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Volume 68, Issue 155, Wednesday, July 9, 2003


What happened to friends?

Samira Zaidi
Opinion Columnist

Friends. What are they good for? In some cases, absolutely nothing.

Look at how friendship affected Saddam Hussein. In the beginning, he was able to cash in on the United States' amicable gestures of biological and chemical weapons -- and of course their financial help during the 1980s.

But in the end, who's running now? Who's people are fighting to live?

The only good thing that came out of the relationship between Saddam and the United States is the collection of trading cards portraying him and his posse manufactured by U.S. companies. Nothing says "friends forever" quite like a pack of cards featuring everyone's favorite enemy and labeled "Made in America".

Speaking of backstabbing friends, four teens beat a friend to death with a hammer in none other than the city of brotherly love--Philadelphia. A girl he liked, and was planning on introducing to his mother, lured Jason Sweeney to a secluded location.

There he was brutally attacked. As he lay dying, they took his wallet, split the five hundred dollars found inside, and "partied beyond redemption," said one.

"This is barbaric. This is something out of the Dark Ages. Friends. Friends! Over five hundred bucks," the judge said upon reviewing the case.

No one knows why the teens didn't just rob Sweeney instead of killing him. However, Sweeney's parents offer that their son was "growing beyond them as a good person."

As a teenager, sometimes your friends become more than just buddies you hang out with -- many can grow to be lifelines. When life gets tough, they offer a getaway ­ a chance to vent your feelings without being on trial.

But what makes friends kill one another for money?

We all hear that money is the root of all evil and we have examples: the Enron debacle, domestic diva Martha Stewart's fling with the law and frivolous lawsuits over hot coffee and no pillow on your airline seat.

Friends are unique because we choose their company. We aren't born with them and we aren't forced to like them. 

These stories need to be understood. When friends kill friends, children kill children, parents kill newborns, students kill teachers and spouses kill spouses, we need to understand why and how these intimate relationships turn into crime scenes.

Human beings can't possibly be shallow enough to let material possessions or wealth replace interpersonal bonds developed and strengthened over time.

It's a small world, I'll admit. I say we learn to live together in peace before there's no one left to enjoy a cup of coffee with, much less an old joke.

Zaidi, a senior communication major, 
can be reached at


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