3812 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77006
522-7911, ext. 200
co-educational, liberal arts
Registration January 12-14
Day, Night, Full-time, Part-time
25 areas of undergraduate study
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Business Administration
Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Business Administration
Master of Education
Master of Divinity
Master of Religious Education
Master of Theological Studies
Master of Arts (Philosophy)
Semester in Rome
NASA Cooperative Program
Army/Navy ROTC cross-enrollment
International Institutes Seminar
Extended Education Program
Traditional courses at
Courses a la Carte
Special interest non-credit courses
Financial Aid Available
The University of St. Thomas provides equal educational opportunities without regard to handicap,
race, color, sex and national or ethnic origin
No Matter What's Your Bac
Art, Music, Languages,
Sports of all sorts,
I In our current schedule, which youl
lean receive by calling 721-7299,]
I we offer a wide variety of classes.
I Some classes are free and registra-|
Ition is easy.
Coverage of human-rights violations is a journalistic obligation.
Since this is election time, I had planned
to write a column on the media coverage
of the presidential candidates: the home
stretch of the horse race, Tweedle-dum
and Tweedle-dee, a vote for Anderson is
a vote for Anderson, the Moral Majority
and the lesser of two evils, non- debates
and non-issues, Commoner's "Bullshit"
and all the obscenities of this venal campaign. But on October 16 I met Jacobo
Timerman. I prefer to write about him.
A special relationship exists between journalism and human
rights," wrote Jacobo Timer-
man, former publisher and editor of the Argentine daily La Opinon, in
the Columbia Journalism Review (May/
Timerman has personal experience of
that relationship: "... first as an editor
of a newspaper engaged in the human
rights struggle under a military dictatorship, then as a prisoner subjected to torture by that same government."
For 30 months - from April 1977
through September 1979 — Timerman
was held captive by the Argentine army.
He spent a year in various prisons, although he was never charged with any
crime nor brought to trial, and then 18
months under strict house arrest. Last
October, he was stripped of his citizenship and expelled from the country. He
now lives in Israel.
Timerman came to Houston, October 16, at the invitation of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, to speak
at the Jewish Community Center. At a
small press conference that afternoon, he
told of his experiences.
For the first 40 days of his imprisonment, he was tortured and interrogated.
Speaking in a soft, almost reticent voice,
he described the torture as "a very unusual experience." I was struck by the
awful chasm between the two realities of
experience — to be sitting in the dingy
gentility of the Houston Press Club (I
brushed two roaches from my chair during
the interview) while this 57-year-old man
in a business suit described his "unusual
experience": how he was repeatedly stripped naked, bound, doused with water and
subjected to electric shocks for pursuing
his profession as a journalist.
According to Amnesty International,
up to 20,000 people have 'disappeared'
in Argentina in the four years of the
Videla regime. Timerman regularly published the names of the desaparecidos in
his newspaper, and condemned acts of
terrorism. His home was bombed by extremists. Both the right and the left wanted him dead, leaving him to ask: "Which
side will get my body?"
Why did he not flee before his arrest?
asked one reporter. (Timerman knew several hours beforehand that he would be
arrested: "You don't spend 30 years as a
journalist without developing sources —
I had friends among the military.")
"Because I am a Jew," he replied. "Because of the humiliation that Jews have
suffered. I say no, enough, I stay. You
want to live with dignity."
BY GABRIELLE COSGRIFF.
Timerman credited the press with
saving his life and securing his
release. His family was able to
organize a network of information while he was in jail. He wrote in the
CJR: "Each time the Buenos Aires Herald
— the outspoken English-language daily —
published an article about my situation,
my wife and children distributed copies
to the international news agencies and to
foreign correspondents. They also telexed
these articles to papers throughout the
world." His wife also had Argentine journalists write articles, under a pseudonym,
for publication in foreign newspapers. Co-
There are committees: The Committee
of Mothers of Missing Journalists, The
Committee of Mothers of Missing Soldiers,
The Committee of Grandparents of Missing Grandchildren . . . Then there are the
Mad Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. They meet
every Thursday, explained Timerman, in
front of Government House. They stand
silently, holding placards with the names
of their missing children. Sometimes a police car drives up, and two or three of the
women are taken away. They "disappear."
The Mad Mothers continue to meet, silently, every Thursday in front of the
Former editor of an Argentine daily, Jacobo Timerman addresses reporters at the Houston Press Club.
pies would then be distributed to international news agencies in Buenos Aires.
"A few Argentine papers would always
print a few lines," said Timerman.
The army leaders and the government
read all the clippings about Argentina
from the foreign press. "It became clear
to us," wrote Timerman, "that what appeared to be merely professional journalistic reporting compelled the government
to become more concerned about establishing its 'legal' relationship with me.
The government . . . could not accuse me
of any crime because the international
press had already laid bare the true nature
of my situation: that I had been imprisoned and my paper closed down because
I denounced all kinds of terrorism,
whether carried out by the left or the
right, the state or the individual; because
La Opinion defended the right to life and
to a legal trial of any arrested person and
published lists of the thousands of abduction victims who were never heard of
The families of the desaparecidos, said
Timerman, not only have to bear their
loss, but they have an added cruel burden
in not knowing whether they are alive or
dead. Timerman believes they are dead.
"Their policy is extermination," he said.
The message was starkly uncomfortably clear. It was obviously
painful for Timerman to speak
of his own, and his people's ,
humiliation and pain. But he reemphasi-
zed to us what he wrote in the CJR: "The
violation of human rights in the world
has reached such levels of permanency,
magnitude and sophistication that I, for
one, cannot see how journalists can still
regard the topic as a subtheme in political,
social and diplomatic coverage. I believe
it has become a theme, or beat, in itself.
And in moral terms, coverage of it has
become an obligation . . . The press can
do more in the struggle for human rights
than the pope, the United Nations and
Even in professional terms, wrote
Timerman, coverage of human-rights violations deserves its own department, with
no less commitment, space and specialization than the Bridge, Furniture or Food
departments. "In my office as editor of
La Opinion," he wrote, "I was able to save
lives by covering human rights as thoroughly as sports, for instance."
Timerman wrote that even a few lines
in foreign publications had "immediate
repercussions on our living conditions and
treatment as prisoners. I witnessed how a