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A Call for Cooperation

In the Mail


To the Editors of The Crimson:

Over the past few weeks, a number of editorial pieces were published in The Crimson regarding the situation in the Middle East. I was surprised by the prejudiced anti-Arab writings of certain organizations and individuals on campus. In his article "Arab Activists Massacred the Facts," Joseph Enis refers to Palestinians as having "rudely reminded the world that they still exist and can stir up trouble with the best."

In another issue, Yvette C. Alt, co-chair of the Harvard Israel Public Affairs Committee (HIPAC), was quoted as saying, "We don't fundamentally disagree with the view that Arabs shouldn't be killed."

I don't want this letter to sound like another rebuttal to previous articles. I don't believe that would solve anything or decrease the level of hostility that exists in our community. In the October 16th issue of The Crimson, Seth Tapper and Michael Cooper, both Jews, mentioned how sad they are that the beautiful Jewish minds and souls are lost to hate and ignorance and that American Jews have been forced "to abandon the central Jewish values of reason and compassion in order to defend Israel's immoral acts."

As an Arab, being touched by these words, I was reminded that there is more to the Jewish people than merely 42 years of a state of war between Israel and the Arab world. These years have been ones of devastating, hard and miserable times.

As members of a highly intellectual community and also members of two nations in conflict, we must take advantage of this opportunity of living together in a peaceful and stable setting. We must work together on issues related to the Middle East and try to understand and comprehend each other's opinions with an open mind.

The Society of Arab Students (SAS) and I believe that the best goal we can achieve in our years at Harvard is to break the psychological barrier between Jews and Arabs on campus and try to advance one step beyond what our leaders failed to achieve.

Neither slaying more unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank nor killing innocent Israeli civilians would solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Articles published by one student organization attacking another will lead nowhere; it will only increase the level of hostility and anger between the different groups on campus.

The main aim of SAS is to familiarize the Harvard campus with the true values of the Arab society and fight the biased stereotype of Arabs that prevails in the West. We are not established to criticize the Jewish organizations on campus nor to promote pro-Saddam slogans.

Therefore, on behalf of SAS, I would like to extend an open invitation to the members of the Jewish community and the Students for a Free Kuwait to join us in our meetings and work with us as one team for one purpose--peace in the Middle East.

We all have families or people we love in that area of the world; we can only do them good by actually working as a team for a solution (even if at our humble position) and for a better understanding of each other. It is sad to see all this hard work wasted quarreling over concepts that we all strongly believe in. Hazem Ben-Gacem '92   Society for Arab Students

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