4 Opinion

The Pioneer Log, February 4, 2011

In last week’s edition of the Pioneer Log, an Opinion article stated that Contextualizing Aesthetics could be rented for $50 at the campus bookstore and $30 at Campusbookrentals.com. The writer meant to reference the book Animal Behavior, which can be rented for $51.70 at the campus bookstore and $36.51 at Campusbookrentals.com. Contextualizing Aesthetics is not available for rent at the campus bookstore, but can be purchased new for $143.35 or used for $103.25. Campusbookrentals.com rents the book for $101.40.

Hunger Banquet addressed problems; we need to address causes
Staff Writer

Continued from Page 1 This is not the right approach for a few reasons. It draws the “good food movement” into the fire of anti-government interference types. Distinguishing between cause and correlation in the obesity epidemic has proven incredibly difficult, and to limit individual freedoms based on something we don’t really know is a dangerous game. It’s also worth noting that cheap calories from McDonald’s are bet-

ter than no calories at all, for those put into desperate situations. Still, problems do have causes, and those causes need to be addressed. But let individuals do that for themselves, and do it voluntarily with greater awareness or better options. Plans to require fast food chains to have calorie information posted in their menus are an excellent start. Or, imagine a government-sponsored “perfect information act,” which would take advantage of open-source internet tools and improved computer technology to let consumers scan barcodes of food products while they’re shopping to learn

about their nutrition, source or production. Such changes allow people to take responsibility for their own decisions rather than have decisions made for them. It will not solve the problem, but it is a much better start— and far more politically expedient— than jumping right to bans. One must start with information, then adjust prices for externalities through sin taxes (as on soda). But don’t ban what people eat, especially when they may truly need the cheap food, despite other costs. Fund better options and more awareness. A voluntary switch from “bad” to “good” food is far better than one that is imposed.

McDonald’s was fed to some of the attendees of this year’s Banquet.

Haiti: Rebuilding one year after the quake
News Editor


Students fill their plates with a low-cost vegetarian spagetti dinner option.

The Tern: Egyptian revolution
A weekly column dedicated to spreading awareness about social justice issues
Staff Writer

There are earthquakes rumbling around Haiti every day— sometimes every few hours. Most of these quakes end up being in the 3.0 to 5.0-magnitude range, but occasionally (and unpredictably), a large one strikes, as it did Jan. 12 with a jarring magnitude of 7.0. These ambient quakes happen all around Haiti and the surrounding islands every day, but when we refer to the Haiti Earthquake, we think of the one last year that left nearly 200,000 people dead (many still buried in the rubble) and destroyed most of the island nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The city is still largely in shambles, the media has moved on for the most part and pundits and politicians alike wonder how the poorest nation in the Northern Hemisphere will ever really recover. The Haitians, despite deeply troubled circumstances, are slowly rebuilding, rekindling a city as so many have before them, right in the same spot. I struggle immensely with prescribing any sort of future for Haiti. A well-intentioned seismologist may suggest more robust architecture or total relocation. An urban planner may advise that the density of people is too high, and imagine a different city rising from the rubble. We all have our own thoughts and hopes for the future of a few hundred thousand dislocated people and families. The Haiti earthquake can be seen as a microcosm for the sorts of questions we will be asking as the century progresses. How will we respond to increasing environmental threats? Will we continue to live and work in high-risk areas? What will our responses to natural disasters say about the place of a harsh and wild nature within our psyche?

Revolution. This zeitgeist invokes the words of Walt Whitman: “Come my tan-faced children; Follow well in order, get your weapons ready; Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes? Pioneers! O pioneers! All the past we leave behind; We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world; Fresh and strong the world we seize; World of labor and the march; Pioneers! O pioneers!” Self-proclaimed revolutionary movements have been ignited all over the world in the past year. Student protests attacked the royal family in England, occupied universities in California, shut down schools in Puerto Rico and blocked the G20 in Toronto. But the revolution on everyone’s mind is only two weeks old. Tunisia’s popular uprising sparked a wave of Middle Eastern resistance when a man self-immolated out of frustration from the repression that he had faced when authorities seized his produce cart and beat him in public. This revolutionary suicide catalyzed revolt in Tunisia against the authoritarian Ben Ali government, which has now been ousted. Lewis & Clark student Zein Hassanein (’13) is an Egyptian citizen and was in Tunisia one week before the uprising. His family is currently living in the wealthy Maadi neighborhood near Cairo. “When I saw what happened in Tunisia, I said ‘this is going to hit everywhere,’ and I don’t know if I really believed it when I said it, but now that I’m seeing it… It’s something that should have happened a long time ago, and it’s a really exciting time to be from that region, because only people from that region really understand how dire conditions there were and are,” said Hassanein Egyptians are proud of the fact that their movement

has been leaderless and grassroots— a truly popular anarchist revolution— and the country has taken inspiring steps in unity. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood has recently endorsed a secular public figure, Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, to be the spokesperson for the opposition coalition now called the “April 6 Movement” (ElBaradei is scheduled to speak at the Arlene Schnitzer on April 4th. For $5 tickets, go to the ASLC Community Relations Committee). “I just hope that people notice it,” said Hassanein, “and realize that if people living in a dictatorship, in a country where people disappear, are not afraid to stand up and unite, we in a country that’s a lot more developed and civilized and educated can do something to reform OUR country… we have more power than we think we do.” This moment is the first serious potential for Middle Eastern democracy in decades. “My dad’s really excited despite the fact that they’re stuck in their house… he’s like ‘Zein, I’m so glad that you’re going to get to see another president in this country!’ My sister has started calling herself a ‘child of the revolution.’ And from everyone I hear, of all ages, there’s just this air of excitement. It seems to me that everybody is happy that this is going on.” Of course, supporters around the world worry that the revolution will be stopped, or worse, destroyed from the inside. When asked who the enemies of the revolution are, Hassenein responded, “Enemies of the revolution? Not a person, a thing: it’s corruption. The country is used to corruption… the only thing that I think could really stop the revolution is people getting greedy. Corruption has been the fatal flaw of Egyptian governments in general.” No matter where the revolution goes tomorrow, we are reminded, at least for today, that it is a joyful time to be alive.



But the questions we are asking stem from a long tradition of humans contextualizing natural disasters into their histories. Haitians, along with the rest of the world, are struggling with one of the most fundamental human questions— why? Why did this happen here, and why right now? Though geologists can expertly explain the fault line and the process that gave rise to a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, that answer is only one part of the response to the question of “why?” Lacking a complete answer, the streets of Port-au-Prince are full once again with people, street-side vendors looking over pyramids of mangoes, men out hauling wood and metal for buildings, children kicking around a deflated soccer ball. The city breathes in and out, and continues to heal each day. There’s a saying in Haiti that many journalists and travelers have reported on, often suggesting it as a sort of de facto national slogan. It goes, “Dèyè mòn, gen mòn,” which roughly means, “Beyond mountains, there are mountains.” Whether or not this suggests that Port-Au-Prince could physically be rebuilt somewhere “beyond the mountains” and out of harm’s way, or if, more touchingly, it is a manifesto of unremitting hope in the face of disappointing reality, is for the Haitian who speaks it to decide.