I write in reply to T.L. Watts letter finding offensive the heading
Take Asylum on the ad for the Grand Traverse Commons.
Given Mr. Watts personal circumstances, no one could disagree with
him. Id like to reassure him, however, that his fathers memory is
well respected in the current spirit and atmosphere on the grounds of
the old State Hospital. I am not associated with The Minervini Group
(TMG), the developers of the Commons, but I have lived in Building 50
for several years now, and in that time I have not heard a disparaging
remark about the buildings former inhabitants and their troubles from
any of the developers staff or residents. On occasion members of TMG
have left whatever they were working on to give private tours to
former patients or their families who have come into the office and
expressed interest -- or in some cases -- a therapeutic need, to see
the inside of the building again. Some of those tours have left TMG
staff in tears.
Those who find the concept of living in a former mental hospital
amusing tend to be those who have never visited or are not living
here. Before you ask -- no, I do not sense ghosts or troubled spirits
in or around Building 50; to the contrary, even walking the grounds at
night the atmosphere is peaceful. I like to think that the
renaissance of the State Hospital is expunging the pain.
In fact, this place has proven to be an asylum in the best sense, a
safe haven and shelter. I can only hope that sense of refuge was what
the ad writer was imagining. That is no justification for a choice of
words that offended Mr. Watts and others, but I hope it may serve as
Winnie Simpson GT Commons
My family could not agree more with the letter to the editor
published in your paper week of July 1 concerning the poor choice of
words in the Commons‘ advertisement.
As the letter writer so well conveyed the hurtful use of some
wording ---so offensive to many of us still living in this area. Many
very unhappy memories of the asylum still remain with us each time we
pass the now beautiful grounds of the Commons.
While we understand and fully agree with the progress made for usage
in the re-constructing and preserving the barns, the memories remain
of the circumstance of those difficult visits with those we loved.
The words, Seek Asylum, or word usage of escape in their ad
revisits old memories for many of us. The Commons‘ ad adviser group
should have the ability, with all the people involved to find use for
this grounds, to find better terminology -- much of it right at their
As a member of the older group of our family, we find we cannot use
any part of that area; however our children have the ability to look
past and do take part and visit the shops at the Commons. Still,
having said that, they do have a sense of their parents‘ feelings and
fully agree that the words in the ads could improve. Please rethink
Phyllis Heniser Benzonia
Israel‘s big lie
Regarding Steven Tuttles column on Israel (Surviving Really Nasty
Neighbors, 6.14.10): He was right about one thinghis one-sidedness,
so much so that he sounded like an instrument of the Israeli
His position is well-articulated by most of American mainstream
journalism. Perhaps this is part of the reason journalism is in
trouble. Israel is always the victim, but always it is Palestinians
(or Lebanese or Turks) who die and are injured in the greatest
Please dont believe the myths and clichés and sound bites, dear
readers. Tuttle spins a portrait of Israel as always being the one
attacked, and that it is only responding or acting in
self-defense. He neglects the ongoing stealing of land and water
from the Palestinians by Israel, the apartheid wall and the
Israeli-only roads that criss-cross the West Bank, also on stolen
land. He neglects the checkpoints and closures and daily humiliations
of an entire population, not to mention the large-scale assaults on
Lebanon and Gaza that are supported with American weapons and money
and the criminal blockade of Gaza that affects mostly children. He
neglects to mention that it is Israel that is nuclear armed and
increasingly fanatical in its views of the Palestinians in the
occupied territories and the Israeli Arabs, those folks who have it so
good in the only democracy in the Middle East.
The government is considering right this minute one law that would
expel Palestinians who say things Israel doesnt like to hear, and
another that would make it illegal to participate in the growing
boycott/divestment/sanctions movement against Israel like the one that
helped end the other apartheid regime. Some democracy.
Mr. Tuttle and anyone else in this country who cares (we all should,
given the more than $3 billion in American aid to Israel every year)
would do well to dig a little deeper for their information about
Israel and Palestine. Start with some accurate history, from Jimmy
Carters Palestine Peace Not Apartheid to Israeli historian Ilan
Pappes “A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples and The
Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.“ Regarding the Gaza flotilla attack,
see endtheoccupation.org, jewishvoiceforpeace.org, and
Israeli newspapers provide far more fair coverage and analysis than
Tuttles column did. See Gideon Levy in Haaretz or Amira Hass, the
only Israeli journalist who lives in and writes from the West Bank.
There are excellent online resources for information as well. See
www.mideastjustpeace.orgs blog for a listing of some of these.
Finally, remember what an Israeli official answered when asked by a
journalist how Israel justifies its treatment of the Palestinians:
Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.
Gina Aranki & 15 members of For the Mideast: Just Peace Collective TC