It Was a Very Goodyear
I congratulate The Village Voice and Sarah Goodyear for the excellent article about Italian American internment and relocation during World War II ["When Being Italian Was a Crime," April 18]. Your efforts in bringing this story to light are much appreciated.
On the West Coast the relocation of Italian Americans touched many families, most of whom were not famous (although even Joe DiMaggio's family was affected). Nevertheless, using fame to illuminate gaps in history is acceptable to me.
Laura E. Ruberto
Department of French and Italian
University of California at Davis
Thanks so much for running the story by Ezio Pinza's granddaughter, Sarah Goodyear, about the internment of Italian Americans during World War II. As an English professor at the University of Vermont, I have been deep into this matter recently, showing my Italian American literature students a video done by the History Channel and reading from Stephen Fox's book on the subject, The Unknown Internment (1990).
I am shocked that this could have happened in the United States, and even more astounded that the story of it could have been kept secret for so long.
Ezio Does It
As an Italian American with Sicilian roots, I was happy to read Sarah Goodyear's touching account of the tragic incarceration of her grandfather, the great Ezio Pinza.
Pinza's "hidden" story is really not a secret, however. It is mentioned in his posthumously published autobiography, Ezio Pinza (1957). In the book, Pinza credits New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia as being instrumental in his ultimate release.
Thank you for Jean Jean-Pierre's article "The Sound of Silence" [April 18], about the murder of Haitian radio journalist Jean Dominique. The mainstream press in the United States has shown only one side of Dominique's personality. He was much more than a friend of President Preval. He was an advocate of democracy, a molder of public opinion, and a tremendous professional.
The murder of Jean Dominique is detrimental to Haitians whether they live in Haiti or abroad. Haitians listened religiously to Dominique's commentary. He was the only journalist in Haiti who could address issues that made listeners happy, sad, reflective, and frightened, sometimes simultaneously.
If objectivity exists, Jean Dominique was a true living example of it. His programs were color-blind, detached from the many so-called political parties in Haiti, fair to all, and straight to the point. Besides, he had nothing to hide. I sincerely believe that Jean Dominique was murdered because his radio journalism was not and could never be used as a force for bigotry.
Ghana Not Forgotten
Mark Schoofs's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, "AIDS: The Agony of Africa," was wonderful. I have just read all eight parts. I am an international development lawyer working on reforms in West and Southern Africa. Through Rotary clubs I am also working to reform the Ghanaian blood-transfusion service and am involved in TB education and treatment in Accra.
I must say that large agencies do not act in a speedy way, in Africa or elsewhere. Also, I have trouble finding go-getters in the Ghanaian health system and, lately, in the Southern Africa Development Community.
The big organizations, like the Regional Center for South Africa (a component of USAID), just react to inquiries with statements like, "We are doing all those things already." Good, if true. However, the problems are greater than the assets now focused on them. I say there is room for more.
Old Chatham, New York
The first time I looked at The Village Voice's Web site I saw an article by Mark Schoofs on AIDS in Africa. I was riveted and came back every week. It was the first time I had read articles about Africa other than the little blurbs you see in the general media. As a mother, I had to catch my breath while reading a passage describing a woman trying to comfort her dying children in a bed of foul straw in the midst of total hopelessness.
Schoofs's articles taught me about different aspects of the whole horrendous problem, from the politics to the social aspects to the lack of money and, mainly, the fact that most of the "first world" really does not care at all about the "third world."
Congratulations on the Pulitzerthis is the journalism it should awardand hopefully now more people will read it.
Maywood, New Jersey
A Far Cry
Congratulations from afar to Mark Schoofs for winning the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. His writing has been challenging and inspirational, on the cutting edge of aspects of the epidemic that often get marginalized.
Thanks to the Voice, too, for the finest, the most enablingly political journalism.
Richard Goldstein says many important things in his article "Apology Accepted" [April 4], especially about the U.S. learning to apologize for its many past misdeeds.
Since Goldstein spent much of the piece discussing the Jewish response to the pope's apology, I couldn't help but think how therapeutic it would be if some authoritative figure or body in Judaism made an apology for the biblical genocide of the Canaanites. The Book of Joshua relates that the ancient Hebrews exterminated entire cities, "down to the last child," so that they might take possession of the Promised Land. (Of course, many other ancient peoples committed similar barbarities, but their exploits are not enshrined in a book considered to be a moral blueprint by much of the world.)
This apology would ideally be made to the modern-day Palestinians, who some say are the descendants of the original Canaanites and who continue to be dispossessed and "cleansed" to accommodate Jewish (read: Western) colonization.
Many of the outrages perpetuated down the centuries by monotheists (especially Christians) have been justified by the idea that as long as you're doing God's work, you can slaughter as many infidels or heathens as you like. If this way of thinking were officially discredited once and for all, it would be progress.
Sorry State of Affairs
Re Richard Goldstein's article "Apology Accepted": I am an accidental Internet reader, 6000 miles from the Village Voice offices. But probably I am much farther from Mr. Goldstein's thoughts and feelings. An apology is a very personal matter. And accepting or refusing it is personal too.
New generations do not care as much about religious load as, say, sexual preferences or skin color. We just want the best future for our families.
My grandmother died during World War II, and my grandfather was a prisoner in Germany from 1943 to 1945. I silently know what it means, with or without apologies.
As a graduate of the CUNY system (Baruch College, 1998), I felt compelled to write after reading Esther Kaplan's article "Faculty Showdown" [April 18].
I recall an incident that occurred when I had first transferred to Baruch from a small college in the Midwest. There was a so-called "open meeting" in the auditorium to discuss the impending increase in tuition, and Mayor Giuliani and some assorted alums were part of the panel. During the meeting, the mayor dideverything short of outright accusing Baruch students of being lazy and ungrateful.
I began to realize that we were convenient targets. CUNY students tend to be different. Most have jobs, many have children, and hardly anyone graduates in four years. It is very easy to become demoralized when you have to alternate full-time semesters with part-time semesters throughout a college experience that may last six years or more. We were not lazy; it's just a fact that when you have to work full-time and go to school, something's got to give.
Glendale, New York
Food for Thought
Sharon Lerner's April 11 Body Politics column ["The Shrink Brigade"] seemed to imply that mental health clinicians are simply worried about their own financial situations and that they are making big money providing a spurious service to gullible consumers.
As an occupational group, we're some of the lowest paid and least mercenary of all professions. Incomes in my profession (clinical social work) were relatively low 10 years ago, before managed care. In my city, those of us who are in full-time private practice, and who have 15 to 20 years of experience, are now making about as much as entry-level food-service workers. I'm talking about people with master's or doctoral degrees who then went through more years of training to obtain their licenses to practice.
Be warnedas soon as managed care has finished decimating mental health care in this country, it will go on to deny you your needed health care. By then my colleagues and I will have gone on to better-paying occupations and much less draining lifestyles than we have now. Because self-interest does kick in at some pointeven in social workers.
Yikes! Allen St. John's article "Below the Rim" [April 4] implies that the rules of the college game are designed to provide a competitive advantage to teams that play a slow-down game or what he calls "retroball." This may well be true, and the motives of the NCAA are open to speculation. However, to term the style of play favored in the college game "whiteball" and to imply that its oppositewhat the author calls "hip-hop hoops," played mostly by blacksis somehow superior has frightening implications.
If St. John's argument is followed to its logical conclusion, the implications are that blacks have a propensity to disregard coaching instructions (they do not) and that this is an admirable quality (it is not). The best team in college ball today, Michigan State, is predominantly black, yet they won the national championship not by disregarding their coaching in favor of freestyle athleticism but through the implementation of a well-conceived game plan by well-disciplined and intelligent players.
In Allen St. John's article "Survival of the Fittest" [April 25], he states that Michelle Kwan won the last three figure skating world championships. In fact, Kwan finished second last year.
Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi
Rall Wins Kennedy Award
Voice cartoonist Ted Rall has won the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Outstanding Coverage of the Problems of the Disadvantaged.
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