Volume 23, Number 4 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 4 - 10, 2010
Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
To The Editor letter writer Dave Silver identified himself as a combat veteran of WWII who was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. For that I am grateful and thank him for his service and sacrifice to this country.
Nevertheless, I am confounded by his lengthy condemnation of Israel, which in one letter he described that nation as having “a racist political perspective”, compared it to apartheid in South Africa, said Israel commits “daily war crimes” and sums up by declaring that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root cause of much of the terrorism we witness today.
Well, that’s quite a mouthful.
Given the fact that there are, or have been, dozens of despotic, genocidal, racist, totalitarian regimes throughout the world, I wonder how many of them have been the subject of Mr. Silver’s articulate, in this case, hopelessly wrong, rants. I have been reading the Downtown Express for a couple of decades, and I just can’t seem to recall anything by Mr. Silver about Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Joseph Kony (the Lord’s Resistance Army, which uses child soldiers) or any other number of tin-pot murderers, thugs and villains. When it comes to Israel, Mr. Silver has an endless supply of ink, paper and bile. What am I to make of that?
Much Needed Message
To The Editor:
“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God”
– Matthew 5:9.
The vote by the members of Community Board One (CB1) in support of a new Mosque in the Ground Zero area of Lower Manhattan sends a powerful and much needed message of peace, shalom and salaam to the whole world. In my opinion, this nearly unanimous democratic vote of love and tolerance by a relatively small group of citizens at CB1 provides a vividly effective counter point to the grotesquely morbid acts produced by a relatively small group of demented attackers on 09-11-01.
I feel that it is vital for those of us who were present on 9/11 and those who lost loved ones to acknowledge the deaths of several Muslims in the WTC attacks as well. It is a fact that we do not hold all Christians responsible for the madness of Timothy McVeigh, Scott Roeder or Jim Jones. When Muslims are so often the targets of radical extremism it is highly irresponsible for us to cave in to bias and then strike out at these actual victims erroneously.
On the other hand CB1’s vote to support this new mosque clearly states that we simply will not be drawn into an endlessly escalating cycle of mega-vengeance, bigotry and hatred, for if we are to survive on this planet we must do so as neighbors.
With that in mind, it is important to note that according to the Christian Bible, Jesus Christ left us only two commandments. As simple as they may seem, these two commandments can be extremely complex and difficult to obey.
His commandments (in paraphrase) are to love God and to love your neighbors.
With their historic vote CB1 has accomplished both and I am very proud of them for doing so.
To The Editor:
In thinking about the Cordoba Initiative’s proposal to build a community center and mosque near Ground Zero, it’s important to remember that the victims of the World Trade Center attacks were a typically diverse group of New Yorkers. They included Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Hindi, agnostics, atheists and others, no doubt, as well.
Some of the victims were visitors, but most were members of the Downtown community, living or working here. Since the terrorists killed Muslims, it seems highly fitting to think about a more visible Islamic presence in a neighborhood that has relatively little. In part, this might be seen as a way of honoring the Muslim victims and their connection to New York.
Flying planes into the World Trade Center towers was a horrific attack by Muslim extremists on a multicultural, multi-ethnic society. It was not an attack of Muslims against non-Muslims, and we mustn’t let it be interpreted that way.
David Dyssegaard Kallick
Kudos to Squadron
To The Editor:
Kudos to the Downtown Express, and especially State Senator Daniel Squadron for coming out so directly in support of an articulate, interfaith-appreciative community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan. Squadron’s words, “religious intolerance, demagoguery and fear mongering have no place in the discussion about development on and around the World Trade Center site,” bring to mind the kind of eloquence and understanding that have become rare.
I’ve walked by the sad Burlington Coat Factory building a couple of thousand times since 9/11 and never dreamt such a welcome fate was in store for it. As a historian of religion, I can only hope the Cordoba Institute achieves its vision of bringing back a genuine experience of tolerance that was commonplace in the post-classical Middle East.
One Rat, Ten Rats
To The Editor:
I have written once before on this subject and now a year later the problem is still here but only worse. I live in Southbridge Towers and the rat population here is simply disgusting. At night, when walking my dog, I have encountered up to 10 rats scurrying about. I have contacted 311 and they said they would look into it. The rat infestation is absolutely horrifying. They come out of the sewers and run in and out of the grassy areas. This problem is not only at Southbridge but on Fulton Street, City Hall Park, Independence Plaza and in other Downtown areas as well. There is no such thing as taking a leisurely walk at night, for fear of encountering one or more rats.
I cannot believe that in this day and age something cannot be done. Maybe if the restaurants could contain their garbage it would alleviate some of the manifestation of the rodents.
St. Margaret’s House on Fulton Street is another area where the rats roam freely. They run in and out of the grassy area in front of the building and on Pearl Street where their service entrance is now a home for rats. They run in and out of the sewer system like they are playing in a park.
I know the construction sites are a big part of this problem as well as the garbage left all over, but something really should be done to contain this problem. It is not only disgusting, but also disease carrying. Everyone should be complaining about this problem and demanding something be done. I have lived in the city all of my life, in Southbridge Towers for 40 years, and this has been the worst I have ever seen it. We should go after the construction sites to do something about containing this problem. Hopefully this letter will light a fire under someone and that person will see to it that something gets done.