Attacks may endanger
quality of life, profs say
By Koroush Ghanean
Daily Cougar Staff
UH economics professor Barton Smith offered
UH community members advice Tuesday about what to do to maintain financial
security in the uncertain economic environment following September's terrorist
attack. Smith was one of four faculty members who participated in the third
and final of a series of symposiums discussing issues stemming from the
Johnny Kow/The Daily Cougar
UH faculty members (from
left) Tatcho Mindiola, Barton Smith, David Dow and Ray Ellis discuss "Prospects
for Quality of Life in America" at a Tuesday
The other participants in the forum, titled
"Prospects for Quality of Life in America," were Mexican-American studies
professor Tatcho Mindiola, law
professor David Dow and hotel and restaurant
management professor Ray Ellis. College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Achenbaum moderated the discussion.
"The preparations for the hard times must
begin in the good times," Smith said. "If we haven't realized (how) to
learn from the business cycles of the
past, then hopefully we will learn from
Smith went on to say that the recession
the country is beginning to face was not caused by the terrorist acts but
only sped up by them.
"This recession is going to be less severe
than the one of 1991 and '92," he said. "Unemployment is not going to be
nearly as high as the figures of that
Mindiola discussed the promotion of inter-group
harmony after Sept. 11. He began by dissecting the concept of race relations.
"It strikes me that race and ethnic relations
seem to be the same, differing only in intensity and the intensity of the
consensus," he said. "One group
dislikes another group. One group lives
segregated from another group. And all groups are clambering for representation
in all form(s) and level(s) of
government, whether that government is
here in the United States or perhaps even in Afghanistan."
Mindiola went further, disclaiming the
recently passed Antiterrorism Act, which calls for the surveillance and
unlimited detainment of suspected
"This law is an example of racial profiling,
which is apparently in style again," Mindiola said. "This (law) is not
only racial but also gender-oriented, the
suspects being predominantly male."
Dow spoke of reconciling the need for security
with the protection of civil liberties.
"On Sept. 11, two things happened. First,
there was a tragedy, then there was an opportunity."
That "opportunity" was the new alliances
formed outside the nation's borders in the Middle East, alliances that
would have been unimaginable five
Dow spoke harshly about new laws which,
he said, violate individual civil liberties.
"Despite there being seeds of hope (in
the world after Sept. 11), the early indications are far from hopeful,"
he said. "The United States is losing. Far
from spreading the ideas of democracy
into erstwhile authoritarian societies, we are actually embracing the repressive
tactics of those societies."
He went on to speak of the Antiterrorism
Act, which allows the Justice Department to detain any aliens, even legal
residents of the United States, whom
the Attorney General says are suspected
of terrorism. These prisoners could be held indefinitely, and authorities
are not required to provide anyone
with their reasons for doing so.
"There are currently at least 1,000 people
who are being held — I say 'at least' because nobody outside the Justice
Department knows the true
number," Dow said. "President Bush has
also authorized military trials for suspected terrorists, which would be
held in secret without any jurors and
without any requirement to establish guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt. This is how trials were conducted in China and
the old Soviet Union gulag."
Ellis discussed the re-establishment of
public confidence in travel and tourism.
He said prospects for the future were hopeful,
citing the statistic that four out of five American business travelers
were moving back to the use of
airplane services in the country.
"Since (Sept. 11) I have been on 20 airplane
rides around the world," Ellis said. "We're looking at rather a strange
phenomenon throughout the nation,
and we have overreacted, as Dr. Dow has
indicated, we have overreacted in the (tourism) industry as well."