Hezbollah not so nice
I was a little disappointed with Geoff Bendeck’s column, “GW Expat: Face to Face with Hezbollah.” While I do not understand how study abroad status makes him an expat, it is not so important to me.
What I am concerned with are his analysis and assessments, which I believe to be questionable. Bendeck asserts that, “Other than being hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, Hezbollah members seem pretty nice.” In that case, I will make sure to invite some Hezbollah members to Shabbat dinner at my parents’ house where they can regale us with heartfelt tales of embassy bombings and kidnappings. Good times.
In the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Hassan Nasrallah, the current leader of Hezbollah said, “Death to America is not a slogan. Death to America is a policy, a strategy and a vision.” Nevertheless, I guess as long as they like sports, Hezbollah is a nice group of guys. Spring Break ’06 – Bekaa, I cannot wait.
Bendeck states that he “knows” that there will not be a return to violence in Lebanon and that the Lebanese are generally concerned with a national identity rather than an ethnic/religious one. These conclusions are based on a weekend of research and a Shi’a Muslim that supports Syrian involvement and a Maronite Christian that does not. These ethnic/political alignments likely are not hard to come by and do not sufficiently explain anything. While Bendeck’s optimistic prophecies may prove to be accurate, they are hardly credible.
Although these authentic conversations may have been fascinating to the author, they do not indicate a decisive end to violence in Lebanon. Such limited interactions and research may be helpful in developing judgments and writing about the lives of a few individuals in southern Lebanon, however, they are not adequate material for predicting the future of a Middle Eastern country.
I am not claiming that Geoff Bendeck’s writing is without value. As a student of the Middle East, I am very interested in reading about his experiences in the region: think blog. However, he should hold off on the generalizations and the grand predictions, at least for now. I hope Mr. Bendeck enjoys his time in the Middle East.
-Scott Liftman, alumnus
Unannounced and unwarranted
The University’s new policy of seizing private property during unannounced and unwarranted searches is absolute nonsense.
Simply notifying students that they will be subject to intrusive searches without just cause does not change the fact that the searches are wrong. Health and safety cannot be promoted through a series of random room intrusions that ignore such clear hazards as matches, lighters, kitchen knives and the other perils of quasi-adult living.
GW also ignores the fact that due to their unannounced and unscheduled nature the searches are unacceptably intrusive. My own personal experience testifies to this fact, as the individuals who searched my room took the liberty of letting themselves into my room while I was in the shower.
If the goal of the University is to improve the safety of student living, the means should be through education, improvement of facilities and an appeal to common sense.
-Chris Hanley, sophomore