Letters to the Editor 10/2

O’Reilly interview served only to incite negativity

I attended the University of South Florida during my freshman year, and I have nothing but good things to say about my experience there. I came into contact with motivated and enlightened individuals.

I hope the USF community will come together in support of my father, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who was viciously maligned by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday. O’Reilly is an angry man who capitalized on the nation’s fear and anger to get ratings.

As usual, he was rude and offensive and he didn’t give my father an opportunity to defend himself against the barrage of accusations thrown at him. O’Reilly went on an incoherent tirade, creating false associations between innocent, law-abiding individuals and terrorists.

Before jumping to any conclusions and letting our anger get the best of us, I implore all rational individuals at USF to look at the facts. The FBI has investigated my father for the past eight years, and has not arrested him or charged him with a single crime.

Judge R. Kevin McHugh said in his Oct., 2000 ruling, “Although there were allegations that the ICP and WISE were ‘fronts’ for ‘Palestinian political causes,’ there is no evidence before the court that demonstrates that either organization was a front for the PIJ. To the contrary, there is evidence in the record to support the conclusion that WISE was a reputable and scholarly research center, and the ICP was highly regarded.” Thank God hate-mongers like Bill O’Reilly are not in charge of our judicial system.

Instead of doing his research, O’Reilly relied heavily on innuendo. Thanks to his laziness, ignorance and bigotry, my father has gotten both telephone and e-mail death threats since the show.

I know most viewers tune in to Fox News precisely for its sensationalized coverage, but O’Reilly took it too far. Muslim and Arab Americans are just as anxious as he is to see those who committed the atrocious attacks on Sept. 11 pay for their crimes.

But he is misdirecting his anger toward innocent people whose only crimes were to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech.

If espousing unpopular political views is a crime, the CIA should especially be keeping an eye on Bill O’Reilly.

It is sad that we find it OK to consider Arabs and Muslims “guilty until proven innocent.” O’Reilly is an idiot. My father is innocent, and the university should take the high road and rally behind him.

  • Laila Al-Arian is a former USF student and a current student at Georgetown University.

    Man drowns in pool of own urine, idiocy

    I would like to thank The Oracle for showing a front-page picture on Wednesday of a guy urinating in a bag in which he was standing. I would also like to give kudos to the urination king himself, John Gilbert. The idea Mr. Gilbert conceived is far from controversial art. It is simple stupidity

    Why in heaven’s name would anyone bring this upon themselves? I have thought of some questions that Mr. Gilbert probably asked himself in preparation for this debacle and the answers I would have given.

    Q: I only have two hours till I present my class project. Should I think of something quick?
    A: Yes.

    Q: If monkeys can urinate in public, then can I?
    A: I am not in a zoo, and I do not play with my feces.

    And finally the denouement:

    Q: Will people respect me for urinating on myself in public?
    A: I know this probably hurts Mr. Gilbert’s feelings, and he should relieve himself in any way he knows how.

  • Shawn Desai is a senior majoring in chemistry.

    Legitimate art can be”distasteful and offensive”

    I truly appreciate the fact that my urination performance was a featured pictorial on an issue from last week. I must applaud The Oracle for applauding the “distasteful and offensive.”

    In my response to D. Stafford (apparently someone I don’t know) who wrote: “… we are all performance artists, and your project does not set you apart. It simply makes you a guy who urinated publicly into a bag,” I must admit, I agree. We are all performing on certain degrees and angles (in life and reality), and it is crucial to understand, “This is just what I do.” And if you, D. Stafford or anyone, has a problem with that, I ask you to look into further yourself.

    I would like to remark that the suit was made from vinyl shower curtains and only resembled a “bag” in its framework.

    The performance lasted three hours, which at that point I had nearly exhausted myself.

    I had consumed about three gallons of water, and it had to go somewhere. I was suffering from electrolytic damage, and I felt very uneasy. I waited at school after the performance for a couple of hours to make sure nothing serious was happening.

    Naturally everything was fine – I was a bit swollen.

    In my time spent with a Free Music group, I have uncovered many “far-out” ideas, such as: We are all performance artists, and we all occupy (outer) space.

    Even though we were all in Adult-Diapers and screaming about fudge crackers and singing renditions of “Strangers in the Night,” it still remotely sounded like beautiful music. So my message is this: Beauty isn’t always the obvious.

    Understanding has to come from the heart. I applaud those who still have heart in the time that surrounds us. As with any of my performances, I quote not the audience but the participants.

    John Gilbert is a junior majoring in art.