Lost Generation

I am overwhelmed by Nat Hentoff's reports on atrocities committed against my people in the villages of south Sudan ["The Execution of Black Children," February 6]. I could not help shedding tears over the graphic account of the ordeal faced by the schoolboys who were abducted in Marial Bai. As one of the "lost boys" who lived in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya after leaving my village in southern Sudan to escape the civil war, I was reminded of what I went through as early as age 13.

Our people in the villages have silently suffered the effects of war for years. But little coverage is given to our plight by the international media. It is time that world leaders come together to reconcile the warring parties. Although I now live in Canada, I am still tormented by the past and what my brothers and sisters are facing in the plains of Bhrel Gazal.

Akol Lual
Ottawa, Canada

I came across Nat Hentoff's February 6 column on slavery in Sudan while searching for something to read with my English students. As an American expatriate, I am always trying to prove that there are real U.S. journalists with something of their own to say—and Hentoff is a good example. But I'm not sure if I have what it takes to bring up the genocide in Sudan, even though the French press is often alone in speaking out on such things. I had no idea of the atrocities until I read Hentoff. Isn't this equivalent to what the Nazis did?

In Sudan there are smoke signals of distress, but most world leaders obviously don't have the slightest concern about 2 million killings. I think I'll go in tomorrow and blow smoke in my students' faces.

Christine Darsigny
Nice, France

Arctic Chill

"Our perfrigid town"? " . . . lugubriously ice-encrusted [and] bedecked with crystalline stalactites"? " . . . the last outpost"?

I suppose someone as creative as Guy Maddin ["Death in Winnipeg," February 6] is entitled to his artistic license. Now I'm off to take my dogsled team to the daily caribou hunt down by the local ice-fishing hole. But where did I leave my mukluks?

Bartley Kives
Winnipeg, Canada

2Steps Back

After reading with interest Scott Woods's article "2Step's Ticket to Paradise" [February 6], I feel compelled to enquire, as a DJ and journalist, why Woods ignored the real background behind the christening of this music.

2step, as a genre description, refers to any rhythm not strictly centered around 4/4 time. Popular with 1970s-1980s Southern Soul scenes in the U.K., tracks like Jocelyn Brown's "If I Can't Have Your Love" came under the 2step banner just as the term was bandied around reggae and blues dances during the same period. From these black, English origins has come a music that has united the survivors of rave music (golden years of 1990-1993) and those DJs and artists who kept faith with U.S. garage while the rest of the U.K. fell head over heels for European trance.

As Woods pointed out, 2step is also a movement married to modern-day U.S. r&b, both in the charts and in the clubs and streets. He might also have focused on how much money and attention is now given to the newer generation of young 2step artists, such as Oxide and Neutrino with "Casualty," and how every Zac Toms remix further splits the scene into different camps. In a very short time, some heavyweight talent and business acumen have emerged from this scene, and it was a pity that the vastly different aspects of this music were not more evenly covered in the article.

Congratulations on realizing that "there's a riot going on," but get with the programme, New York. You don't have to wait for La Ciccone's approval to shake your booty.

Pat Mac Mellow
Dublin, Ireland

Modern History High

Bravo to Kevin Nelson for his well-put-together article "The Year in Pot" [February 6]. The death stats alone that he cites for other drugs in comparison to marijuana should make people realize that maybe they've been wrong about pot prohibition, and the amount of money spent to incarcerate marijuana patients while they serve long prison terms is insane.

I plan to use this article for an assignment in my U.S. modern history class.

Ivy Eads
Seattle, Washington

Seeds of Doubt

I can't believe Kevin Nelson's assertion that marijuana, unlike other drugs, was not responsible for one death in the year 2000. Exactly how do you know that? I have no attachment to marijuana prohibition, and I abhor the hypocrisy of legalizing drugs like alcohol and tobacco while demonizing others—most notably so-called hard drugs (and those addicted to them). Also, coming from Australia, I'm appalled by the incredibly harsh penalties handed out here.

But let's get real. Injury and death must sometimes be the result of pot use. It is, after all, a drug that alters consciousness and impairs judgment and normal function. Frankly, I find it just as frightening to think of sharing the road with a stoned driver as with a drunk one. But since motorists aren't tested for it, you won't find stats.

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