Letters

Readers respond to "The Arabian Panther," by Abigail Esman, and "A Father's Pledge," by Tim Grieve. Plus: The folly of O'Reilly's Hollywood Nazis outburst.


Salon Staff
June 18, 2004 1:18AM (UTC)

[Read "The Arabian Panther," by Abigail Esman.]

Ms. Esman bends over backward not to say the blindingly obvious: that Jahjah is a violent fundamentalist bigot who hates the West and everything it stands for.

Everyone who calls himself a liberal should be up in arms against this threat to Europe's tolerant, liberal, pluralistic, secular democratic society.

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Liberals rightly fight against the threat posed to Western freedom by Christian fundamentalists all the time. Muslim fanatics deserve the same condemnation, and should not be fawned over as "part Malcolm X, part rock star."

-- Earl Hartman

Esman describes the AEL as anti-Semitic, anti-white extremists with an agenda, and politicians such as Le Pen as the defenders of Europe. Need Salon be reminded that Le Pen and his fellow European xenophobes have been spreading their brand of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bigotry in mainland Europe since the 1960s?

For all Esman's bluster about the AEL's "extremism," not a single line was written about the extreme situation of Europe's Muslim population -- in many countries, denied full citizenship rights to employment, housing and education. In short, why should the AEL extend their hands in friendship to Europeans who won't even recognize them as countrymen to begin with?

-- Daniel Tasripin

[Read "A Father's Pledge," by Tim Grieve.]

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Thank you, Michael Newdow. As a lifelong atheist raised in the deep South, I understand the "death by a thousand cuts" we nonbelievers endure daily in America. America's founders went out of their way to institute an unambiguous separation of church and state -- which is why I find America's failure to live by this principle heartbreaking.

Now, as defined by the conservative right, religious freedom and freedom from religious indoctrination has become little more than a courtesy granted to non-Christians and atheists by the Christian majority -- and a quickly eroding courtesy at that.

-- Bob Grimes

If Michael Newdow doesn't keep his mouth shut with his absurd charges of "date rape" and comparisons of his ex-girlfriend to a serial killer, he's going to destroy any credibility he might have. He really does need to put a barrier between his brain and his mouth. As it is, he comes across not as a valiant fighter for the separation of church and state, but as another embittered male chauvinist trying to make life hell for the mother of his child.

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Michael, stop being on my side. You're making my side look stupid.

-- Crystal Di-Anno

[Read this week's installment of "Right Hook," by Mark Follman.]

Having been around long enough to remember a time before Lee Atwater and the politics of personal destruction, I was not surprised by John Kerry's magnanimity toward Ronald Reagan, or even by George Bush's graciousness toward the Clintons. What has amazed me, however, is the near-apoplectic reaction from the far right.

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I realize now that the enemy most feared by the right is not the "liberal left" but rather the spirit of bipartisanship and moderation that was recently shown by individuals on both sides.

I suppose it would be too much to ask George Bush to seize this opportunity by firmly denouncing the hateful right-wing media elements that have done so much to divide and polarize Americans. But Sen. Kerry is definitely on the right track in (reportedly) considering a moderate Republican running mate. If Sen. McCain isn't interested, perhaps another moderate Republican would be. It might go a long way toward healing the partisan wounds that have been inflicted on this country by the far right in the last 15 years. At the very least, it could, once and for all, drive Ann, Rush, O'Reilly, and their sad, pathetic ilk, over the edge.

-- Jim Morova

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I find it the height of irony that Bill O'Reilly compares Michael Moore to the Nazis when just this morning on his radio show he said the following about Fallujah, "You don't do what I say, you get a bullet in the head." He also advocated turning the city into "rubble."

Perhaps O'Reilly would explain how his proposed actions are any different from those of Saddam Hussein, whom he labeled a "thug."

With talking heads like O'Reilly and Michael Savage, incendiary rhetoric is the order of the day and facts be damned. Boil it down to a few simplistic talking points that fuel people's anger and you've got a recipe for the kind of actions that O'Reilly advocates. And he's comparing liberals to Leni Riefenstahl?

-- Todd Prepsky

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While I am disappointed to hear about the anti-Semitic graffiti, etc., at U.C. Berkeley, Michael Totten's characterization of the Israel-Palestine issue as a "campus cause du jour" is inaccurate. Israel-Palestine was the issue for many of us at Berkeley in 1989 and it has been an issue that we've carried with us to this day.

-- Adam Stanhope

Former police sergeant Bob Weir says, "NYC has about 40,000 cops, yet crime is on the rise." Perhaps a note following his statement is in order -- FBI statistics say exactly the opposite. For 2003, "serious crimes -- murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell 5.8 percent compared with 2002," the Associated Press reported.

-- John Broughton

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Salon Staff

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