2001-12-22 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

I'm sure that I am not alone in the sentiment that I just can't wait to get out of this year. With all that has literally fallen upon our community during the last several months, I am merely going through the motions of this holiday season. I don't believe that there is a person or neighbor in our midst who has escaped the devastating impact of the tragic events. I must say, however, that I am so proud of all my neighbors who, despite all that has happened, have tried most heroically to rise to the occasion of this holiday season. Although I have not participated in many of the festive events, I am pleased that they have taken place and that many, young and old alike, have managed to share in the holiday cheer. Now...on with the New Year!
  With all that has happened, it is hard to fathom that the FAA still continues to allow airlines to fly over the peninsula and intrude upon the so many who continue to suffer the effects of the plane crash. To me, it seems the height of insensitivity and reckless disregard. Congratulations to all those brave and courageous people who continue to protest airport flight patterns.
  Speaking of brave and courageous, I must congratulate Wave Columnist Dorothy Dunne for her rather candid admission of her early years as a battered wife. Although we had never had an occasion to speak, I was extremely startled by her honest revelations. I am certain in doing so, she has managed to help many women in a similar circumstance. I can imagine that living in a small town community like ours tends to keep many women private and silent about the abuse they may endure. In drawing a comparison between her own personal experiences of abuse and that of the Afghan women under the Taliban, Dorothy Dunne may have helped more women than she may imagine. It is always far worse, and more debilitating, to be beaten down and oppressed when you have had freedom. Five years ago, the women of Afghanistan were thriving, productive, and free to pursue an education and a career. It is hard to fathom how they were forced into and behind the Burqas, those horrible tent-like portable prisons. What may be harder and more tragic to understand is that although the Taliban has been driven from power and women can now shed the Burqas, many are still too frightened to do so. They have been invisible for so long; and although they are now free to show their faces, the scars of abuse are deep. It's like their cage door is open, yet they are afraid to fly away. In many ways, their wings have been clipped. You would think that they would just be able to ecstatically rip off their Burqas, but it's not that easy. That's what oppression is. The effect is that the oppressed are kept down by fear even when there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. It was very brave of Dorothy Dunne to share her past with so many of her readers.
  Glad to read that Kevin Boyle is back! I very much enjoy his column. As for his recommendations to the parade committee of future honorees, I think we had honored some of those on his list; but I will look into it, Kev. I have another suggestion, how about honoring you, Kev! Interested?? However, since both Dr. Chapey and Lew Simon sit on the committee and since both have been an often topic in your column, I can only wonder if they would vote in your favor. Hmmm, it might be the only thing the two could ever agree on! Best wishes, Kev!
  I'd like to see Belle Harbor resident Joe Burns continue to write the Failte column authored by James Conway Sullivan for this paper. Joe Burns is Jimmy's uncle; he is articulate and well versed on many subjects; and specifically the Irish Cause. I can think of no other person to continue Jimmy's column than Uncle Joe.
  It is very exciting that the Benjamin and Lerner Development Companies will be building in Arverne. My family has been doing business with Les Lerner and Al Benjamin for years. They will do a fine job to enhance the community. Congratulations to both firms.
  Remember to shop locally this holiday season. A great idea is always the gift of Art. There are wonderful oil paintings and prints on display at the Artist Alliance Studio up at Fort Tilden. This season features one of my absolute favorite paintings by Patrick Antonelli. While there, you can walk the tranquil private trails of Fort Tilden amidst our beautiful seascape.
  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
       See you...On the Beach!

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