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Week of 24 September 2004 · Vol. VIII, No. 4

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Boston Herald: Smile, you’re on camera

Several thousand surveillance cameras have been installed in the streets of downtown Boston and along transportation routes through the city since 9/11. During the Democratic National Convention, the cameras positioned on traffic lights, lampposts, and rooftops all fed into a single command post from which local, state, and federal authorities viewed pedestrian and traffic activity, reports the September 12 Boston Herald. That level of surveillance alarms civil liberties activists and others who fear a loss of privacy. City officials, meanwhile, say the cameras are necessary to combat terrorism. “Technology allows government to be in more places than ever before,” says Tracey Maclin, a LAW professor and a constitutional scholar, in the article. “People will just have to get used to it.”

Washington Post: Wiesel down on decision ’04

“I’ve been living in this magnificent democracy since 1956,” writes Elie Wiesel, BU’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a UNI professor of philosophy and religion, in an editorial in the September 14 Washington Post. “As a foreign correspondent for some time, I had the opportunity to watch the two parties campaign in a number of presidential races . . . In every case, the supporters and spokesmen of both the incumbent and the opposition expressed themselves with ardor, conviction, and dedication. But never with such violence as we see today.”

Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner and an international human rights advocate, says that “in personalizing” the presidential contest, the campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry have debased it.

“Nonetheless, the two candidates are right to call this election one of the most, perhaps even the most, important in recent American history . . . ” he writes. “So many questions await their response, so many wounds must be healed, so much anguish weighs upon humanity. The whole world agrees that international terrorism represents a mortal menace for many countries and cultures. How do we proceed to uncover it, isolate it, and conquer it? How do we understand its roots? Is poverty the cause? Is it nationalist or religious fanaticism? America is waiting for an authentic and superior national debate on all these points. How long must we wait?”

Gulf News: Muslim cult of warrior empowers bin Laden

A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that Pakistanis overwhelmingly support Osama bin Laden as well as their nation’s president, Pervez Musharraf. How can roughly 85 percent of Pakistanis support both bin Laden and a man considered a vital U.S. ally in hunting for him? The contradiction “speaks volumes about the general state of confusion in parts of the Muslim world, including Pakistan,” writes Husain Haqqani, a College of Arts and Sciences associate professor of international relations, in a September 15 Gulf News editorial.

“Instead of hard analysis, which thrives only in a free society, Muslims are generally brought up on propaganda, which is often state-sponsored,” he writes. “This propaganda usually focuses on Muslim humiliation at the hands of others instead of acknowledging the flaws of Muslim leaders and societies. The focus on external enemies causes Muslims to admire power rather than ideas. Warriors, and not scholars or inventors, are generally the heroes of common people in the Muslim world. Thus, for the man who likes both Musharraf and bin Laden, both are warriors against external enemies. In a simplistic ‘us and them’ worldview, it is quite possible to admire a terrorist for attacking the United States and a general for managing to get large amounts of aid from the U.S. for fighting the terrorists.”


24 September 2004
Boston University
Office of University Relations