By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Letter of the Week
Time for an up-wising
Re Nat Hentoff's "The Court Strikes Fear" [ Liberty Beat, August 23: When will the people realize that they are the government? The people provide the wages for these fools in power. They provide the money for the tools that these leaders use to commit crimes against humanity. If the people do not stand up against the atrocities, they are complicit in the acts performed by the leaders. As for changing laws to protect the government's butt, George Bush got it right when he stated that such writings are merely pieces of paper. Our leaders have already proven that the written word means nothing. The people need to have their eyes opened to the fact that "what is" has always existed since the first traders gave themselves titles such as emperor, king, etc., and began craving power over all. In the next round "the public" will insist on checks and balances for every political move in order to keep politicians in their place: serving the public's wishes for a better society, not raping and pillaging our world.
Out of the ash
Jarrett Murphy's "Blunt Trauma" [August 23 will go a long way in providing a way for healing and acceptance to take place for firefighters and their families. For the last five years we have been fed the fictional, movie version of 9-11: larger-than-life superheroes, inflated tales of rescue, and the happy ending of a quickly cleaned-up site and medals and money in the hands of compensated family members. This fictional version suits politicians who failed miserably to prepare for and react to the terrorist attack. My brother's medical examiner's report said that a radio was found on his bodythe same useless, antiquated radio that failed his fellow firefighters in the towers in 1993. My little brother may as well have been deaf, dumb, and blind during his last living hour in the north tower. I know he never heard the order to come out.
Pardon my mixed feelings about the fatally ill heroes who worked at ground zerotheir heroic drive has surely saved lives on countless occasions. But I clearly remember during the days, weeks, and months after 9-11, the FDNY, NYPD, elected officials, and media called for donations of top-quality masks for these men, but then many of the workers said that the masks were uncomfortable to work in. At the time, I thought they were insanely driven and irresponsible. Prolonged exposure to large amounts of even nontoxic dust would probably have damaged them. I say take care of them, yet I ask, why is everyone surprised that they're sick now? Or must we all act surprised in order to show that we care about them?
Re Jarrett Murphy's "Waiting for Reinforcements" [August 16: We are going to have serious issues with vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. We will be bringing home badly damaged people who will require special-skills training forever. The jobs in the reserves that these soldiers were promised will not be there, because they were bartered away while they were off at war. These vets will suffer division within their families and socioeconomic groups. They will be returning with a death sentence from the poisoning and medical cocktails that they have been subjected to. These vets will be denied medical care, physical therapy, and mental counseling. Like it or not, most of our soldiers believed they were doing this for us, so we owe them.
I am a 100 percent disabled Gulf War veteran, and I have come to the conclusion that the reason vets are treated as second-class citizens, the reason so many of them are homeless, is that society says it cares about the troops, but when it's time to pay for the cost of veteran care, Americans bail out. People are just too greedy to help the soldiers who fight for their freedom. Politicians get away with refusing to raise more money for veterans, because their constituents just don't care.
In the article "Spike Lee's Reality TV" [August 16 Larry Blumenfeld misrepresents my position on the collapse of the Industrial Canal levee, which destroyed the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Blumenfeld states that I suspect the levee may have been sabotaged. This is not correct. I harbor no such suspicions. I personally inspected that levee with the state of Louisiana's forensic team and have absolutely no doubt that the levee was not sabotaged. My observation about "too many similarities" between Katrina and events in 1927 referred to technical errors that amount to negligence by the Army Corps of Engineers and failure to properly care for African American residents.
John M. Barry
I am from neither New Orleans nor the U.S., but I watched Spike Lee's riveting documentary last night with tears streaming down my face. My memories of Katrina (as per TV reports) were of mass devastation, and as I watched the tragedy experienced by those less fortunate (poor, old, young, black, white), I trembled to know that Condoleezza Rice was shopping while all this was taking place. But then again, we always had (white) house slaves who sold out the field slaves. Funny how some things never change.