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Letter from the editors



It's 4 am Monday morning, and something's up. Arguments and agreements change the course of our discussion as easily as the word processor changes the sentence. The colloquium is coming.

Apartheid. It is the evil repression of the majority of people in South Africa. Over the past year, the issue has intensified at MIT. Attendance at political rallies on campus has risen. Students are asking the administration to examine MIT's investments in companies doing business in South Africa. The MIT Corporation contends that divestment would not change the political situation there.

It's Monday afternoon. The Institute Colloquium Wednesday and Thursday could mark the beginning of serious discussion on this issue. But the colloquium will not succeed if few students participate in it. It will not succeed if the MIT Corporation remains oblivious to the words of speakers on any side of the debate. The words must not fall on deaf ears.

The issue of apartheid is vital to our times. The South African government is clearly persecuting the majority of its people. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly absurd for the United States to justify its business interests there.

"Action, not words," someone says.

What action and what role can the campus newspaper take in this debate? As writers, we are accustomed more to words than action. Can we wear our words much like protesters wear their armbands? Perhaps the best action to take is to provide an open forum for views on apartheid.

The newspaper's goal is to inform the students and the MIT community on the issue as well as it can. In these pages, we tried to provide the views of some of MIT's experts on South Africa.

We hoped to determine the political, economic and moral dilemmas that stem from South Africa's apartheid policies.

We hoped to spark interest in the upcoming colloquium.

We are still hoping that words can make a difference. But it is quickly becoming apparent that words mean little in the case of Pretoria. In the end, violence overcomes words, information, reason.

It's midnight Monday, and something's up. The clock strikes. We work as hard as we can, with the time that we've got. Watch the hands, look at the hands. Time is running out.