty words.

    — Claire Parker

    A.S. Women’s Commission

    No need for animal cruelty at UCSD

    Editor:

    I would like to thank Lisa Mak for her article on vivisection because it demands our attention (“Groups protest animal testing,” April 22). Not simply because it is cruel, outdated and unnecessary, but because it is unreliable and dangerous. We know that humans aren’t the same as dogs and are even less similar to mice, a notion lost on UCSD cognitive science professor Andrea Chiba, who reassures us that a large number of animals killed at UCSD are mice. It is no comfort to me that more mice, dogs, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and birds suffer and die than primates. I’m opposed to caging our closest relatives and giving them diseases that we’re no closer to curing than we were 20 years ago. I’m opposed to testing amphetamines on dogs.

    Lab animals experience unalleviated pain: They are poisoned, blinded, shocked, confined and burned, subjected to radiation and chemical and biological weapons, their bones fractured. They endure maternal deprivation experiments and mice, rats and macaque monkeys alone are currently being used in 445 tests on the effects of cocaine.

    UCSD receives almost $200 million in federal funds (your tax dollars) for research. If anyone other than white-coated lab technicians treated animals this way, they’d go to jail.

    A growing number in the medical profession, such as Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine, are telling us that vivisection is unreliable. By studying human populations, scientists saw a correlation between cigarettes and cancer, but unfortunately for those that continued to die from lung cancer, the labeling of cigarettes as carcinogenic was delayed for years because results from animal tests didn’t come to that conclusion. More people die each year from reactions to legal drugs, found safe in animals, than from all illegal drugs combined. Visit Students Against Animal Suffering at http://saasucsd.tripod.com for information.

    It’s callous to claim that inflicting pain on more than 20 million animals in this country each year is helping animals, as if testing on thousands of nameless dogs and cats is justifiable to possibly save others, when there are available alternatives. The leading cause of death in companion animals is human action. We are killing them. If we put a fraction of the money that we dedicate to vivisection into spay/neuter programs, we could actually make an impact on their lives.

    If animal experimentation was ever necessary, it no longer is. What diseases we can’t prevent, we can attempt to cure through nonanimal research methods. As Dr. Mark Feinberg, a leading AIDS researcher, said, “What good does it do you to test something in a monkey? You find five or six years from now that it works in the monkey, and then you test it in humans and you realize that humans behave totally differently from monkeys, so you’ve wasted five years.” Let them go. The acts committed against animals are called necessary evils, but they are not necessary, and are diverting attention and money from real progress. Caring about the suffering of the smallest beings among us may not be the most important thing we can do, but they do matter.

    — Megan Sewell

    Thurgood Marshall College senior

    Smoking marijuna makes for good sex

    Editor:

    Regarding your column “Does smoking marijuana really affect your sexual performance?”: I am a 58-year-old female, married and retired from the nursing profession. My experience (throughout my adult life) with cannabis in the context that you spoke about is not consistent with the arguments you raised. My husband would also not agree that anything like your description is a true picture. Nor would any of the many responsible adult cannabis users that we know.

    To the contrary, cannabis can contribute to some of the most profound and loving experiences you can ever have. Thank you for your contribution on this subject. America needs to debate all aspects of our drug policy. Please, keep an open mind. The basis for the views you expressed appeared to me to be limited and not in keeping with the generally understood experience of millions of other people.

    — Claudia Little

    San Diego

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