Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Letters to the Editor 9/17

America needs a revision of its foreign policy

Many of us have become captivated with President Bush’s inclination to declare war against Saddam Hussein. As an American Muslim with Arab origin, I, too, agree that Saddam presents greater harm than good. But the question is, to whom is this harm directed? It is not a harm presented predominantly to American civilians but harm presented to his own people. This is a man who has gassed his own people, tortured his own citizens, attacked his Arab neighbors and more.

If our American leadership is determined to eliminate Saddam, it must be done so in a well-structured plan beyond our imagination. It must also be diagrammed with a specific purpose, presented to American citizens and the world. For almost 10 years now, Iraq has been under stringent United Nations restrictions and embargoes. These embargoes further displaced those less fortunate and also created a further separation between the elite and the poor (i.e. Saddam and his citizens.) The ordinary Iraqi citizen is less capable, more scared and increasingly skeptical of working with any sovereign nation to oust Saddam than he was a decade ago.

If America is triumphant in toppling Saddam, are we willing to nation-build? This has been tried in Afghanistan, and President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet have already had various assassination attempts on their lives. Is American foreign policy inclined to spread its forces thin, with potential flare-ups on the rise in Africa, the Far East and more? Is America ready to promote democracy in one country where the majority of the people live below the international poverty line?

Also, if America is readily intending to promote democracy in Iraq, why has it not wanted to promote democracy in other Middle Eastern countries? The country of Egypt currently receives $2 billion a year in foreign aid, yet if any Egyptian citizen speaks up against the Egyptian president, he is sentenced to hard time in jail.

After spending two months in the Middle East this summer, I realize animosity towards Americans is at an all-time high. But the rationale is not what you might think. Arabs are currently being suppressed by their leaders in Egypt, Jordan and all over the Middle East. Both of these countries (Egypt and Jordan) are among the biggest recipients of American foreign aid. This foreign aid controls the peoples’ lives, reduces their freedoms, strengthens the dictatorships’ control and is not used for economic prosperity but rather for mental manipulation.

If America is genuinely seeking to have a more peaceful world, we must question what foreign policy of the world put us in this predicament? Do not forget that only 20 years ago, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were American allies, funded with technology, financing, intelligence and more.

As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

Mulham Shbeib is a USF alumnus.

Esposito used Genshaft as a scape goat

John Esposito is not worthy of speaking to our students. Denying students a chance to learn and understand other cultures and religions and blaming someone else for your own decision is cowardice. President Genshaft, on the other hand, shows a great deal of courage. I am an employee at USF and a recent graduate from the College of Business Administration. I want to thank President Genshaft and the Board of Trustees for their decision in the Al-Arian situation.

As a United States citizen, I have the right to say what I feel as long as I don’t ignite the emotions of others; it’s called freedom of speech. However, I cannot say whatever I want in the name of USF or as a representative for USF. If a USF employee, rather than a professor, had done the same thing that Al-Arian did, I’m sure they would be fired immediately. There would be no hearing, no extended leave with pay and no discussions of academic freedom.

This whole situation has several complex issues. Academic freedom is only one of them. The safety of 39,000 students and 6,000 employees is also a major issue. In the face of constant media coverage and people like John Esposito blaming President Genshaft, she has stuck to her ideals of providing a safe environment for all the faculty, staff and students that work at this campus every day. If you want to blame someone, Mr. Esposito, blame Al-Arian for exclaiming his own personal views in the name of the University of South Florida.

Bobbi Almirola is a USF alumnus.

No excuse for the conduct of convicted priests

What is the world coming to when the purest place thought to be is where sexual abuse occurs? It is astonishing and unimaginable that 300 priests have now been suspended or have resigned since the abuse crisis erupted. So, is the Roman Catholic Church doing enough to combat abuse of children? I think not and so should the rest of society. How can a priest accused of sexual abuse be able to return to ministry? Is it because they deserve special privileges, or because our society won’t even begin to fathom that a priest could commit such disgusting, shocking crimes?

Let me start out by introducing some of these ex-priests. John J. Geoghan ignited the clergy sexual abuse scandal. He hid behind his collar and his position in the church to prey on young boys. Since 1995, more than 130 people have claimed Geoghan fondled or raped them during the 30 years he served as a priest. Almost all of his victims were grammar school boys, and one was just 4 years old. Geoghan regularly molested boys in their bedrooms. When confronted with the allegations, Geoghan would casually admit they were accurate. In the end, this ex-priest was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child molestation. Can 10 years in prison change a man’s sick way of looking at children? Geoghan confused these children into thinking that all was OK. That can’t be fair for the 130 people who have been affected by this man. Geoghan should be severely punished since there is tangible proof that he committed these sexual acts and also, he hasn’t denied a single allegation.

A Virginia Roman Catholic priest was indicted on four counts of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy. So, not only are priests abusing children sexually, but most accused priests have been acting in a homosexual manner. Doesn’t Catholicism say homosexual actions are sinful? Can it be true that some so-called devout Catholic priests, who know every verse in the Bible and preach them, are knowingly committing sinful acts? How can priests lecture what is right and wrong when they are committing those sins behind closed doors? It is wrong, and the Roman Catholic churches need to take some kind of remedial action immediately.

So, it all comes down to this important question: Should the church be changed to prevent future scandals? Should we accommodate those priests that feel the urge to behave in sexual manners with children? The Catholic church’s leadership has known of these abuses for years, yet it took a public outcry in order for them to be motivated to take remedial action. Now let me tell you the excuses that these priests have been giving. Some say they are lonely, and others say that their work is stressful. Being pedophiles doesn’t give these priests the special privilege to act in a sexual manner with children, especially in a church. Are these good enough reasons to molest a child, behave sexually in front of them or distort a child’s perception of what is right from wrong? No, I don’t think so.

If the 300 priests who committed sexual acts on children had one skill, it was manipulation.

Priscilla Patel is a freshman and a pre-med major.