The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 69.0°F | Fair

Society should not be isolated

To the Editor:

These columns are rarely used for much more than "flaming", even as the columnist S. Garfinkel noted (The Tech, 3/22). So I will not waste my time trying to be academic about my discussion.

I have spoken to many Africans at M.I.T., and I think I am justified in saying that your article was offensive towards Africans. I am particularly appalled at the offhanded manner in which you dismiss "three or four million starving Africans." Mr. Garfinkel, you are talking about human life here. And do not tell me that a missile or the Star Wars program is worth more than human life!

Anyway, apparently you are not alone in imagining that you live in an isolated society. The other day someone else claimed (in The Tech) that he was "tired of hearing about Apartheid." What is the matter? Even if the elections are over, and the pornographic movie has been shown -- despite all that heat! -- please desist from subjecting us to senseless scrutiny and sick jokes.

Mr. Garfinkel, firstly, the song "We are the ones, we are the children" was intended to help "starving Africans" AND STARVING AMERICANS. Why did you not mention these starving Americans? Are you not tired of hearing about them? What about Street People? Why? Where do you live? Maybe you sincerely believe that only Africans can starve.

Secondly, and this goes to that other "tired of hearing about S. Africa" guy: Your ancestors may have fought for their freedom -- as a result of which you too are free -- South Africans (the real ones) are still fighting for theirs, and Africans are more aware of the economic, cultural, and even spiritual domination that they are subjected to from the Northern Hemisphere. Have you ever asked yourself (probably not!) why Africans should be busy dying at the hands of police and the army in S. Africa, and due to starvation in Ethiopia while Americans are busy living life to the fullest possible? Or is it that African life really is worth so little?

Finally, even though America raises you to "overlook" the welfare of others (seemingly so to me at least), just remember that you live in a society and must derive your livelihood from it. And it is this same society that carries so much human suffering. The suffering may be unpalatable but you cannot run away from it. America is just part of the society of world nations.

Even if you think we deserve to starve to death while you guys arm yourselves against "the Soviet threat," please stop depicting us as worthless people who have nothing better to do with our lives. Let those who feel that it is a moral responsibility to preserve human life when it is within one's power do so. And if you must write such articles, please be cautious and consider Africans might be offended -- just as surely as you would if you were in our shoes.

Karanja Gakio '88->