Letters to the Editor - They started it July 29 2004

Ken Edelstein has forgotten that Israel offered the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem to Arafat in September 2000 (“Weeping Wall,” July 22). He has also forgotten that Arafat started a war in response. By starting a war in response to Barak’s sweeping concessions — and not to “occupation” — Arafat yet again rejected peace.

If anyone is responsible for Israel’s security barrier, it is the terrorists and their suicide attacks of the last three years that have claimed 1,000 Israeli lives, mostly of women and children. Israel’s barrier is a minimal response. And interestingly, it was opposed by Ariel Sharon and many others, but in the end they caved in to public pressure.

-- Shaul Lavan, Atlanta

br>?Thinking for yourself
What a terrific piece, Ken, balancing such well-written storytelling with just enough contextual facts and such a subtle point of view — to let the reader make up his own mind (“Weeping wall,” July 22). Or to simply be sad and frustrated without dogmatically concluding that blame rests on one side.

I hope you’re receiving other positive feedback — and can do more writing like this closer to home. This makes you a rare voice in Atlanta, as far as I’m concerned.

-- Howard Lalli, Dunwoody

It is not Israel’s “heavy-handed” reaction to Palestinian terror that is preventing forward movement on the road map to peace (“Weeping Wall,” July 22). Rather, the problem is Arab intransigence.

The Arab countries created the Palestinian refugee problem by attacking Israel in 1948. They have not only let the refugees languish in wretched conditions, they have incited their people to violence against Israel, planting bomb-making factories and terror cells within the camps.

Most Israelis, even those who supported Oslo, have come to the realization that the Palestinians are not working to create their own state; they are working to destroy the Jewish state. There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in the ancestral homeland of the Jews.

-- Toby F. Block, Atlanta

?Right on!
John Sugg: Your piece on “The Republican beatitudes” is the first piece in a long time that you’ve written that I am “right on!” with you (Fishwrapper, July 22). The glomming-on that the neo-cons did to get the religious “conservatives” on their side is 100 percent accurate.

-- Bill Simon, Marietta

br>?One minor detail
Thanks for Hal Crowther’s excellent article on Kirk Varnedoe — it was Creative Loafing at its best (“A fine disregard,” July 15).

I think Crowther may have been wrong, however, when he declared that Robert Rauschenberg’s work is less influenced by the South than that of fellow Southerners Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly. Rauschenberg is, of the three, the one most influenced by the “yard art” he saw while growing up in the South. As noted in Let It Shine (the High Museum’s catalog of the Marshall Hahn Collection of folk art): “Rauschenberg’s combine paintings, which feature everything from a paint-spattered family quilt to old tire treads, introduced the contemporary art world to the improvisational aspects of Southern vernacular culture during the mid- and late 1950s.”

-- Baxter Jones, Atlanta

br>?Fine tribute
I want to heartily commend you for your splendid article on Kirk Varnedoe (“A fine disregard,” July 15). As a longtime (50 years) friend of the Varnedoe family (good Episcopalians), I am heartened to read such a fine tribute. That you were an English major at Williams is clear to the reader.

-- The Rev. Harry W. Shipps, Savannah

br>?Watch your math
Regarding Kenneth S. Baer’s article (“Kerry’s non-Southern strategy,” July 15): Contrary to what the author says in the second paragraph, there have been 11 presidential elections since 1960, not eight. Also, on three occasions (1980, 1988 and 2000), the Democrats had a Southerner on the ticket and lost anyway.

Baer attributes these figures to a Washington Post piece by E.J. Dionne Jr. I looked up Dionne’s piece on the Post’s website. Dionne’s figures are correct (i.e., since 1960, five of eight Democratic tickets with a Southerner won, whereas the non-Southern tickets went 0 for three). It would be nice if your guest columnists knew how to add.

-- Ken Vosbein, Atlanta

?Don’t believe all you read
John Sugg: Your article “In search of patriotism” made me think of a couple of things (Fishwrapper, July 15).

To those who dislike the media, liberal or conservative, DO YOUR OWN DAMN RESEARCH! How can anyone say one media outlet is more truthful or unbiased than another unless they’ve checked the references and public records? How exactly would one go about checking the White House press secretary? People naturally gravitate to the outlets that basically reinforce beliefs they hold true. So if someone already has conservative leanings, a conservative media outlet is just going to sound more believable to them. And the same with liberals.

For whatever reasons, we don’t like hearing news that runs counter to what we already think we know. We are at the mercy of the media to tell us what’s going on because we need our news prepackaged and convenient. It’s better than nothing. Too much freedom? Do we have to give it up to protect it?

-- Josh McCaffrey, Sugar Hill

br>?Grand Old Puke
Cliff Bostock’s “Colin, Dick and Jack” (Headcase, July 15) was one of the most hilarious articles I have read in a while.

Sometimes I wonder if they are not all on drugs, and I mean “serious shit” as we used to call things like coke and meth and PCP. Or maybe they all got drunk with the current GOP Gipper. I refuse to relinquish God to them. GOP is the acronym for Grand Old Puke — maybe that fits better than I thought.

-- Dot Dedman, St. Simons Island

br>?Made me giggle
I ran across the Park and Ride lot waving and yelling for the bus to wait for me. The driver looked at me and left. So, I was pissed and sat down to wait another hour for the next bus. I started to write the bus number down and time — so that I could complain properly — and saw the new Creative Loafing and read Don’t Panic (News & Views, July 15).

What’s hot? “Lohan ... .” I chuckled.

“Wea-k culpa.” I giggled.

“But if you look at sub-Saharan Africa (don’t be bashful, it’s OK to look)... .” I made an audible “he-he.”

“Whatchoo talking ‘bout, Willis.” I laughed out loud and startled the guy sitting next to me.

So thanks for the laughs. MARTA thanks you as well, ‘cause there’s nothing worse than having an angry chick in heels come on the bus with an attitude.

-- N. Robinson, Atlanta