"What a sad state progressives are in" starts the guest editorial by Eli Lee ["Brothers in Arms," Dec 23-29]. Truer words were never spoken from one who has done much to contribute to the sad state of affairs. Lest one miss the obvious target in this contribution, clearly Eli Lee has moved on from just attacking the Green Party; moved on from getting City Council candidates to withdraw; moved on for bigger fish to fry. Now, apparently Councilor Miguel Gomez is not voting as a member of a bloc, as Mr. Lee would desire. For this, he apparently has to endure Mr. Lee's rebuke.
It still baffles me how Eli presumes to speak for "progressives" in this city, when he has really become an integral component of the Democratic machine. At least the Green Party made an effort to get people engaged in establishing their own agenda and organization. We were indeed grateful for the legal assistance provided by attorneys who are registered Republicans regarding the issue of voter ID. We have been using John Boyd, not a Republican to my knowledge, for the state recount effort, something that Mr. Lee seems to have overlooked in his editorial. We were also grateful to the Republican Legislative Caucus for preventing Democratic Speaker Ben Lujan's effort to raise the pole for major party status in the state to 10 percent of registered voters. It sure beats the alternative of lying down and rolling over so that the machine can have its way.
When I became a Green, I made a decision not just to be willing to oppose both the Democratic and Republican Party at the ballot box, but also to promote an independent political party that has a distinct agenda and platform. We have long sought to define our agenda through our constituencies. There have been Republicans that have sought Green support for their candidacy, who active Greens have respected. There has been one Democratic candidate in recent elections who publicly sought Green and independent support and that was Richard Romero in 2002. In response to that, some Greens expressed support without proposing a "fusion-type" endorsement.
I have seen Councilor Greg Payne work in Council and have no problem with his style of politics. He is a small 'd' democrat in the truest sense of the word. His columns are to the point and insightful in their content. He is willing to say what others see. There are criticisms I can make of any councilor, but I hardly feel that Councilor Gomez deserves to be singled out in this regard. What is the point in it?
This is just more of the old backroom politics, just as Mr. Payne described it. "Progressives" had better wake up and make sure that those who speak for them are actually representing their views through a democratic process. Believe me, Greens have seen what happens when self-appointed spokespeople try to define strategy for everyone else through the media.
Martin Zehr Albuquerque
[RE: Feature, "The Story of O," Dec. 16-22] Once again, I am surprised by exactly how much misinformation can be condensed into one or two paragraphs. And how much misinformation people will accept as long as it's about Christians. Your article "The Story of O" claims that: 1) Celibacy/chastity was invented by sex-hating Christians and 2) Catholic priests are sexually repressed pedophiles. And I'm not even going to address the (sensationalistic, old and worn out) claim the Jesus was involved with Mary Magdalene.
First let's talk about claim number one. Many religions other than Christianity value chastity and celibacy; including Buddhism. So remember, every time you call Christians repressed you are also insulting the Dalai Lama. Also, the official position of the Catholic church is that sex is a wonderful, powerful gift from God, which is precisely why it should be limited to the sacramental relationship of a marriage. In other words, Christians don't hate sex. We respect it.
Now the second claim. Obviously child abuse is a terrible thing, and must be rooted out of any organization. This is why the Catholic church recently commissioned a study to see exactly how widespread the problem of sexual abuse by priests was. The results were interesting. The abuse rate among priests is actually lower than that among teachers, psychologists and married clergy of other religions. Since we can assume that these people's sex lives are as normal as our own, the logical conclusion seems to be that priestly celibacy actually prevents abuse, instead of causing it.
In the future, please remember that religious bigotry is religious bigotry, no matter what religion it attacks.
Maria Staiano-Daniels Albuquerque
In response to Judy Calman's letter ["Arafacts?," Dec. 16-22], I would like to share a little bit of history on occupied Palestine, specifically regarding events around 1948 and the current apartheid situation.
In 1947, the United Nations, under Zionist pressure, appropriated 55 percent of Palestine to the 30 percent mostly immigrant European Jewish population, which owned at that time only 8 percent of the land, thus inflicting a great injustice on the Palestinians. In 1948 Zionist organization, the Haganah, Irgun and the Stern destroyed and ethnically cleansed more than 400 Palestinian towns and villages, robbing 800,000 Palestinians out of their lives. According to the New York Times (April 13, 1948): "Deir Yassin 254 Arab men, women and children were killed by a combined force of Irgun and Stern Group terrorist organizations." In his memoirs, The Revolt, Menachem Begin, then the leader of Irgun, wrote of the value of Deir Yassin: "In the rest of the country, too, the Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with Jewish forces."
The forced expulsion of Palestinians was a prerequirement for forming a Jewish majority in what became Israel. "Apartheid in the Holy Land" was the title of an article in The Guardian (April 29, 2002) by the South African Bishop Desmond Tutu. He wrote "I have been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us blacks in South Africa." Israel confiscates Palestinian lands, demolishes Palestinian homes and expands its illegal settlements and highways with signs saying "for Jews only," while preventing Palestinian towns and villages from expanding. Israelis in neighboring settlements are allocated five times the amount of water allocated for Palestinians, and Palestinians pay six times as much for water as Israelis. In addition to all this, the state of Israel terrorizes Palestinians by killing civilians, including women, men and children. Readers need to be reminded that the real problem here is the dehumanizing and demoralizing military occupation of Palestine by Israel, and for any peace to happen, this situation should end.
Reema Zeineldin Albuquerqu
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