To the Editor: I was very glad to see the article written by Joshua Hammer. The censorship in the US media must end concerning the brutal Israeli occupation; this is a start. Most Americans do not know the reality of the situation because of the mythology that Israel is the victim, this is not the truth. Israeli operations such as “Operation Rainbow”, “Operation Days of Penitence” and the recent incursion into Gaza have left 3,500 Palestinians dead in the last few years; political activists have been assassinated and over 10,000 children have been wounded,all in the name of fighting “terrorists”. As long as President Bush embraces Ariel Sharon’s life-long dream of slow ethnic cleansing, peace and justice will still be [elusive]. Educating people with articles like this will help bring some balance into a mostly pro Israeli and biased US press.
Aside from the country being run by bona-fide war criminals, the problem with the intelligence agencies is their recruitment criteria.
I listened to a report on NPR that interviewed an official of either the CIA or the FBI on how they could not get enough interpreters to go through the documents and recordings that they had collected…because they would never pass the security clearance. Well…. as long as we are only interested in god-fearing, clean-cut white people with no other experience then keeping their noses clean, we will never truly be able to tap into the vast wealth of diversity and talent that this country contains in its citizens. Perhaps the CIA and the FBI should take an approach more like professional sports. Whoever is the most talented for the job should be hired. You can always watch your own employees you know.
Dear editor: You can tell Mr. Ridgeway that some of us in the arts, at least, are resisting the commercialization and comodification of nature and the human soul. Though I do agree that it is hard to find honesty and character in people these days with regard to money and greed. Too many artists are selling out to what they think the market wants.
Rest assured, Nature has a few surprises in store for humanity and capitalism in the coming decades…stay tuned!
Regards, R. Nemo.
I was a teacher’s assistant for the Northwest Michigan Migrant program for a summer. The education offered was limited by government funds and many times by small-minded teachers who were looking for a regular check through the summer months
(although, on their salary, you can’t blame them). I was really impressed by how responsive and wonderful their parents were — especially dealing with such long hours and ridiculous conditions. They were the best parents I ever met in that Northern Michigan area. It was a wonderful family community. At the same time, I rode the bus home with those children many nights to see those living conditions. As I have worked with kids over the past few years, I still remember those wonderful children and often want to reach out in some way. This article reminded me again, and makes me wonder — as a documentary photographer — is there some way to use my skills to help these people — equivalent of WPA — or is there a greater need for teachers in those communities? The writer, while a wonderful article, left me with no way of ACTING on what I read about. We educate ourselves so much about the problems — now how about some ACTION and POSSIBILITIES?
I think this following excerpt from ‘Migrants No More’ is at best ignorance, at worst an attempt to mislead:
“Initially, Vicente and Isabel did plan to return to Mexico, once they saved enough money. But then they had children — a son, now five, and two daughters, ages four and three — and migrating home became too expensive (coyote fees have tripled, to more than $3,000 per person, since Vicente first crossed in the early 1990s) and too dangerous.”
If Vincente, Isabel and their children want to return to their ancestral home, all they have to do is go to the border and cross. If they have lost their Mexican documentation, they can go to the INS office. They’ll send them home for nothing. You need a ‘coyote’ to bring you into this country from Mexico. You just need a bus ticket to return. If you can’t afford a bus ticket, the INS will see that you get one.
I am hoping that like other immigrants these men and women will work their way up the economic ladder. It may however be much harder that it was for our ancestors. I am pulling for them. They obviously have guts and desire to make that first trip across the Sonoran desert.
Salt Lake City, UT
Dear editor: David Goodman’s article was very informative. I am an Iraqi War veteran who saw just as much combat as the men in the article (if not more) because I was in the same combat theater as them. As a current Marine reservist, Amnesty International Member, and senior in college majoring in philosophy, I constantly question our actions overseas. Constantly analyzing the situation in Iraq, and dealing with the fact that I might return to combat, it is hard not to worry about my own well being and future livelihood. Every time I question the war in Iraq, the memories of Iraqi people saying “thank you” come to mind; the torture chambers that I saw, where Iraqi children as young as six were being tortured, come to mind. As an Amnesty International member, human rights are very important to me. Eventually,Iraqi people will have human rights, just like the oppressed women under the Taliban now have. I respect the veterans mentioned in the article for exercising their freedom. But as a marine who may return to combat, it is demotivating to read an article focusing on Iraqi veterans and not hear about the Iraqi people’s liberation from a repressive government, especially in a publication such as yours.
I am a professional digital artist from Philadelphia and, most importantly, a mother and grandmother of sons and grandsons.
I have created a body of work in protest against this war which was shown in a solo exhibition in Philadelphia and will be exhibited in LA for 2 months starting January 8.
The following, “Gone to Graveyards Everyone” is my take on this war as an artist. The baby is our future. The background pattern of photos of young men and women who have died in this war is our tragic past and present. A candle symbolizes light and hope that this war will end so our children will not continue to meet such a horrible fate.
The continuing toll on our young soldiers (to say nothing about the tragedy and deaths that have befallen the Iraqis), haunts me and serves as inspiration for my art. Some of my other work with this theme can be seen at http://joan-myerson-shrager.com/jms.pl?p=new
My work is in the permanent collection of the University of Pennsylvania and on their web site at
The following is a review of the U of P exhibition:
Joan Myerson Shrager
I’m as disenfranchised as most liberal Americans with the direction of this country. The so called Chirstian Right is neither. It is an agenda of narrow minded, mean spirited people who are hiding behind the Bible.
The recent election was a nasty piece of work where misinformation was represented as fact by the mainstream media and any thought expressed other than that of the White House was “exposed” as “liberal slander.” There were many republicans who were upset with their party and voted against their candidate, but many more that refused to even hear another side of the issues which is disheartening.
I believe that being a “liberal” is a christian thing to be. After all, I don’t answer for each individuals choice and I don’t believe that bible tells me to control someone else’s life. I also believe that taking care of those less fortunate is my Christian duty. Since when is giving money to the rich the christian thing to do? There is no such thing as a trickle down economy where everyone is taken care of. Let’s face it, if the less fortunate were to get a better tax refund they will spend it while the rich will bank it. So who benefits?
Our society is being sidetracked by a group of indivuals who want to change the constition to encourage bigotry, force their religious agenda on everyone and bring this counrty to it’s eventual demise. Of course, they don’t believe this is the case. They tell us that they are helping us to become better people. Freedomof the press is diminishing, the right of free speech is under assault, we are now all under suspicion as possible terrorists everytime we board a plane.
Women are losing the right to choose when to have children. Pro choice isn’t just about abortion. Pharmacists can withhold birth contol pills because they are a form of abortion in their opinion. We are now teaching that abstinence is the only safe option to prevent pregnancy. And our tax dollars pay for this. So we are now supporting ignorance in our schools and clinics.
I’m proud to say that I read the liberal newspapers and magazines and that I still have that choice. At least if I do make poor choices in an election it’s not because I only see one side of the issue like so many.