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Letters to the Editor

Event didn’t receive due coverage

I would like to know exactly why The Oracle could not spare a few minutes for a very important event held on campus on March 19. It was not only a forum held by the Arab American Student Alliance and Leadership to educate students, faculty members, and the public; it also emphasized the media as an important part of our society that remains bias ed and one-sided.

I find this issue very important especially in recent times of war and turmoil and so did the 150 people who showed up. Yet, I find it ironic that our main form of media on campus chose not to cover a forum about the media.

But how can the public and students at USF gain this kind of knowledge when the newspaper on campus does not show up to report it? Especially at the university level, where students are allowed to become active and express their opinions. Yet, what good are their opinions when they are not heard?

All those that missed this beneficial forum missed out on two intellectual speakers with astounding backgrounds in the role Arabs play in the media. Allison Weir, a journalist from California who spent time in Palestine and Israel and was an eyewitness on both sides of the conflict. Not only were there miscalculations and lack of reporting on the Palestinian’s deaths, there was a whole other perspective of a people under occupation that is highly ignored by the American Media. Alongside Weir was Hussein Ibish, who is the media director for ADC, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, one of the country’s biggest Arab lobbies. He also has been featured on CNN as well as many other cable networks. He re-emphasized the American media’s bias approach to reporting actual news taking place in the Middle East.

Clearly, the filtered information we are fed leaves us confused and curious to know the truth. But I do find informational and educational forums like these very beneficial especially in recent times of media bias of the foreign world. They are constructive and productive and ultimately allow us to hear alternative facts and perspectives and let us judge for ourselves in the end.

Joumana Saad is a freshman majoring in mass communications.

Volunteer a glimmer of light in dark world
Re: “Saving their soles, sending them south” March 30

Sometimes watching the news or reading the newspaper can be a scary thing. Nowadays, we don’t know which major city will be the target of terrorism, how many are dying in Iraq or Afghanistan or what the next attack John Kerry is going to make against George W. Bush. We are living in a dark era; an era of fear, mistrust and war, and all of that is reflected in the media.

But it was a pleasure to read The Oracle’s cover story by Vanessa Garnica. It was a ray of light in the middle of darkness to read about the efforts of fellow student, Tiffany Sanchez, to improve the living conditions of poor children in Honduras. It is inspiring to know that there are people out there that are not indifferent to the suffering of others who have less than we do.

What this article should teach us is that there are many anonymous heroes out there changing the world little by little with hard work and love. These people are not waiting for recognition, because their labor is not driven by ego, but by pure love for humanity.

That’s why I want to congratulate Garnica for her great article. I would love to read more articles like that one in the near future. And to Sanchez, I’m proud you are an USF student. I’m proud of your admirable work.

Roberto Jiménez is a junior majoring in Spanish.

College FCAT waste of time and money

I understand that sometime this spring, there will be a vote to decide whether or not an FCAT-like test will be administered to graduating students of Florida’s universities.

First off, the whole idea of having to take yet another test on top of all the other tests that students have taken just to get into college means that you can’t graduate just because of some backward bureaucratic measure.

All through high school, prospective college-bound students study and test their hearts out just to get into the university system, now we have to be tested because of … no good reason whatsoever. Whose brilliant reasoning decided that a test to get out of college was necessary to begin with? After all, USF is capable of judging its own without the help of a state-mandated test.

Besides, the accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools should be more than adequate — especially when the University puts its students through the ropes, so to speak.

Personally I am confused by the whole idea to begin with. Testing, testing and more testing. I have enough tests to worry about as it is, why do I need more?

Let’s face facts: Those who have graduated before us did not necessarily have to take a test to “test” out of college. That red tape just keeps getting thicker. “Leave no child behind;” where have I heard that before?

I say that the Bush boys and their friends in government, local or not, have just about bitten off more than they can chew. Enough is enough; this whole testing out of college debacle is nonsense and needs to be shot down. I can’t help but wonder how much money will be wasted on this ridiculous venture?

Ian Knox is a junior majoring in history.

Liars deserve theircomeuppance

The latest episode of Martha Stewart Living, more aptly dubbed “Martha Stewart Lying,” the show teaches us that cooking up lies based on insider tips may not be the best recipe for successful living! Sitting on her patio in East Hampton awaiting her sentencing hearing on June 17, Martha has plenty of time to reflect upon the decision she made to attempt to cover up her illegal act. Her once billion-dollar empire and peerless image are now botched like a fallen-angel cake in the oven.

It’s distressing and humiliating — a moment when one must answer for one’s own actions. Those who panic may resort to a shortsighted, illogical solution and lying. But, isn’t lying amoral? Say one conforms to current trends in the celebrity world, i.e. Bill Clinton. The former president of our country, the man who should be exemplary, caught in a lie. Thereby, Clinton seemed to be letting Americans know that dishonesty is permissible. But, people observed that the repercussions from his lying caused major damage to Clinton’s reputation.

When wrong doings are brought to light, those who cannot accept responsibility resort to lying. He or she will continue lying. Then the severity of punishment will be greater after than if one had stopped initially — as was the case with Martha Stewart who can now add charges of obstructing a government probe to the initial charges of insider trading.

Lying can permeate into other aspects of a person’s life, like tainting relationships with peers and family and dishonoring a family’s integrity for generations to come.

Honesty is unquestionably more fulfilling. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, when accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, responded with an honest public apology. This behavior absolved his character, and helped to bring him back into favorable opinion with the public. Perhaps it is the reason he was elected governor of California.

Honesty requires integrity. Many outstanding people are admired for their good character such as George Washington, for admitting he chopped down the cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln, who walked many miles to return a small amount of change to a customer.

Honesty should be inherent and valued, although in today’s society it is seemingly forgotten. It is unfortunate that our celebrities, athletes and politicians have not set better examples. Perhaps the media should focus on the ethical and defame the immoral for a change. As a result, better values could be instilled.

Bill Higgins is a senior majoring in biomedical science and economics.