By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
This week's letters section is devoted entirely to mail about the terrorist acts of September 11, which occurred just as the last issue of the Voice was preparing to go to press. The cover of the Voice was changed to a photo of the World Trade Center towers engulfed in smoke and flames, and a last-minute article by Alisa Solomon was included. The letters below respond to Solomon's article and also to several early pieces posted on the Voice Web site by James Ridgeway, Erik Baard, and Laura Conaway. Some of these articles have since been updated.
A DAY OF RECKONING
The Voicehas done a public service by publishing Alisa Solomon's article "Terror Attack" [September 18]. What she describes about New York's tragic and horrible terrorist events is akin to the daily terror one encounters in Israel. Today, no American journalist hesitates to refer to "terrorists" as the cause of this tragedy. But when similar violence occurs in Israel, many mediaespecially CNN and BBCrefer to "militants." Perhaps Americans have learned a valuable, albeit costly and tragic, lesson about the "peaceful intentions" of the Palestinians and their supporters.
I understand Alisa Solomon's fear and outrage at the attack on the United States. Her implicit indictment of the Palestinians, however, is uninformed and ultimately saddens my heart. If we fall into equating this violence with the suicide bombers in Israel, we must be fair and note that Palestinians also live in "perpetual anxiety." The only way we can rise above this violence in our country is to absorb its profundity and refrain from lashing out. In fact, such terror is what the Palestinians have lived with under the Israeli government since 1948.
Having lived in New York back in 1975, I knew that I could find a human touch at the Voice. Thanks for Alisa Solomon's article.
HEADLINES AND DEADLINES
I found "Terror Attack" to be extremely biased and sensational. And to title a Voice cover of this magnitude "The Bastards!"? That and Solomon's use of a witness's gory description show little sensitivity to this tragedy.
Erik Baard's article "Arabs of New York" raised some pressing questions for me. I am a well-educated, bleeding-heart liberal and still, even I have extreme feelings of prejudice right now. I understand there are probably loads of Muslims here who are appalled at what happened. But I wonder how many of them out there are secretly or overtly pleased with the September 11 attacks?
I'm just confusedand I question whether Muslims in this city will be safe from those whose emotions are not as tempered as mine.
PRAYER FOR PEACE
Although I can understand the grief and pain of the American people, please show the world that you are wiser than those who organized this terror. May there be no war that will certainly kill even more innocent people than were killed on September 11. I cry and pray for you and those who committed this crime.
CALL FOR HELP
Why did the terrorists select 9-11-01 as the date of their attack? The obvious answer is 9-1-1! The crew who pulled off this far too efficient maneuver had a sense of the American telephone system.
The sick irony with which this plot has been soaked is far too close to the bone to be completely foreign. The attacks took place with all the calculation of a contrived screenplay, only this time there was no John McClane from Die Hard to stop the planes from crashing by crying, "Yippee kiyee motherfucker."
Laura Conaway's "The Wailing Wall" on New Yorkers looking for their loved ones may be the most moving of all the articles I have read on the tragedy.
A LOAD OF KABUL
I was wondering how long it would take for some bonehead to start criticizing President Bush, even in the middle of the worst domestic crisis this country has ever experienced. Someone should point out to James Ridgeway ["Team Bush Swamped by Crisis"] that the Secret Service was responsible for Bush's "scurrying around the country in a transparent attempt to keep from being killed by terrorists."
Ridgeway just doesn't get it: There's no room for petty partisanship during a time of war. The object is to unify against a common enemy, and Bush is not the enemy. Terrorism is. If Ridgeway doubts that, perhaps he'd be happier in Afghanistan.
MISSING IN ACTION
Jim Ridgeway's Web article on President Bush was absolutely right. I was amazed by the disingenuousness of the press reporting that the Secret Service wouldn't let him go to Washington. The country needed to see the president, and he hightailed it to Louisiana and Nebraska. The danger was past and he didn't race home.
Then, when it came time to speak out, we got this "We are a beacon of light" speech. For the entire day there wasn't a sign of his administration anywhere, except in the form of contrails heading west. We saw Ronald Reagan's former secretary of state, George Stephanapoulos, and even Tom Clancy, but we didn't see Bush Jr., Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, or Donald Rumsfeld. Where the hell were these guys?