2003-05-09 / Letters



What Happened To Free Speech?

To the Editor:

I read in the New York Daily News today, May 7, about the lawsuit that Duane Reade has initiated against Pat Clark and The Wave.  I find it upsetting; what happened to free speech? 

It seems that the management of Duane Reade seems unaware of the emotions connected to the 9/11 memorial. Rockaway was hard hit that day and there is a strong need for a public memorial for our lost friends and neighbors.  Personally, I want it as I was in the neighborhood of the trade towers that day (3 blocks away) and have often felt somewhat forgotten. The events that have occurred at the site have all been geared towards the families of the victims. I understand it and acknowledge their greater need, but I too had a traumatic experience that day and there has been no public event to acknowledge what I went through.  So I am looking forward to having a place to go to reflect, mourn and let go.  That Duane Reade does not realize what a highly emotional issue this is upsets me.


Have To Find Home

Dear Editor:

I remember a time, not too long ago, when respect was prevalent in the Black community. Respect for the elders. Respect for one another. Respect for those authoritative figures who demonstrated respect toward you and yours. And more importantly: respect for one's self. See, it's quite simple. Respect for others is contingent upon respect for one's self.

Anyway, I remember a time when if a person was on the corner smoking a cigarette (especially if one were a teenager) and an elder walked by, the cigarette would either be extinguished or hid and the utmost respectful greeting was extended to that elder: "Good afternoon, Ms. Hunter." The hat would go off and the behavior would change. You could bet that by the time you got home, your mother knew what you were doing, with whom, where and what time of day! So the next time, before you did something you knew you weren't supposed to be doing, you wouldn't do it or you would be extra careful and discreet.

Or how about when you did something that warranted Ms. Watkins' slapping you up side the head or severely chastising you? You knew that her physical or verbal chastisement was not the only one you would experience. You knew quite well that some family member would be awaiting you at home to continue where Ms. Watkins left off.

Such are only two of the wonderful community displays of respect, collective work and responsibility and extended family. We accepted and understood that we were responsible for one another. We knew and accepted the fact that the block and the community was the village raising the child. We knew and understood that, when we did not show respect for our neighbors that we were, in fact, "dissing " ourselves. Our brothers and sisters. Our mothers and fathers. Our grand parents. Our ancestors.

Where have our hearts and minds gone? What happened to our values? What happened to that respect and consideration? I really do remember a home where it was safe and wonderful to live and raise a child. I remember a community that cared and, in spite of social, political, and economic challenges, thrived, prospered and co-existed with other cultural communities.

I guess I am getting older. They say that the desire for days and times long gone is an indication of aging. Is there anything wrong with wanting days long gone that were more wholesome and joyous? I am getting older however. And maybe a little bit wiser. The gray hairs on my head tell me so.

Time to leave here again for one final time. Never planning on returning. Never wanting to. Well, maybe once, incognito, to see what new things and people all this construction will finally and ultimately bring.

The Rockaway of long ago is just that-long ago- and existent only in old photographs and fewer still oral narratives.

Come on, Toto. This is not Kansas. We still have to find home.


Agitated Over Letter

Dear Editor:

I read the Letters to the Editor section first when my copy of the Wave arrives in the mail each week.  I enjoy this section because there are usually some good letters here and I often appreciate the opinion of others.  A few times, I have gotten agitated over some of the letters, but never have I become actually angry as I did when I read the letter written by PM Jablonski in the April 29th edition.  As I was reading it, the sarcastic, biting tone of the words struck me, but I figured that there would be some witty turnaround at the end, for surely this person could not be serious!  I finished the letter and was so shocked that I read it a second and third time.  There were so many statements made by PM Jablonski that seem so ridiculous to me that for the first time ever, I felt compelled to sit down and write to you.  I appreciate and value the right of us all to express our opinion.  I am just surprised that an American citizen, as I presume PM Jablonski is, would have so much anger towards their government and, it seems, towards their fellow citizens.  The tone of the letter seems to suggest that PM Jablonski believes a majority of Americans are ignorant, and blindly following a government of outsiders with ulterior motives for our country.  Jablonski says "Our elected officials will say or do anything to make war sound like a good idea.".  Well as stated, they are our "elected" officials and if you disagree with their policies, then one of the many beauties of this country is that you can make an effort to vote them out in the next election. That is assuming, of course, that PM Jablonski even votes.  Jablonski wrote "The US will just keep killing people in other countries and say they did it so we can be free.".  THEY?!  Why would you say "they" did it?  Don't you live here, too? 

As for all of the rhetorical questions that Jablonski posed about Iraq and their plans for the US, can Jablonski say with absolute certainty that the answers to them are all no?  I can't.  I wish I could believe that all Arabs wish us the best, but I have been too closely affected by recent tragedies to have faith in what a radical Arab nation halfway around the world may do to us.  Unfortunately I have learned that anything is possible.  Jablonski wrote "Remember a blonde haired blue eyed kid from upstate that blew up a building in Oklahoma."  What is the point of that statement and how does it pertain to the situation in Iraq?  Is PM Jablonski implying that we are only upset about September 11th because the attackers were Arab?  Facts, not prejudice, show that 19 hijackers from Arab countries attacked innocent people whose only mistake was getting on a plane or going to work that day.  At least we know what Tim McVeigh was mad about, not that that makes it any better.  Jablonski said "We will never be able to stop terrorism."  So should we not even try?  Is it true that Jablonski lives in Rockaway?  If so, is it possible that they have never met any members of the Whelan family, or the Andrews, Heffernan or Heeran families?  What about the Allens or the Morans or the Dowdells or the scores of other families who lost a loved one that terrible day.  Does Jablonski forget in the days and weeks following September 11th that there were schedules posted on the front doors of the local churches to tell us who's funeral or memorial was when?  Apparently so. 

I would never presume to speak for any of the families I mentioned, but I would bet anything that none of them would complain about having their bag searched in interest of public safety.  That is because they can no longer go through life with blinders on, as PM Jablonski seems to. Jablonski also had the nerve to imply that the hijackers were the brave ones that day.  I only pray that the Jablonski family never experiences the pain of having their family ripped apart if some other "brave" souls see fit to attack us as we go about our daily lives.  And for what?  Jablonski said "Maybe its time for someone in Washington to read a little document called the Bill of Rights."  My response to that is, the people in Washington WROTE the Bill of Rights, and you should be thankful they did. I feel badly for PM Jablonski.  They seem so angry and miserable living in a country where people actually wear flag pins on their lapels.  GET A GRIP!!


A Mini-Editorial

Dear Editor:

   In writing about the Ariola property on Beach Channel Drive slated for development, I couldn't notice how you refer to this property twice in two different sections of the same edition of The Wave.  I took it as reporting facts in the news section while doing some "mini-editoralizations" in the Beachcomber section.  That is the one negative trait I have consistently noticed since reading the paper as an adult. 


Sign Me, Amazed

Dear Editor:

I read with shock, dismay and disbelief the letter from PM Jablonski in the 4/25 issue of The Wave.  This letter takes off in so many different directions and makes so many unsubstantiated accusations that it's near impossible to keep up with the random, base-less, fact-less thinking.  I will try to address it, the best I can.

Jablonski wants to know "Exactly which freedoms that we enjoy were being threatened by Iraq?"  How about: -The freedom to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by terrorists? 

-The freedom to operate a business in NY without the fear of a terrorist blowing it up? 

-The freedom to earn a living in NY, the so-called Greatest City in the World, when no one wants to visit here because of fear of terrorist attack?

-The freedom to construct a skyscraper or to have an office in a skyscraper without the fear of a terrorist flying a jumbo jet into it?

-The freedom to get on a plane and travel anywhere in the world without the fear that a terrorist is going to blow it out of the sky?

 The US Military has found documents connecting Saddam Hussein's regime and the Al-queda terrorist network.  US Marines found a wall mural celebrating the attacks against the WTC in one of Saddam's military headquarters.  The picture was on the front page of the NY Post. Saddam has been known to offer shelter to and harbor terrorists, i.e. the now-captured, Abu Abbas, hijacker of the Achille Lauro Cruise-Liner who murdered and threw over-board an elderly American man in a wheel chair in 1985. Abbas has been living the "high-life" in Iraq for 18 years, protected by Saddam Hussein. Yes, Mr/Mrs/Ms Jablonski, by offering shelter to those who commit terrorist acts against the United States, Iraq is threatening the freedoms that we, here in the US, enjoy.

Jablonski then asks several point-less questions about whether Iraq was trying to: invade the US, prevent us from speaking freely, silence the press, prevent people from worshipping the wrong God.  If it was within his power Saddam would not only threaten but take away all of those freedoms.  Those freedoms did not exist inside Iraq under Saddam Hussein and they were taken away through imprisonment, torture and murder.

As for the ridiculous remark about the blond haired, blue-eyed kid from upstate that blew up a building in Oklahoma and the opinion that "we'll never be able to stop terrorism": I guess we should all just sit back and do nothing about it.  Do nothing about the innocent American lives lost by these cowardly, yes cowardly, attacks.  Just crawl back into our holes and live in fear of the next terrorist attack.  Do nothing to stop them, prevent them.  Let the US economy and American way of life die because of fear.  JABLONSKI! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE TERRORISTS WANT, YOU MORON!

I guess you feel some of your freedoms are being taken away by your remarks about searches of backpacks and car trunks.  Once again your comments are without fact.  No one's backpack has been searched, as you claim, for simply walking down the street.  No one has been arrested, as you claim, for simply taking a picture of the UN. Maybe some trunks have been searched, as you claim, for entering a tunnel. Searches have been made, mostly of vans and trucks entering tunnels and bridges because this is the terrorists known vehicle of choice.  I'm sorry, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

You state: "Let's do it" if we are "putting our troops in harms way to free an oppressed people" as long as the goverment tells us "that's why we're doing it." Again, Jablonski, that's what the government has been telling us since day one. Nobody, "made up patriotic sounding excuses to get the American people behind you so that someone may be re-elected." What does that jibberish mean, Jablonski? 

Next, incredibly, you refer to the act of hijacking an airplane as "anything but cowardly." This is truly beyond belief! What is it, bravery?! Taking control of an airplane full of defenseless, weapon-less people, when you have weapons, this is brave?  Women, children, elderly people all without any form of weapon, this is courageous? Crashing the plane into a building to kill more innocent people, this is heroic?  Ending your own miserable existence in a suicide attack, this is fearless?

Finally, what do any of your misguided, idiotic remarks have to do with "someone in Washington reading a little document called "The Bill of Rights?"

If America is so repressive, why don't you pack up and go somewhere else?

Sign me, Amazed. 


We Could Have Saved Lives!

This is a letter sent to a number of safety agencies from a retired American Airlines captain.

Dear Editor:

If the NTSB had not removed essential evidence from the Flight Data Recorder Chart, and covered up the actual cause of the TWA Flight 800 accident, the resultant extended air traffic separation standards would have eliminated the threat to AA Flight 587!!!

Can the AIAA remain silent while the NTSB makes these gross errors intentionally, or through ignorance, in their aircraft accident investigations? e.g., the NTSB reads the Flight Data Recorder Charts from the zero G line!!! When do we fly around zero G???


Wohl Is Best Of America

Dear Editor:

The letter by Harold Paez attacking a previous letter by Stephen Wohl goes a long way in proving just how uniformed those who supported the "war" in Iraq were. I enjoy Mr. Wohl's letters because they represent the best America has to offer, mainly a dissenting voice unafraid to speak his truth. Lining up like cattle behind a leader - an unelected leader at that-is hardly an American tradition.

Upon closer analysis one sees all the holes in the regressive conservative position, which is little more than a Neo-Confederate perspective. First on Paez's list of pseudo-patriotic complaints is Wohl's "poor syntax and meandering sentences." Not only does Paez follow this up with nothing more than meandering himself but begins his tirade by making the sophomoric mistake of using a word that doesn't exist in the English language: irregardless. There is no such word. The word you were looking for was irrespective or regardless. So do your homework before criticizing others.

He also claims to have "no particular ax to grind or ideology to espouse aside from the truth." This claim hardly passes the laugh test as the letter is entirely "ideology," however ignorant Paez may be of this certainty. Unfortunately, his facts are worse than his grammar. I can categorically dissect all of his arguments and will gladly debate him in person anytime, anywhere but space is limited. Instead I will just point out the most glaring inaccuracies.

Firstly, America is not allowed unilaterally to disregard the UN. It has in the case of Iraq as well as many times in the past, but this according to the US Supreme Court is a violation of a treaty - the "highest law of the land." This is an act of aggression, considered a worse crime internationally than genocide.

Stating that Iraq has been "clearly aiding terrorists" is simply a lie. Seeing soldiers in Iraq with Remember 9/11 stickers on their helmets show just how pervasive the Big Lie has become. Both Bush and Blair have stated on the record that this is not the case, that there are NO connections between Iraq and 9/11. And claiming that a terrorist is living in Baghdad justifies the invasion of Iraq is odd coming from a Queen's resident considering we have our own terrorist living right here in Queens, Emmanuel Constant, who is hiding in our midst after being responsible for the killing of four to five thousand people in Haiti in the 1990s when Bush and Clinton were supporting terrorism in Haiti. But of course this doesn't show up on Paez's radar precisely because of his ideology.

In closing, antiwar protests are as old as the American Flag. From Henry David Thoreau's imprisonment for protesting the Mexican-American War to Mark Twain's "War Prayer"; from the 3 time winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor Marine Corp. legend Major General Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" to today's voice of conscience Jimmy Breslin, dissent is as American as apple pie. It is a sorry state of affairs when Americans have been dumbed-down to believe that patriotism is about waving flags and yellow ribbons and not thinking for themselves. Obedience without content was the order of the day in 1930s Germany.  It is not something we should be proud of today.


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