The Dissident: An Interview With Natan Sharansky

The trouble with Sharansky’s argument is that it confuses democratic government with fearless societies. To label the U.S.A. as a society without fear is absurd. On the contrary, there is hardly a democratic state anywhere in the world that is more fearful than the United States. This is nothing new. From the World War I on, perhaps even before, there has been one “scare” after another. The “Immigrant Scare”, the “Geman Scare”, the “Red Scare”, the “Chinese Scare” etc. and all have been sucessfully exploited by unscrupulous politicians, Sen. McCarthy and George Bush the Younger being recent examples. Why do so many Americans have a gun in their house if they’re not scared to death? Why is it practically forbidden to dicuss religion or politics in a bar? Because doing so is too dangerous. It can get one killed. American society does not need a “thought police force”. The people are fully capable of policing themselves.

Sharansky’s argument is self-serving. According to it, he – living in a “democratic” therefore “fearless” society (that in itself is ridiculous, does he really maintain that Israeli society lives without fear?) – can morally look down his nose at his Arab neighbors. It gives him a sense of justification for his actions. Actually, he is interested in only one thing – stealing and holding on to as much Palestinian land as possible. He is typical of so many of our politicians; Sharon, Bush and Blair for example. Their entire focus is on scaring the hell out of the rest of us so that they can hold onto and increase their power. They should all be behind bars.

Theodore Saunway

I have to comment on a number of statements [Natan Sharansky] made. He tried to justify the illegal settlements by saying essentially that Arabs live ok in Israel so Israelis should be allowed to live in Palestine. The point he avoided making was that the settlements were not going to be included in Palestine and their very purpose was to claim land for Israel that had been designated for Palestine. I don’t think that this omission was by accident. From what I read, the situation of Arabs in Israel has a lot of parallels with the situation of African-Americans in the US during the 50’s so I have to question even his statement that Arabs in Israel have nothing to complain about.

Second he talked a lot about fear societies. I was impressed by how many of the characteristics associated with fear societies have been introduced into the US in the last 4 – 5 years. He lists having an outside enemy as being important for a dictator to maintain himself. That certainly fits Bush’s behavior in the last election with all its alerts. It is immediately obvious to the world that the Bush administration doesn’t believe for a minute that terrorism is important. Otherwise they would be doing more to protect our chemical and nuclear plants, and they would have worked harder with first responders instead of cutting them off at budget time. He mentions that war is the last choice of a democratic leader. Here we have a chickenhawk president who considers war to be the first choice and negotiations to be a sign of weakness. Other evidence of our living in fear is the use of the FBI to investigate protestors and of local police forces to physically abuse them. The Total Information Network is alive and well and being funded off the books. The courts are ignored whenever it is convenient and our legal, human rights are being ignored along with much of the Constitution. An attempt is now being made to pack the judiciary with people who hold the rights of the common people in contempt while favoring the rich property owners in their attempt to become richer.

Daniel Miller

The Asthma Trap

This e-mail is for Sara Corbett. Sara, that was an excellent article on asthma. I just finished reading “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations” by Stephanie Cave, M.D.

In addition to all the things mentioned in your article, the author says: “Some experts are adding vaccinations to this list, as there is increasing evidence that the vaccines themselves, or the fact that they prevent children from developing natural immunity to a disease, are triggering asthma in children. …

BTW, a Mother Jones story on mercury in vaccinations may have saved my grandchildren from health problems. It said mercury was removed from vaccines in 1999, but there may be some on shelves. Recently I went with my daughter and her new twin girls to her Pediatrician in MD. We asked to see the inserts and sure enough there was thimerasol/mercury in the first vaccine. The doctor who was annoyed, said he didn’t have time to check the others and to come back next week. My daughter said she didn’t have time to come back next week as it took great effort to get everyone ready for the doctor. (She also has a 14 mo. old.) The twins were to get 4 shots each, but we left without them.
While other states increased 300% in autism cases, MD increased over 500%.

I hope Mother Jones does some more articles on this subject as it is desperately needed.

Marie McCarthy Finn