Over the past month, two events concerning Israel’s role in the Middle East have occurred at MIT. While the forum sponsored by MIT’s School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences and the Social Justice Cooperative [sic] featuring Rabbi Weiss and Imam al-Asi has received most of the attention, an enlightening talk was held last Thursday. Without much fanfare or support by the MIT administration, women’s rights activist Yael Dayan spoke about sexual equality in Israel and the Middle East.
During my first year in the UA Senate, there were many people who had opinions, or sent me feedback, but Steve, a freshman on my hall, was the most interested in the actual work. He was talented when it came to understanding and analyzing, and suggesting courses of action for Institute and UA politics, so I often used him as a sounding board, and suggested that he should run for Senate himself.
Four years after entering the Second World War, the United States and her allies had responded to an existential threat by defeating the enemy on two fronts on opposite sides of the world. Four years after preemptively declaring war on Iraq, we are still mired in a conflict that has taken 3,211 American lives and those of at least 60,000 innocent Iraqi civilians. While the initial military defeat of the Iraqi army was relatively well-executed, there was a total lack of planning for the reconstruction of a functioning society. Senior Defense Department management expressed utter disdain for State Department plans to rebuild Iraq, and many of the problems faced today can be directly traced to the inept decision-making in the first days of the conflict. With this kind of track record, we must not allow President Bush to expand the war to Iran.
Prior to this year, many juniors did not know what kinds of events their class council was hosting. As Class of 2008 President this year, Martin Holmes has organized numerous sold-out events. From traveling council meetings to joint class events, Martin has surpassed all expectations to serve his class.
Lauren Oldja and Steve Kelch have already proven themselves to be responsible through their duties to the UA and other student groups, and I have great respect for both of them. They both act with the same high level of integrity on a personal level that they display through their work in student organizations.
In the March 6 obituary for Ronald H. Stowell, the wrong title was given to one source, who was named as "a representative of the Boston Police Executive Office of Public Safety." He should have been identified as a representative of the Executive Office of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Several people have already responded to the philosophical arguments in Rahmat Muhammad's March 9 column on the Veritas forum at MIT. Rather than continue the discussion on meaning, I would like to respond to Ms. Muhammad's characterization of the Veritas forum and her suggestion that such forums are inappropriate for the MIT community. I applaud Ms. Muhammad for bringing awareness to the possible pitfalls that might occur at the interface of science and religion. However, I feel that Ms. Muhammad's article misrepresented the nature of the Veritas forum in several ways that must be addressed.
I'm going to be quick and I'm going to be blunt: I support Lauren Oldja and Steve Kelch for President and Vice President of the Undergraduate Association. Why? They are best positioned to get the most done. End of story. You do not need to read further unless you want to know my basis for this opinion.
Over the past few years, the paean to the rapid expansion of emerging economies has reached a crescendo. The excitement is palpable and everywhere. And unlike the similar frenzy about “Asian Tigers” in the mid-90s, this seems to be no swan song. The fate of the first world is now inextricably linked with these countries. The debate if the world is, or should be flat is passé. The more interesting question concerns our impact in this world.
I would like to respond to Rahmat Muhammad’s letter entitled, “In Search of Meaning: Beyond the Veritas Forum.” Ms. Muhammad correctly states that the Veritas Forum on Science, Faith, and Technology sought to address whether religious belief, specifically a belief in Jesus Christ and Christianity, can exist in intellectual harmony with scientific pursuit. I am writing this letter because Ms. Muhammad affirms that resolving “the need for a meaningful life and a career in science” is an important issue. In addition, she welcomes critiques of her definition of “meaning,” which I will attempt to offer.
The March 6 article "CME Being Funded Another Year" mistakenly stated that applications for the Cambridge-MIT Exchange "are due in the next few weeks." Actually, the deadline has already passed and the evalution process has been started, although interested students can still contact their departments or the Study Abroad Office to submit an application, according to Malgorzata Hedderick, assistant dean for the Study Abroad Office.
Raffaela L. Wakeman's letter to <i>The Tech</i> ("Responses to Controversial Forum are Misleading") is, itself, misleading. Her letter was the latest in the ongoing debate over the event "Foreign Policy and Social Justice: A Jewish View, A Muslim View," at which an anti-Semitic Imam and an anti-Israel Rabbi were chosen to give the Muslim and Jewish views. Many people on campus feel that it was inappropriate to give that title to the event, as neither speaker has the support of the community he was held out as representing. Some also take issue with MIT-funded groups like the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences providing funding to an event for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel speakers. Others, including Ms. Wakeman, the VP of the Forum on American Progress (which co-sponsored the event), support it. She made six points to which I feel the need to respond.
Last week, MIT hosted the Veritas Forum on Science, Faith, and Technology, purportedly to address whether religious belief can be effectively reconciled with scientific pursuit. Veritas began with a Harvard group on a "quest for a life with hope, meaning, and purpose." The event's speakers (and its parent Web site) argued that the individual can and should believe in Christ, and did their best to convince non-religious but "meaning-seeking" members of the scientific community (and to reassure the religious) that belief in Jesus Christ and Christianity can satisfy both the need for a meaningful life and a career in science.
Ali S. Wyne’s Feb. 27 opinion article, “Defending Free Speech at MIT,” misses the point made by numerous students and alumni who protested the event “Foreign Policy and Social Justice: A Jewish View, A Muslim View.” Mr. Wyne states that “we cannot claim to support free speech if we only invite individuals whose views fall within an acceptable continuum.” While it is true that Dovid Weiss’ views fall far outside the views of any member of the MIT Jewish community — and indeed more than 99 percent of the world’s Jewish population—that is not the reason for opposition to Weiss speaking at the event. The MIT Jewish community so greatly opposed Weiss because he was brought under the guise of presenting a Jewish view, not the skewed, radical view he presented that is condemned by nearly every sect of Judaism worldwide.