By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I urge The Village Voice to have the courage to print, in full, the maps of the Barak plan so that readers can determine once and for all what a Palestinian state would have been like based upon it.
Sylvana Foa's April 16 "Letter From Israel" about provoking the terrorists to more terrorism gives the appearance of being balanced, criticizing both Sharon and Arafat, but it has a major flaw. It repeats the tired diatribe of Barak's "courageous peace offer," which was nothing of the sort. Barak's offer actually stated that what Arafat would get was only 40 percent of the West Bank, divided into three separate Bantustans surrounded by Israeli military checkpoints. While I normally enjoy Foa's insights, I find it disheartening that she accepts Mossad propaganda at face valuenot only the so-called generous offers made by Barak, but the bogus so-called documents supposedly found in Arafat's headquarters.
Sylvana Foa's article "The Filthy War" correctly presents the current situation as a catastrophe for all involved. However, she is dead wrong about Barak's offer. The dealings she describes at Camp David included no border with Jordan for a Palestinian state. In fact, Israel would have occupied a border region for an unspecified time. Israeli settlements and bypass roads would have cut the West Bank into three distinct sectors.
In addition, Barak's "courageous peace offer" was not made at Camp David. It was made at Taba in the last days of his leadership, and the principles were accepted by Arafat's team. However, Sharon took power shortly after.
In Sylvana Foa's article "The Filthy War," the question is asked, "Why?" The answer is obvious: During the recent incursion, terrorism against the citizens of Israel dropped to a new low. In addition, bomb-making factories were discovered and destroyed, terrorists were captured or killed, and hard evidenceinwritingwas discovered implicating Arafat and his associates of direct involvement in nefarious activities related to terrorism.
Additionally, I'm not clear who the Israelis are who are constantly mentioned in the article as being critical of the Sharon government. I live in a predominantly left-wing, Peace Now-type of community. I haven't met anyone yet who disapproves of what the Sharon government is currently trying to accomplish.
Mevaseret Zion, Israel
Sylvana Foa replies: Unfortunately, no maps of the Camp David talks exist since no one wanted to put their position on paper until there was agreement on principles. Maps found on the Internet are based on the Palestinian Authority's oft-revised version of events and are just propaganda . . . but evidently effective propaganda. "Non-contiguous cantons," "Bantustans," 40 percent total nonsense, probably based on an earlier Netanyahu proposal. My sources say that Israel accepted the Clinton proposal giving 94-96 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians with the other 4-6 percent of the territory kept for large settlements and traded for other land. The territorial conflict was not the sticking point at Camp David. The hurdles were sovereignty over Temple Mount and refugees. Let me assure you: Arafat blew it.
SPAR SPANGLISH BANNER
While Juleyka Lantigua is no doubt well intentioned and intelligent, her review of my book Living in Spanglish misses the point ["The Spanglish Manifesto," April 23]. I intend Spanglish to be a metaphor for a multicultural, multilingual New World, one that is more inclusive of all races and all languages. Lantigua also fails to notice that my book offers detailed descriptions of the agendas of different Latino groups and is not intended to urge incorporation into a homogenized Spanglish whole.
Finally, my book continually reinforces the idea that what I call Spanglish culture is the direct result of the resistance and ingenuity of our immigrant classes. To say that overworked busboys or delivery people are incapable of self-analysis or self-actualization is more stigmatizing and condescending than most of what you read about Latinos in the mainstream media.
What killed me about Maldoro's column was the combination of frat-house giddiness at actually snagging a dream job like thisbetrayed by the use of sparkling prose nuggets like "absolute buttload"and his play-by-plays of the shitty lighting and bad camerawork on parade in the spliced-together cumshot compendiums he reviewed. Of course the production values suckit's bargain-basement porn, for fuck's sake. I hope Maldoro can diversify his arsenal of criticism to include more than just smirking at bad angles, scuzzy lighting, and unfortunate blow-up mattresses, or he's going to run out of things to say before his next column appears.
I'll be the first to point out that a whole lot of porn is mind-numbingly interchangeable, but if you're going to write about it, you've got to wade through the garbage and find something worth your time, or what you write will be just as godawful boring as what's on the screen. And if you can't spare us the softcore commentary and really talk about what you're seeing, then maybe the time has not yet come for a porn-review column in a major-market newspaper.