Jim McCormick‘s article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tries to give the appearance of being evenhanded while glossing over important historical facts (Express 5/9).
For example, he says, “In 1967 war broke out again between the two sides.“ War is not a natural event like spontaneous combustion or a volcanic eruption! War happens when somebody is willing to use violence (i.e. kill
people) to get something someone else has. In 1967 it was the Palestinians and Arab states that initiated the war and lost. When the United States has won a war, it has occupied the conquered country until it could be confident that there were leaders who would no longer be a threat. Why should the Israelis do otherwise?
There is no mention that tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed by their fellow Muslins in bordering states, or that the Arab states have used the Palestinians as a political pawn for the past 50 years.
McCormick states that the two sides “came close to a deal“ brokered by Clinton two years ago. He doesn‘t mention that everyone thought that a remarkably generous offer by the Israelis and that it was Arafat who rejected it and chose intifada instead.
It‘s an embarrassment and a moral travesty that the United States has just brokered a deal to allow the notorious murderers who were in the Church of the Nativity, and who are known to have killed Americans as well as Israelis, to get away free. It‘s becoming clear that our leaders don‘t think Americans will support a war on terrorism that substantially inconveniences them. They‘re probably right.
Nancy Brimhall Alden
Cant and the Middle East
In the world of diplomacy, and politics generally, words are not chosen for their correspondence to the truth. They are chosen for their power to advance some purpose. That‘s why most of what we hear is cant.
Nowhere is this rule more faithfully observed than in the Middle East.
When President Bush says Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “man of peace,“ he doesn‘t mean that Sharon is a man of peace. He means, rather, that some goal is served by saying Sharon is a man of peace -- even though he is a man of unfathomable brutality. The events in Jenin are only the latest demonstration of that fact. (He was forced to resign as defense minister in the 1980s after an Israeli commission found him responsible for permitting the massacres of Palestinians by Lebanese allies in southern Lebanon.)
Although Mr. Bush‘s earlier demand of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank villages had absolutely no teeth (such as a threat to cut off billions in annual military aid), those who believe that Israel can do no wrong and that the United States should be a good cheerleader were not mollified.
The president is not the only one who speaks in cant on the Middle East. Ariel Sharon is quite fluent in it too. When he sent his troops into Jenin, he said he would leave “no seed of terror behind.“ But he surely knows this is nonsense. The destruction of that refugee camp, the murder of Palestinians of all ages, and the delay in allowing access to rescue workers
can only sow the seeds of terror, not destroy them.
Sheldon Richman Fairfax, Va.
Regarding the Bear Creek Referendum article in the Friday, May 10 Petoskey News-Review Weekender, I personally take issue with Kevin McGraw‘s arrogant statements, and threat to the township, as well as their board. (Mr. McGraw is the principal and director of the East Lansing-based Strathmore Development Group planning to develop 175,000 sq. ft. of retail space at the north end of its property in Bear Creek).
His quote states, “If it (the referendum drive) does delay us in any manner, we will be seeking damages aggressively.“
What is really going on here? Who do we allow to make the decisions about our communities and our futures? Is this about the BEST use of the land, adhering to the Master Plan which designated this land residential/farm-forest, honoring the wishes of the people of the township, letting local people make local decisions, or is this about INTIMIDATION and MANIPULATION of a small northern Michigan township, and its board by a BIG NAME, BIG CITY DEVELOPER?
Mr. McGraw goes on to say, “The amazing thing to us is it‘s a minority of the residents. It‘s amazing to me that these people are grasping at straws.“
Let the people of Bear Creek township speak to Mr. McGraw loudly and clearly. Is it really a minority of residents? PROTECT THE PUBLIC PROCESS. Voice your opinions, or watch your community, as well as your township board be manipulated by fear and intimidation from a downstate developer.
Peg Muzzall Kuchin Petoskey
Keep on talking
A great newspaper is a “community talking to itself.“
Since I married a British woman I only spend part of each year in Traverse City. Whenever I come here I immediately pick up your wonderful free newspaper. It informs me about events, and people, in my community.
A recent issue informed me about two people I knew long ago but lost track of. When Blake Ringsmuth was a teenager, he and I played tennis almost daily -- until he became so good, he blew me off the court. Now I find out he is championing worthy causes. How wonderful to catch up on the daily doings of a former tennis partner.
Judge James McCormick and I don‘t totally agree on the Palestinian issue, but his is an intelligent, informed opinion. Long ago he and I (and others) traveled downstate to a Democratic Convention. It was wonderful to read about him in your local newspaper.
In that same issue of your newspaper I learned about the Mesick Festival. My wife and I spent a wonderful afternoon there browsing & buying. There was nothing about the Mesick festival in the Friday issue of the “other“ newspaper in town -- the one that costs money and doesn‘t tell me about my friends & neighbors.
I love your newspaper. It has steered me to many local events and it has informed about many local issues, and it has contained articles about the people in my town. These are people I‘ve momentarily lost track of, but you tell me what they are now doing, and that‘s wonderful.
Keep up the good work. You are truly an example of “a community talking to itself.“
Henry Morgenstein Traverse City
Erosion of rights
I am increasingly concerned about the erosion of reproductive rights by this administration, beginning with George Bush‘s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule which denies U.S. funding to any foreign NGO‘s that provide abortion services, counselling or referrals. The rule hinders them from providing family planning and reproductive health care to those men and women around the world that need it most.
This rule allows others to control the right to free speech and access to lifesaving health care. Planning the number and spacing of children reduces the need for abortion by avoiding unintended pregnancies. It also reduces the mortality rate of both women and children and helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so prevalent in many developing countries today.
Monies allocated by congress for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have been frozen by President Bush. Not only has he withheld the $34 million approved for UNFPA for this year, he has eliminated funding for next year as well. This signals a long-term threat to the health and rights of the world‘s poorest women, posing grave concerns since complications from childbirth are the leading cause of death for women age 15-49.
Please contact the president and you rcongressmen and ask them to support reproductive rights, family planning and health care for families world-wide. The number of couples in their reproductive years increases by 20 million every year and the world‘s 1 billion youth are just now entering their reproductive years.
You may also make your voice heard by contacting: pphd.org/action/join.asap
Josie MacLean Harbor Springs
Shrine could counteract ‘bottomless pit of sin‘
Does our nation need a $100 million dollar shrine for the unborn? A New York non-profit corporation thinks so. They plan to build “The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the International Shrine of the Holy Innocents.“
The Shrine will be built on the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo. The Golden arch of Mary‘s glorious triumph, to be the world‘s tallest monument (700‘), will sound a global signal to repentance, conversion, and increased respect for the sanctity of human life.
Many say that this large sum of money could be better spent on feeding and housing the poor. I disagree. Our country is racing deeper into a bottomless pit of sin. Something must be done to grab our attention. Our government has tried for decades (by spending trillions of dollars) to solve the problems caused by our immorality. Money doesn‘t work. Only a change of heart and behavior will solve our problems.
This shrine will change people‘s hearts and give glory to God. Visitors to the shrine, regardless of their religion, will see perhaps for the first time how catastrophic our actions against life have been.
Thomas Messe, M.D. Groton, CT