Web Letters | The Nation


Uneasy Calm in Palestine

I agree with the previous letter. Until the Palestinians accept the reality of Israel, there is no sense in blaming Israel for the lack of progress. Nor is it wrong for the Quartet to demand that funding of a government should be predicated upon that government developing a civil society capable of making peace with its neighbors.

I do not want my tax dollars providing support for a society and a government that values creating suicide martyrs and targeting civilians. That the Palistinians have suffered and continue to suffer I have no doubt, but they must accept responsibilty for their predicament and come to the realization that fifty years of stuggle to destroy Israel has failed and gotten them nowhere.

Accept reality and stop blaming others for their failure.

Steven Bailin

Urbandale, Iowa

Feb 26 2007 - 3:20pm

What Kind of Economy?

Congratulations to The Nation for printing this fresh-thinking approach to economic matters. I take issue with many of its points, but it gets many things right.

Yes, we need to think more about the future and how to profit from the ever-increasing pace of change and less about how to protect what we have.

Yes, how we address climate change is fundamental, and the short/medium term economic effects are underdiscussed.

Yes, both sides have fallen into ruts on global trade matters.

Yes, the current fiscal deficits threaten nothing (notwithstanding the massive tax increases that will be necessary to redeem those lovely Treasury bonds.)

I wish he had talked more about technology's coming impact, whether on alternative energy, lifespan and quality of life changes from biotechnology, the now-rapid emergence of robotics and artificial intelligence on the service sector, no-job fully automated manufacturing, and so on.

Thanks again for thinking (a little) outside the box.

Larry Stevens

Los Altos, CA

Feb 26 2007 - 1:08pm

Remembering Norma Rae

How you can manage to write an article ostensibly about movies involving corporate labor relations without mentioning North Country is nearly incomprehensible to me. Of course the real villains in that movie were the unionized men, as well as the corporate management types. So I guess that makes it off-limits.

What's more, why would anybody go to a tenplex to see a message movie? Tenplexes exist for teenage kids to see large-scale video games in which things explode. Message movies are watched by their elders at home on the small screen at an affordable price.

And although I know nothing about film industry unions (except that Ronald Reagan emerged from one), perhaps they have some responsibility for preventing filmmakers from romanticizing organized labor. Certainly the luster attached to unions in American lore by Woodie Guthrie et al. was ruined for me by my real life experience of unionized construction labor with its corruption and its active hostility to seeing any work get done at anything but the slowest of artificial paces.

When unions are respectable, they get the respect they deserve.

Steve Feldman

New Harmony, Utah

Feb 26 2007 - 11:22am

Remembering Norma Rae

As a non-union type and staunch critic of unions in general, and union corruption and union violence specifically (I thought liberals opposed torture) I nonetheless truly enjoyed Norma Rae, and can't pass it up whenever it appears while I'm channel surfing.

The movie captures the essense of what unions once were and ought to be.

The reason why Hollywood doesn't make more such movies is that most rational Americans know what unions have devolved into, and most irrational types don't care because they just want to be mindlessly entertained, or are going to vote Democrat anyway.

Also, consider who runs Hollywood: Greedy, limousine liberals who often film in Canada to avoid high labor costs!

Scott Bernard

Plant City, Florida

Feb 26 2007 - 8:25am

White History 101

Gary Younge gives a superb analysis, the best I have seen. I hope that history teachers will carry this one-page article into their classrooms to help students understand how history gets converted into ideology. Here is the basic technique as Younge describes it:

"That's because so much of Black History Month takes place in the passive voice. Leaders "get assassinated," patrons "are refused" service, women "are ejected" from public transport. So the objects of racism are many but the subjects few. In removing the instigators, the historians remove the agency and, in the final reckoning, the historical responsibility."

So my challenge for history teachers and their students: drop the passive voice in describing settlement, slavery, and segregation. Name the white criminals who still run the country. Racism is not abstract; it is the daily activity of whites going about business as usual. Will they thank you for saying so? Ideology is their avoidance.

Here I publicly thank Gary Younge.

Alan Downes

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Feb 26 2007 - 5:20am

A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial

This issue will not be properly covered by the mainstream media. Instead, led by Fox News, they will attempt to divert attention from the real issues on interrogations by painting this story as one of defense attorney tactics used to get this "terrorist" off. This, despite overwhelming evidence that there is merit to Padilla's claims.

I love this great country as much as the next citizen, but recent events were inevitable, what with our decision-makers being so heavily influenced by big corporate interests. Even though the US has imposed its will on the entire world for many decades, it has not ever been to this degree - ever. I'm amazed (not really) at the hypocritical statements coming from Bush and Rice on how Iran is isolating itself from the world, when they don't even acknowledge the effects that their own policies are having on this great country.

Hopefully the Miami litigation will put Guantanamo on the front page where it needs to be. This case, as well as the upcoming military commissions, the habeas appeals to the Supreme Court (round 3 for the GTMO litigation), any other GTMO-related litigation, and the new bills on restoring habeas and Geneva, are all crying for proper coverage. If that happens, the citizens will be awakened to reclaim their country and set it back on the path of living by the principles this country was founded upon.

Matt Diaz

Jacksonville, Florida

Feb 25 2007 - 8:06pm

White History 101

Thank you for the insightful article. Being born in a town that felt the need to lynch African-Americans and run them out of town always provides a reason for me to question history.

This article (to me) helped in trying to question as to why we, as a human race, continue to perpetuate methods of power and control over other human beings.

Now that we are recognizing all different reasons as to why our society is the way it is, I am grateful the internet has come along to allow better access to information.

Let's just hope we can improve on not finding the need to claim one is more accurate than the other.

Ms. Mutt

Los Angeles, California

Feb 25 2007 - 5:35pm

The General in His Labyrinth

I like Pan's Labyrinth very much. While the magic and fantasy unfold, the film remains anchored in a very real life drama. Del Toro should get the highest of marks for this balancing act. The classic odyssey takes the protagonist far from home only to return after slaying the dragon. The fact is that most odysseys in life take place in the middle of the nightmares we live at home, and, unfortunately, as Del Toro put it, children often die. He should also be commended for the tight editing. The film moves and has no annoying or time stretching plot fringe. The violence, though hard on my stomach and mind, seemed real to the circumstances.

Nevertheless, I prefer the poetic subtlety in Victor Erice’s Spirit of the Beehive. I agree with you that the films are from two very different eras and two different approaches are legitimate. Del Toro uses fantasy to conjure up the horror of a time more than 65 years ago. Erice's film was made during Franco and he needed no monsters to convey the cruelty and pain of war and its aftermath. The wounds were open and still very bloody in 1973, (and Erice has to tell his story through poetry the censors can’t read). The result is that Erice makes a film for adults with poetry, psychology, and childs play. Del Toro makes a children's film with fantasy, brutality and adventure that ends tragically.

As different as they are Del Toro needs to fess up a bit more as to the degree to which his film resembles or was influenced by Beehive!! As someone put it, Labyrinth is "Spirit of the Beehive meets Alice in Wonderland".

There is also the matter of the two child actresses, both of whom I think are outstanding. But Ana Torrent broke the mold and Del Toro took a huge risk in creating a role so close to the one she did in Beehive.

Beverly Brown

Detroit, Michigan

Feb 25 2007 - 3:07pm

The Care Crisis

Wonderful analysis--thank you for tying so many threads together.

I'm a 26-year-old woman, armed with a graduate degree, and practical experience in nonprofits and writing/editing positions. I'm also one of the millions who are uninsured, I live beneath the poverty line, and I owe tens of thousands of dollars in loans. I feel stymied about the expenses of moving, let alone starting a family.

And I can't help but feel resentful that my choices are so limited--my ability to push forward in fields where I have passion and energy are undercut by my need to shape my existance by a dollar sign.

It's comforting (sort of) to know I'm not alone.

Anna Clark

Boston, Massachusetts

Feb 25 2007 - 1:40pm

A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial

I disagree with the writer: People who want to harm the USA need to know if and when they are caught they are going to face any means available to us to extract the most information out of them.

If, during the time of sensory deprivation, they experience anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, significant psychological distress, depression, and anti-social behavior, that is the price of being NO GOOD terrorists or enemy combatants.

Does the writer think we should have put them in jail and give them the opportunity to achieve a university degree? Did the writer give a thought to what would have happened if American soldiers would have be thrown into a Muslim run jail? They would not see tomorrow; their heads would have come off in no time!

This is our trouble: being nice to people who are not nice to us and never will be and they are taking advantage of our niceness and think we are nothing but fools.

Nurit Greenger

Los Angeles, California

Feb 24 2007 - 10:30pm