I would like to comment on the article entitled “Speaker Triggers Controversy” in the Nov. 1 issue of the paper. I thought this article was irresponsible journalism and presented a great misconception of the events that actually took place on Oct. 30th.
The article’s title and majority of the article focused on the very small demonstration, seen in its entirety on the cover of the paper, rather than the truly important message: “We want peace.” The article also made very little mention of the content and importance of the words Dr. Gissin spoke. His speech focused on the principle of peace. Dr. Gissin’s first statement summed up the focus of his speech: “I come here as a messenger of peace, and I bring you a message of peace from Jerusalem.” Dr. Gissin expressed his passionate desire to go back to that time when Jews and Arabs lived in peace together. Then later in Dr. Gissin’s speech he made a statement and then repeated the exact same statement to make sure everyone heard him: “We are willing to make painful compromises for peace.” At no time did the article mention Dr.Gissin’s desire for Palestinians to reshape their government so that the Palestinian people can have a better life “in this world and not the next.”
I am glad there was mention of the heart-warming message of peace extended to Dr. Gissin by the Arab and Muslim groups on campus. It gave me hope in what seems like a hopeless situation. It made me wish that one day the rest of the world could see the example shown by the Arab and Muslim students at UM, and listen to the words of peace and tolerance spoken by Dr. Gissin, so that one day we may lift ourselves out of this tragic whirlpool into which we have so dangerously fallen.
I would hope that the media would act as a catalyst to this process of peace instead of being its main obstacle. I know the object of this article was to appeal to emotion by talking about the “controversy” and “conflict” that came with Dr. Gissin speaking, but in the present situation, more emotion is not what we need for a solution. In fact, it makes an already dangerous situation worse. The article should have been called something like “The Call for Peace”. It could have talked about Dr. Gissin’s speech by primarily focusing on peace and democracy. Of course the protest should be mentioned, but there is a much bigger message to get across. That is the message of PEACE.