Alisa Solomon may be a bit too pessimistic about the likely effect of the World Trade Center attacks on U.S. attitudes toward the Arab-Israeli conflict ["Fuel for the Fire," September 25]. I share Solomon's distaste for Israel's methods, but I don't agree that they will inevitably become more palatable to the American public as we grapple with our own terrorist problem.

It may appear to some people that we have taken a hit in part because of our support of Israel's behavior in the occupied territories, and it would be a grave error for Israel's leaders to behave as if they have just been written a blank check.

Matthew Greenfield


Thanks for Richard Goldstein's article "That's Entertainment!" [September 25]. It encapsulates what many of us felt but could not quite formulate while watching the disaster on TV. As I watch the preparations for war becoming more and more insane, I cannot help but be relieved that there are a few calls for reason amidst the madness. Long live the Voice of sanity.

Sarah Enany
Cairo, Egypt


Re Richard Goldstein's "That's Entertainment!": When I saw the World Trade Center towers fall, I also thought not only of Independence Day, but Mars Attacks!, which was released a few months later. Both films used special effects to "destroy" nearly every famed landmark on earth. Neither film offers any worthwhile critical basis for the virtual apocalypses they engineered. Rather, they (along with countless other Hollywood extravaganzas) are pure spectacle: cinema and computer technology reveling in its own narcissism. When those once unbelievable images were made real on September 11, I couldn't help but think that the attacks were comments on America's own decadence. It seemed that the terrorists, striking from a tradition in which filmic images are profane, were saying to us: If this is all you can think to do with your wealth and fabulous technology—create images of your own annihilation—then we will show you the real thing.

Hugh Siegel


I have just read "City of Ghosts" [September 25] by Tom Robbins and Jennifer Gonnerman. Although I wish that circumstances had never required such an article to be written, it was an extremely well-done piece that really helped me, a non-New Yorker, understand more of the personal side of the tragedy. In all of the television news and endless replaying of the attacks, it is all too easy to forget the smaller things, that the victims were real people just like us—they read books, they ate doughnuts, they had families and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Matthew Reames
Roanoke, Virginia


Nat Hentoff's piece about a possible return to McCarthyism was right on the money ["Liberty Is a Fragile Thing," September 25]. But I would add that the loss of freedom comes not only from the government, but from the everyday actions of people. I've already heard stories of people refusing to eat at Afghan restaurants and I worry about my Pakistani and Afghani friends, especially the ones that were born and grew up in this country. Bigotry doesn't concern itself with details like that. I do hope the Left can put together a united front against government intrusion and public ignorance. I certainly plan on being on the front lines of that war to protect our civil liberties and First Amendment rights.

Leslie Anderson
Mamaroneck, New York


"The New World Order" [September 25] by James Ridgeway and Camelia E. Fard was an amazing article. I would normally consider myself the antithesis of a typical Village Voice reader, but the article's points on what could await us in central Asia were dead-on. Not only was the piece well-written, but it seems that this tragedy is drawing Americans from all sides of the political spectrum together.

Jan Doernte
Berlin, Germany


The photo by André Souroujon on the September 25 cover of the Voice is absolutely superb. I found it haunting and appropriate.

Barry Flannery
Stuart, Florida


During the year that I have been living and studying in Manhattan, I have made many a negative comment about New Yorkers; their rudeness, their individualism, their selfishness. Since Tuesday, September 11, 8:45 a.m., I have taken them all back.

I saw immense dignity in the stunned eyes of thousands of people as they fled downtown Manhattan. I saw them walk with outstanding discipline, so that what could have been a fatal stampede turned out to be a remarkably quiet procession that stretched out for miles. I saw pure humanity pour out into the streets as strangers handed out glasses of fresh water to those whose throats had been parched by the smoke. I will always remember the man who stood a few blocks away from the demolished World Trade Center bearing a sign that said, "Free Hugs."

As a foreigner, the first thing you notice when arriving in the city is that everything about New Yorkers is enormous: their buildings, their cars, their portions at the restaurants. . . . I did not know until last week that their hearts are enormous too. I shall never look at my fellow commuters the same way.

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