The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 15, 1995, Page 5, Image 5

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Poor pay for summit circus
While 13 million children under
5 years old die each year of
starvation and curable diseases, the
United Nations finds nothing better
to do than spend $30 million to
organize a world summit to discuss
the problems of the Third World.
Last week Copenhagen, Den
mark, was the stage upon which
unfolded yet another farce directed
by the masterminds of the United
Nations. The leaders from 184
countries gathered in the Danish
capital to participate in a useless
and wasteful display of demagogu
ery and neglect. In doing so, they
spent millions of that precious cash
that the United Nations claims it
needs to feed the starving children,
to feed and pamper the corrupt
leaders of those same countries.
Make no mistake about it, even
well before the summit, both sides
knew that no useful policy would
come out of this circus. TTie
representatives of the industrialized
countries had specific directives to
not concede any discount on the
$1.4 trillion debt that plagues the
“poor” countries.
If we believe in numbers,
Washington’s 20 percent cut in aid
and the European Community’s
equal restrictions would have given
clear policy indications well before
the summit. What is even more
ironic, or disconcerting, is that the
poor countries will end up paying
for the Danish feast.
The starving of the world can
rest assured, knowing that their
money is well spent to give their
beloved leaders a mind-clearing
vacation. But the mind is not the
only concern of the delegates; in
Simon Uvoranl
fact, the numerous strip bars in
Copenhagen are gearing up for an
expected sellout by hiring extra
help and extending their hours.
So, like a big, happy family, the
delegates agreed on thekieed to
make the world a better place, end
misery and live in peace. Words
are beautiful, and too often we get
blinded by their shine, but more
than two millennia ago, Cicero
warned us about empty speeches.
“Verba volant, scripta manent,”
he said. Roughly translated, that
means, “Words fly if they are not
written.” Of course the rich
delegates knew that very well and
accurately avoided signing any
compromise. The half-hearted
attempt of the delegates from the
developing countries to convince
the industrialized countries to
cancel the debt was demeaning
and pathetic, given the air of
neglect that surrounded the summit.
The absences of Bill Clinton, John
Major and Boris Yeltsin, leaders of
three of the five permanent member
nations in the U.N. Security
Council, plunged this summit in the
sea of oblivion well before its
This summit proved once more
the inefficiency, if not incompe
tency, of a bureaucratic mastodon
called the United Nations. This
black hole of the international
community devours billions in its
futile attempts to gain credibility. It
is nothing more than a useless
institution where charity mixes
with monetary interests, a sort of
magnified version of ASUN, to
create an example closer to home.
Forgive my criticism, but for
many years we have heard the same
rhetoric from the same people
while the-poor countries are
actually becoming poorer.
The nice words of U.N. Secre
tary-General Bhoutros Bhoutros
Ghali will not alleviate the hunger
pains of a starving individual, but
the money spent for his share of the
inaugural banquet would have fed
an entire family for a month.
Since we are on the theme of
useless spending, some delegates
apparently got off at the wrong
airport. They apparently misunder
stood the theme of the gathering
and took advantage of the occasion
to show their opulence and bad
taste. For example, the president of
the United Arab Emirates, Sheik
Zayed ben Sultan Al-Nahyan,
rented a villa for about $36,000 and
spent $180,000 to redecorate it to
his own tastes. Or the son of
Kuwait’s Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmad
Al-Sabah, who rented a 100-room
castle for his sojourn.
So much for understanding the
plight of the poor.
Liverani is a senior advertising maj or and
a Daily Nebraskan columnist
Jokes hide fear of unknown
a mind is a terrible thing to joke
But I’ve noticed it’s easier for us
to joke about the things in life we
can’t understand.
For example, the brain is the
least understood organ in the body.
It can be compared to our universe
in the sense that so much of it is
undiscovered, and what is discov
ered can sometimes be overwhelm
ingly confusing.
But what does this confusion
mean? Is it that we aren’t capable
of understanding the immensity of
this obscure sort of knowledge, or
is it that it’s simply easier for us to
accept what is rational and disdain
the more bizarre, ungraspable
aspects of life?
One of the mind’s most studied
and least understood illnesses is
schizophrenia. My brother was
diagnosed with schizophrenia last
fall, and I have since been ponder
ing the way people react to these
inconceivable aspects of life.
Every attempt I make at unrav
eling its mysteries are curbed with
the disorder’s natural barriers. I
can’t even spell the term correctly
without using a dictionary. It’s as if
there can be nothing simple about
the word.
People call the illness crazy,
psychotic and insane. And it is, but
not in the way this slang negatively
implies. These words affect people
in a way cancer, blindness or any
physical handicap does not affect
people. It’s not that one illness is
more contagious or more curable
than the other. It’s the way people
fear the unknown — the mind.
We can recall the history of
witch hunts, how thousands of
young women were killed for
acting in bizarre and supposedly
satanic ways. Any freak occurrence
was attributed to the devil’s
intervention in these women’s
lives. People were on a rampage to
rid the world of these evils. Later,
we discovered it wasn’t the devil at
all; these were normal women,
some with illnesses, some just
unfairly accused.
Lara Duda
Yet, 1 know that some of my
elderly relatives with their big old >
hearts and their big old Bibles are
even now praying for God to
forgive my brother and to take
those nasty demons out of his head.
Nearly a million people are
treated for schizophrenia each year,
and two million will warrant a
diagnosis of the mental disorder at
some point in their lives.
That’s an awful lot of demons.
But you don’t hear about the
enormousness of the illness,
because people don’t want to know.
We hear about the rates of schizo
phrenia being much higher in lower
socioeconomic levels. But the
patterns vary so much in different
populations that sometimes we
don’t see the rates in our own
socioeconomic levels.
We attribute these characteris
tics to the poor because the poor
are separate from us. They are
already at a comfortable distance.
It is easier for us to make fun of die
strange behaviors of people
wandering the streets of every
major city in our nation than it is
for us to realize how many people
in our same social class have
similar disorders but may be taking
medication to hide the symptoms.
Overall, it’s a lot more conceiv
able for people to accept the cause
of cancer and blindness than to
understand why a person has
sporadic hallucinations or delu
The fear of the unknown makes
us uncomfortable, but the problem
exists in the fallacy of conceptions
people make of the unexplainable. I
see this all the time in everyday
conversation, in books and on
“Duda, you are such a psycho,”
someone told me yesterday.
It’s distressing to hear people so
concerned about following political
correctness for the handicapped and
minorities and so sympathetic
toward people with various ill
nesses, only to turn around and
joke about mental disorders.
This person said I was acting
like a psycho because I was slightly
temperamental one day, not
because I really am psychotic. I
knew what he meant, and he knew
what he meant. But how is it any
different from calling me deaf
because I might not hear something
someone says to me?
We’ve begun to stop calling
people deaf because those with
hearing disabilities haven’t been
afraid of defending themselves.
The mentally ill can’t always
defend themselves, and people
aren’t willing to accept their
illnesses as normal.
The complexity of mental
disorders varies, but schizophrenia
has continued to bear the brunt of
jokes and misconceptions about
mental illnesses.
Schizophrenia’s simplest
definition is a break from reality or
a tendency to have thought disor
der. It does not mean that a person
has a split personality or that he ch;
she has more than one personality.
There is a multi-personality
disorder, but it is very different
from schizophrenia.
Nevertheless, the fact is that
society is uninformed and happier
this way. Mental illnesses are hard
to grasp and much harder to accept
as being common.
Rising above the jokes and fear
of the unknown may ultimately
provide the acceptance, or at least
the respect, these very real people
with mental disorders deserve.
Dada k a jaalor acws-editortai aad Ea
gttifc aujor aad a Dally Nebraskaa coiamaist
Clinton complicates
Irish issue further
President Clinton has over- j
ruled the advice of most of his !
foreign policy advisers and I
allowed Gerry Adams to return
to the United States this week
and to conduct fund-raising
activities for his terrorist Sinn
Fein organization, which has
been responsible for the deaths
of innocent civilians in Britain
and Northern Ireland.
The White House says it has
been promised that money raised
by Adams will be used for
“peaceful purposes” and not for
weapons or further terrorist acts.
How would an American
president have reacted if Britain
had welcomed anti-war radicals
for fund-raising events in the
Talks among the British
government, IRA and Sinn Fein
(the IRA’s political arm) are still
in the initial stages. While the
IRA has pledged to halt terrorist
activity — and mostly lived up
to that pledge stffar — it
maintains a large stockpile of
weapons and explosives. It
continues to conduct practice
runs for terrorist acts, and it
engages in ‘^punishment beat
ings” on residents of Catholic
neighborhoods in Northern
The invitation to Adams
along with a luncheon in his
“honor” on Capitol Hill to mark
St. Patrick’s Day can only be
regarded as a crass appeal for
Irish votes in the United States.
In Britain and in Northern
Ireland — where the face of the
IRA does not wear a smile —
there are grave (pun intended)
reservations about Adams’
objectives and the impact his
U.S. welcome will have on
negotiations to end the conflict
between Britain and Northern
Ireland’s Protestant majority,
which wishes to remain British,
and the nation’s Catholic
minority, which seeks to unite
with the Irish Republic.
As in the Middle East, the
prospects for peace in Northern
Ireland are anything but certain.
Since the cease-fire, British
Prime Minister John Major has
repeatedly said that the IRA
would have to destroy a large
part of its arms stockpile —
especially in Semtex explosives
— before it could directly join
talks to discuss the future of
Northern Ireland. The decom
missioning-of-arms issue is now
the main sticking point in
moving the talks forward
between the British government,
Sinn Fein and the IRA. While
government ministers are
prepared to meet representatives
of Sinn Fein before any weapons
are destroyed, the government
claims its demands remain
Cal Thomas
unchanged. Those include the
acceptance of the principle of
progressive disarmament and an
agreement on verification
procedures, independent supervi
sion and methods of destruction
that the government wants to
The minister of Northern
Ireland, Michael Amcram, has
said, “Nobody else is going to sit
around the table with Sinn Fein
until they are convinced they are
committed to exclusively
peaceful methods and they have
decommissioned their arms in
order to achieve that.”
One of Sinn Fein’s negotia
tors, Martin McGuinness, told
the London Daily Telegraph
there should be no preconditions
to his party taking part in talks.
He added, “We accept that at
some stage in the future, arms
will have to be decommissioned
— that will be all the arms,
loyalists arms, unionist arms,
British army arms and IRA
arms.” That is an exercise in
moral equivalency. The terror
ism began with the IRA, and
only the IRA and its political
wing can put a halt to it.
While talks at the ministerial
level could begin before the
complete decommissioning of
arms by the IRA, the process of
decommissioning should start
before the talking does. As for
Gerry Adams, it is one thing to
allow him to visit this country.
That is in our tradition of free
speech. It is quite another to
“honor” him at a luncheon
attended by the president and the
speaker of the House. And it
borders on outrage that we -
would allow him to raise money
for an organization that has not
committed itself to peace.
The president is playing a
dangerous game. If Adams and
Sinn Fein get rid of their arms,
he could be seen as facilitating
the peace process. But if terror
ism begins again in Britain and
Northern Ireland, Adams’ trip
and the President’s decision to
allow him to raise money while
he’s here will be seen as subsi
dizing a continuing war against
innocent people and the British
government, our supposed close
(c) 1995 Los Angeles Times Symtttcate
Mike Luckovich