Protesters Should Be Careful With Their Claims

Christopher Danzig

Christopher DanzigThe Daily Northwestern

As I exited Harris Hall on Wednesday afternoon, I walked through a large group of students gathered at The Rock for a protest.Generally, protests occur to fight about a contentious issue. Perhaps a moral quandary with no simple answer or a divisive political dispute (think abortion or gay rights). The subject of this assembly, however, was not one of those debatable problems. These students were protesting genocide.”Come rally against genocide! Genocide sucks!” shouted one student at passersby.Maybe I’m na’ve, but everyone I know agrees that genocide is bad. It’s not a tough call. Despite Sudanese resistance, the United Nations has announced plans to send several thousand peacekeepers to the region in addition to the African Union troops already stationed there. Even President Bush condemned the Darfur killings as genocide as early as June 2005 – while much of the international community, including the UN, was still sidestepping the label.The organization behind Wednesday’s protest, NU Darfur Action Coalition, is asking Northwestern to stop funding companies that allegedly do business in Sudan. They are soliciting campus support for their cause by passing out angry, albeit vague, postcards petitioning University President Henry Bienen to “Divest from genocide.” A drop box in Norris for cards that students have signed claims, “Your tuition dollars are funding the genocide in Darfur.”To say NU is directly funding mass killings is not only overzealous but also irresponsible. The financial situation between NU and Sudan is not that black and white. NUDAC’s postcards don’t add much credibility to the organization’s case, either. The random words bolded throughout the petition bring to mind agitprop, and vague language makes accusations against the university less than credible.Genocide obviously “sucks.” And there are productive ways to fight against it, but waging a propaganda war against NU is not one of them.- Christopher DanzigDeputy Forum editorEvangelical faith survey tasteless and too soonThe door-to-door evangelizing by some campus groups is annoying enough. But when they incorporate the Virginia Tech shootings into their sales pitch, it becomes downright tasteless.Two students from Cru. went door to door last week in Shepard Residential College, asking students to take a survey. An innocuous enough request, but like most Cru. surveys it quickly turned into an interrogation about faith. The coup de grace? The pair wondered whether students thought that the Virginia Tech shootings would have happened had Seung-Hui Cho been a Christian.God help us. This “survey” happened the week of the shooting. It’s still too early now to speculate what exactly set Cho off, much less what could have prevented it. But in this void of information, these Cru. members draw a dangerous inference that Christianity could have saved Cho and the 32 students he killed.Christians are no less predisposed to acts of violence than anyone else if the abortion clinic bombings of the mid-’90s are any indication. Even Cru.’s parent organization, Campus Crusade for Christ, alludes, perhaps unintentionally, to Christian violence in the name of God.Each group, religious or not, has its killers and fanatics. Cru.’s holier-than-thou attitude does little to address the problem. Many evangelists make it their life’s work to bring people into Christianity. They just need to be a little more tactful in the face of tragedies like Virginia Tech.- Dan FletcherAdministration beat reporter