FISK’S MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS; COOPER’S MIDWESTERN PROBLEM
Disappointment” (Dissonance, April 19–25). I would like to thank Marc Cooper
and the Weekly for interviewing Robert Fisk, who has been an honest voice
in the Palestinian situation. I have had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Fisk
at lunch when he was speaking at Northwestern University, where I am a student,
and he truly offers an insightful perspective that is hard to find in the American
media. Keep up the good work.
Robert Fisk claims hundreds of civilian deaths in Jenin. Does he have any
proof of this? Does he repeat “reliable” Arab sources? Why did Marc Cooper not
ask him this question? Accusations without proof, rather than helping to create
an atmosphere for negotiations, simply incite more hatred and violence. The
“best and most knowledgeable correspondent” of the Middle East should know this,
and the L.A. Weekly’s interviewer should have reminded him of this fact.
—Dr. David Shichor
Robert Fisk recognizes that both Yasir Arafat and Ariel Sharon are bad leaders,
but points out what U.S. officials are loath to point out, that Sharon is a
butcher who does not want anything to do with the Oslo accords or a Palestinian
state. Unless the U.S., along with the European and Arab nations, gets involved
and pressures Israel to end its brutal and illegal occupation, Fisk’s disturbing
prophecy of an Israeli-Palestinian war like the French-Algerian war may come
I applaud the L.A. Weekly for publishing this eye-opening interview.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Robert Fisk makes a seriously flawed analogy between the French-Algerian war
and the current Israeli-Palestinian war. To begin with, French Algerians had
a country to go home to, hence the name French Algerians. Algeria was
not a French homeland, thus the French Algerians packed their bags rather than
fight to the end. Israelis are Israelis and speak Hebrew. To what country does
Fisk propose Israelis go? Poland? Germany? The U.S.?
It is this knee-jerk tendency by the Third World banana-republic press to
equate Zionism with racism that has the entire world, with the exception of
the U.S., rooting for the Palestinians. This mentality also pervades France,
a banana republic that lacks even bananas. France does, however, have a rapidly
growing Muslim population that its government needs to placate for domestic
As a Jew who has long supported the state of Israel, I am in agreement with
Robert Fisk’s criticism of Ariel Sharon’s brutal policies of occupation and
military retaliation. As an American, however, I take angry exception to Fisk’s
statement that “Europe” — as if that continent has ever been a single unified
entity — “[hasn’t] had a chance yet to make a mess of the Middle East in the
way you Americans have.”
Mr. Fisk, our friends across the pond have managed to make a mess of the Middle
East in ways that are uniquely European. That began with the Crusades, and a
series of bloody wars fought along the Nile and in the sands of North Africa,
as Italy, France, Germany, Turkey and England fought among themselves to plunder
the region’s strategic waterways and natural resources, including oil. The United
States may have soiled its hands in a similar fashion, but we came late to the
party, and at Europe’s invitation.
“. . . generating an often rock star–like reception (a crowd of 900 saw him
last week in Cedar Falls, Iowa!).” Shouldn’t the presence of 900 concerned individuals
be enough to end the prejudice against the Midwest reflected in the preceding
statement? Who does Marc Cooper think we, his fellow countrymen/women, are?
If the West Coast is the harbinger of forward thought, how do you explain away
Dianne Feinstein and Pete Wilson?
I once told a friend from L.A. that I was from Ohio. He responded with “Oh,
you guys grow a lot of potatoes out there, huh?” With attitudes such as the
ones expressed by Cooper, I am no longer surprised at how my friend came to
St. Louis (that’s in Missouri)
Please tell writer Marc Cooper that this Marc Cooper really enjoys the nasty
comments his readers send me about his stories.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Re: Harold Meyerson’s “Boundaries
Going Up” [Powerlines, April 19–25]. Let’s look back a little, when Israel
had more than fence separating it from Egypt. I mean the Barlev Defensive Line,
which didn’t keep the Egyptians from storming it to get back what is theirs.
What the two countries have between them now is a piece of paper, which is holding
better than any fence and is expected to last for a very long time. â Why? Because
none of the parties involved is holding property of the other in his own hands.
It’s as simple as that. When each party gets back his own property and rights,
this is called justice.
—Aboul-E, Khaled, M.D.
ROCKIN’ POLS, EH?
While I greatly enjoyed Alex Hanley Bemis’ musing on The Band’s last waltz
through our hearts (“Up
a Creek,” April 19–25), I do want to raise one quibble. Bemis refers to
Ronnie Hawkins, who first assembled the fellows as the Hawks, as an “obscure
rockabilly performer.” Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Ronnie
Hawkins is considered by many critics, and even more musicians, as the founder
of Canadian rock & roll, even though he went there from Arkansas. He has
been cited as a major influence by Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and
many others, and has performed for President Clinton and for every Canadian
prime minister since John Diefenbaker.
—Scott Albert Johnson
WE’RE TALKIN’ DARGIS, DUDE
Re: “To Live
and Skate in L.A.” [April 26–May 2]. Hi. I have been skating for 24 years.
I live in San Diego but now know a lot of the Z-Boys. I just wanted to say that
was a good review done by you guys on this new documentary. I have read only
a few reviews, but I like how professionally written the review was. You guys
didn’t kiss ass as a lot of people have done it seems regarding Dogtown and
I’m a great fan of the Weekly, but I’m a little confused why you need
two regular columns (On and Box Populi) that seem to be largely about watching
TV and telling us what the writer saw. One such column, I think, would do. Both
columns are wittily written with many canny observations, but surely there are
less-investigated sectors of popular culture to which John Powers and/or Brendan
Bernhard could devote their time.
Re: Garry George’s article “Urban
Naturalist: The $5.5 Billion Bird” [A Considerable Town, April 12–18]. I
was deeply offended by his writing, “The gnatcatcher’s side of the courtroom
was open space, and the developers’ was overcrowded with white people in suits.”
Really. Shouldn’t it be “Gnatcatcher’s” with a capital G? Hasn’t the Gnatcatcher
been oppressed by white people in suits long enough that this small dignity
can’t be extended to this proud winged race?
Last week’s Good Times item in Calendar suggested that Hollywood Bowl tickets
are exchangeable. They are not.