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Lingering Clouds

To the Editor:

The letter to the editor in this month’s Chronogram [“The Clouds of War Reposting,” 2/09] regarding Jason Stern’s views on Israel was disturbing. I understand the impetus to print it and to create a spirit of inclusion. I have a harder time understanding how something so mired in shortsightedness and defensiveness belongs next to pages of progression and open-mindedness. I could spend hours arguing the points expressed in the letter to you, but I would guess you are aware of the obvious ironies and untruths.

I am constantly and consistently baffled that many “liberals” or “progressives” in America step in line on every issue except the Israeli/Palestinian issue. Somehow, on this one issue, militants become terrorists, and Arabic assertions are propaganda. It boggles the mind that an entire population can be so blatantly imprisoned, occupied, humiliated, and “terrorized” and still be considered equals in the constructs or blockades to peace.

One of the first Chronograms I read when I moved here four years ago contained some thoughts by you on the Palestinian struggle. They were enlightened, compassionate, and in tune with everything your magazine embodies. Since then I have read many issues of the magazine and never been disappointed by the purity of ideal and the struggle for truth. Printing the letter from this disenfranchised reader, pontificating on why a few dead Palestinians is more forgivable than a few more, all the while condemning you for your pontificating, was the first stain on the hope I felt upon my first readings.

Despite the claims of the letter writer, it is a rare and indeed astonishing act of bravery to show compassion for the Palestinians and objectiveness in their plight. I want you to know how much I admire your willingness to speak in the search for truth and not to fear the barrage of condemnation that can accompany any questioning of the Israeli government’s positions. This is an issue that stirs up intense emotions, and the term anti-Semitic follows all too easily.

It is sad that the letter writer assumes you would be unwilling to give back land that once belonged to Native Americans. Unless I am missing something Jason strikes me as just the sort who would be open to reparations that might repair such an injustice. There are many similarities between the plights of the Native Americans and the Palestinians. It is unfortunate that someone could be so out of tune with right as to indicate the impossibility of justice.

I wish you all the courage of your convictions and admire your willingness to share them with the world.

Jason Broome, Accord

Editor’s Note: Jason Broome is a regular contributor to this magazine.


The Painting Poet

To the Editor:

A minor complaint here, but you really could use more thorough editing. I found the “Waking Van Winkle” piece in the February 2009 issue quite infuriating.

The author, for all her literary pedigree, apparently had no clue that Thomas Cole was an artist, founder of the Hudson River School of painting. She seemed to think he was a poet. Anyone with any sense of the Hudson Valley and its rich history should know that he was an artist.

Later on, she made reference to “Edmonton, Canada.” This would be akin to saying someone is from Sacramento, USA. If you say “Edmonton, Alberta,” everyone would realize it was Canada.
These minor quibbles aside, I enjoy your publication—the coverage of the arts in our region is generally excellent.

John Duda, Fleischmanns

Editor’s Note: While John Duda is right to point out that Thomas Cole was first and foremost a painter—and indeed should have been identified as such in the article—Cole was also a published poet.

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