Letters for July 12, 2007

What about the Iraqis?

Re “God & War” (SN&R Feature Story, June 28):

I found these clergy’s silence about Iraqi suffering profoundly disturbing.

After four years of U.S.-British occupation, one in five Iraqis is either dead or a refugee. More than 685,000 are dead (proportionately, that would amount to 3.1 million people in the United States). Two million are displaced within Iraq. One million fled to Syria, and more than 700,000 to Jordan. It is the most massive regional refugee crisis since the ethnic-cleansing of Palestinians to create Israel in 1948!

Are the quoted clergy really so ignorant of “our government’s own actions” or are they blind to the fact that the region is the victim of “what is really going on with [U.S.] foreign policy” and not “crazy people in the Middle East?” The U.S.-initiated disaster in Iraq is precisely about: You shall not kill. You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s. You shall not steal.

Shame on these clergy for spouting nonsense like: “They don’t have a government that is righteous” and “When you’re fighting the war … you’re doing a great kindness.”

Brigitte Jaensch

God says: Stop terrorists

Re “God & War” (SN&R Feature Story, June 28):

It appears that many of the spiritual leaders you interviewed for this issue do not understand our enemy, nor do they understand one of the legitimate functions of governments.

These terrorists represent a new kind of war, very different from conventional war. Protection from their deadly activity depends on discerning who they are before they attack, because threatening them with something we would do to them after the attack means nothing to people who will gladly blow themselves up for their cause. Our nation and other nations in the Western world are in a massive effort that is costing uncounted billions of dollars and millions of man-hours to try to find terrorists before they act—because by the time they act, it’s too late. We have to discover them, unmask them, expose them and therefore protect people from them.

And I think those of us who are Christians have to be particularly concerned about this, because we have a sense of what is right. We have a sense of righteousness and justice, and, yes, a hatred for war.

So I certainly support our nation’s effort to engage in the war on terrorism because the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that governments exist to protect innocent people from those that would do them harm. Christians understand that this is a function of government. In fact, biblically, it’s one of the very few legitimate functions of government. The government bears the sword. God has given governments the right to kill in order to protect life.

Many Christians, me included, will gladly proclaim the support of our president and the support of the war on terror in Iraq. We will rise up in the name of righteousness and affirm the validity of this war on terror and the necessity of it. Contrary to what one of your religious leaders, [Father] George Wanser, believes, no war is unjust that protects the innocent from harm—and that’s what our soldiers are doing in Iraq.

Carlo C. Rose

Soooo ugly

Re “You’re ugly … on the inside” (SN&R Guest Comment, July 5):

I was all set to be sympathetic to Liz Purcell’s Guest Comment. She opened with a description of an unprovoked woman assaulting her by throwing water in her face—and I, too, had once suffered an assault-by-water from an unprovoked woman.

She revealed that her form of “ugliness” was an unusually large nose, and I reflected on an incident in my youth when a fellow student showed off his mastery of a new vocabulary word by publicly announcing, “Fred has a bulbous nose.” I’ve been self-conscious ever since.

Her message was obviously that it is morally wrong and counterproductive to judge people before you get to know them, a philosophy that resonates strongly with me. But then, with no logic other than the politically correct policy of blaming everything somehow on men, she segued into a generalized attack on men.

I don’t know what you look like on the outside, Liz. From your picture, you look cute. But as someone who was criticized by you without your ever meeting me, what I’ve seen of your inside is … well, ugly.

Fred Hayward

Ignorance defined

Re “Ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste” (SN&R Trust Your Ears, July 5):

I generally like most of what Jackson Griffith has to say, but I simply can’t believe that he would so vehemently slam a book that he admittedly hasn’t even read (Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture).

If he had read the book, he would have discovered that his assumptions about Keen’s arguments are rather off base. Uneducated reviews of reviews and espousing third-party viewpoints as his own analysis are oddly ironic, considering that this is the sort of thing that Keen is trying to guide us away from, or at least highlight as a possible problem area to avoid.

Griffith doesn’t have to agree with what Keen says, but as an educated person (I assume) one would think—no, hope—that he would do himself the favor of knowing what is being said before entering the debate, and especially before writing a column on it.

Chema Salinas
via e-mail

Go, Christian greens

Re “Onward, Christian greens” (SN&R Guest Comment, June 28):

I really appreciated Anna Barela’s straightforward cry to the Christian community to get behind green.

As a former Christian, this is one of the issues that drove me straight away from the church. As a human on this planet, I want to live in the most eco-friendly environment that I can, not only for my personal pleasure, but also to glorify God. Too many Christians are willing to deny that simple things like recycling and reducing carbon emissions are important to keeping this world a healthy, happier place.

In addition, the majority of Christians that I know personally and politically continue to state, casting all evidence aside, that epidemics such as global warming do not exist.

I agree with Barela; regardless if the “end of the world” happens today, tomorrow or a thousand years from now. As long as I am here, I want it to be green.

B. Carney
via e-mail

More than one hip-hop battle

Re “Hater baiters” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Arts&Culture, June 28):

Thanks to Josh Fernandez for his article drawing attention to one of the many arts and entertainment battles that are likely to get more heated in our “world-class city.”

Still, props given, at times Fernandez made Mahtie Bush look like some kind of a conspiracy theorist on a mercenary bid for attention. For example, was Fernandez trying to be funny when he asked his editor, Matt Coker, whether or not he hates hip-hop as a response to Bush’s statement that SN&R does not support hip-hop in Sacramento?

Why not draw parallels between the closures of venues for youngsters under the age of 21 (such as Junta and Joe’s Style Shop) and the demonization of hip-hop? Or, since SN&R editor Coker actually wants more hip-hop, why not have a weekly hip-hop column, as the paper used to when Mosi Reeves was writing for SN&R?

That said, the battle between gangsta rap and conscious hip-hop has done more to divide hip-hop artists in small communities like Sacramento than it has to make anyone aware, in my humble opinion.

Hip-hop is a genre, like jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll. I might hate prog but love garage. However, I can still see that there is a relationship between the two and that they both exist within the larger category of rock ’n’ roll. In like manner, the only difference between gangsta rap and conscious hip-hop is the subjects discussed: the beats can be incredible on either, as can the flow, tone, storytelling ability and articulation of the emcees.

Jill Peters


Re “World, heal thyself” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, July 5): According to Dr. Catherine Thomasson, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, nations with oil reserves are 40 times more likely to have civil war, not 40 percent more likely to have civil war. We regret the error.