Going Postal 

Enjoy the silence
Jane Catoe: I read your feature about WABE's pledge drive and loved it (Jane Says, "Station identification," Oct. 24). I know it's probably not much consolation, but the only thing more challenging than listening to our pledge drive is pitching it! We, too, wish there were another way. My husband says that before every pledge drive I enter my "life in the subjunctive," -- "If only we'd win a lottery ticket, we could donate the full station budget," (difficult since I've never bought one); "If only we had Bill Gates underwrite our yearly budget ..." etc. Yet, even with our exhaustion, the repetition of the obvious and crimes committed against English grammar, it is exhilarating when listeners come through with financial contributions. This time around, it was also very humbling.

Anyway, I want you to know how much I appreciate your wonderful take on a less-than-wonderful task. Thanks, too, for pledging, and for your own pitch at the end of the article. I hope that you are enjoying the non-fund-raising programming now. Small as it may seem, I try to play long pieces and speak as little as necessary in the days that follow a pledge drive.

-- Lois Reitzes, Atlanta

A lovely performance
Curt Holman: I am writing in response to your review of the Alliance Theatre's production of A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Arts, "No picnic," Oct. 31). Specifically, I am writing regarding the performance of Ms. Genevieve Elam, the subtlety and scope of which I feel was tragically overlooked in your review. Rarely have I encountered so elegant and complex a performance from such a young actress. You describe her as "vivacious to a fault," however I found her physical exertion and energetic presence a slim veneer utilized to veil a primal need almost Chekovian in its scope.

While Ms. Elam may be a splendid beauty, I found this in no way contradicted her situation. She has constructed a character whose naivety in regard to her own stunning physical charm only serves to heighten her final position as a victim and tragic heroine. The strenuousness of her early enthusiasm and the wilting grace of her final downfall made this one of the most touching and affecting performances I have witnessed in some time. I only hope that if you see the production again you will be able to view this future star with cleansed sight.

-- David C. Wells, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Royal pains
Yes, Cynthia McKinney has every right to ask Saudi Arabia for donations to her causes and she has had five terms in office to do so, but she chose this opportunity to get some media attention (Flip Side, "Is U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney an embarrassment to her post?" Oct. 24). She and the Saudi prince have quite a lot in common it seems because the only reason he was willing to give New York the donation was to get his own media attention. Has anyone followed up with Rep. McKinney's office to see what the prince's response was to her cheap begging letter?

To think that she would get any support from the Saudi Arabians for our internal problems shows her basic lack of knowledge of how our world works and the fact that she is re-elected time after time shows the lack of knowledge on the part of her constituents. The "hand-drawn" district she represents should be the most embarrassed. That letter was not about concern for black people or "the state of black America" as she puts it, but more about her selfishly boosting herself into the spotlight to spout her own political agenda and take advantage of this tragedy to get some free publicity -- and unfortunately that is exactly what she achieved.

-- Cathy Knox, Atlanta

Exonerating McKinney
I agree with Tom Houck (Flip Side, "Is U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney an embarrassment to her post?" Oct. 24). Cynthia did what she felt was right and I applaud her for that. I wonder why no one jumped all over Henry Hyde when he made the initial comments that Cynthia quoted in her letter.

If more Americans were aware of America's ever-evolving foreign policies, which creates the Noriegas, Husseins and bin Ladens around the world, they (like I) would not have been shocked by the events of Sept. 11. Nor would they question the level of hatred that most of the world feels toward America.

I am most disappointed, however, in the African-Americans who openly blasted McKinney's efforts without having all the facts. What hypocrites! Have we forgotten that just nine short months ago the same folks were jumping up and down about the blatant theft of the U.S. presidency? It's a pity that those of us with our memories intact are portrayed as treasonous.

-- Renae Miller, Atlanta

Palestine by the numbers
It is evident that Richard Shumate understands very little about the Arab-Israeli conflicts (Flip Side, "Is the U.S. doing enough to woo all Muslims in its war against terror?" Oct. 17). Here are some major facts that he ignored:

A Palestinian state was first promised to Palestinians during World War I when the British promised them their independence in exchange for rebelling against the Ottomans. Instead, the British colonized Palestine in 1920.

In 1890, there were 420,000 (93 percent) Arab-Palestinians and 30,000 (7 percent) Jewish-Palestinians, a total of 450,000. Between 1918-1939, Britain allowed for the immigration of 370,000 European Jews, creating new proportions of 800,000 (67 percent) Arabs and 400,000 (34 percent) Jews and an overall population of 1.2 million. This sudden shift in population demographics and the ensuing scramble for arable land fostered the hostile conditions that exist today.

Britain relinquished control to the U.N. in 1947, citing an inability to control the violence they helped to create. The U.S., with a strong Jewish-American lobby pushing for the creation of Israel, picked up where Britain left off and in 1948 supported Israel's aggressive "defense" forces and its displacement of almost 1 million Palestinians.

Today, more than 170 nations have voiced their support for an independent Palestine. The majority of United Nations members, including most European nations, acknowledge that under U.N. guidelines, Israel's neo-Apartheid policies violate Palestinians' human rights. However, the U.S. continues to unconditionally support Israel at the Palestinians' expense. Unfortunately, the recent terrorist attacks against the U.S. are largely a result of this relationship. To begin to analyze (but not justify) the events of Sept. 11, one must first understand this history of Western involvement in the Arab- Israeli conflicts.

-- Todd Massar, Atlanta

Bottoms horror
Ha! As soon as I saw "The worst show in Vegas" (Travel, "Bottom of the barrel," Oct. 17) and recognized the picture of the hosts, I had a terrible shiver run up my spine. I'm a regular to Vegas but hadn't been warned about this disaster. We went in with some first-time-to-Vegas girls, who were already a bit skittish about seeing a topless show. But we guys convinced them ("But it's Vegas!") and we all went in. Needless to say, we had to apologize and grovel the rest of the trip for making them sit through that nightmare. I echo your review -- do not see "Bottom's Up!"

-- Jeff Ballentine, Atlanta


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