We can see similar language in President Mugabe of Zimbabwe's yearly addresses as well as other places where sodomy laws are enforced and LGBT persons live in fear. What differentiates reggae is that it's a mode of transmission of such calls to violence. This remains inexcusable and should not be protected as "free speech." What we are talking about is not, as Ms. Oumano tries to argue in her article, imperialism and national sovereignty (let Jamaicans be Jamaicans, we have so little because of the colonialism and the IMF) but about giving voice to the most marginalized of the marginalized, those who cannot even give their identities expressions in dancehall music for fear of being dragged out of their homes and beaten to death.

Stephan Sastrawidjaja
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, New York

Stewart vs. Stewart

The message of your piece comparing the two Stewarts, Lynne and Martha ["Punishing Mmes. Stewart," Chisun Lee, February 16-22], is striking enough. But it is clear that the only association between them is that they share a surname. Lee was incomplete otherwise in her analysis.

Martha represents the very best of our system. Her use of the loopholes deliberately written into the laws that allowed avarice to embellish her estate is like adding a cup of water to the Hudson River. How would she have ever known the difference? She played by the rules, however excessively. Lynne, on the other hand, is being persecuted for believing the laws are written not to provide for that greed but to protect the people.

Lee wrote that no one has shown that either case actually harmed anyone. Not true. That was the myth put out during the Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken cases. When the swindles are serious stock manipulations of any sort and funds are transferred and hoarded, businesses get hurt and progress of the company in question is curtailed. This filters down to business failures, plant closings, and the jobs lost from layoffs. Perks are lost in the shuffle. Health care, pensions, and other ancillary benefits are lost as well. The Bush cabal will use this to further, for example, privatize Social Security, pointing to its alleged failure under the present system.

That we can illicitly indict and convict an attorney in this present political climate will filter down to the containment of our civil rights attorneys, who will be less energetic in defending unpopular clients, those who need it the most.

German Martin Niemöller's words that he did not speak up when they came for the Communists, the Jews, and the trade unionists, because he was not one of them and then had no one to speak out when they came for him ring true once again.

Don Sloan

« Previous Page