Happy Ten-Year Anniversary
It's the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, and we are less secure now ("An American Blindness," Sept. 7). We have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the "war on terror" and we are fostering hatred of the United States by our brutal behavior. We have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands in Iraq, destroyed their infrastructure, displaced millions and sown the seeds of a religious war that will last generations. We're doing the same in Afghanistan. Hostility toward Muslims is rampant, and Islam is seen as a violent religion, but there is no religion more violent or interested in conquest and domination than Christianity—this time for oil. If other countries did to us what we've done to them, we'd be "insurgents" too. We're sacrificing young Americans again in wars based on lies, utilizing the children of the poor. Our soldiers are traumatized by terrible physical wounds, by the horrible things they've experienced and done, by multiple deployments and by stop-loss and abandonment by the government when they return.
Our economy is a shambles. WWII pulled us out of the Depression. If we brought our troops home, what would they do? I feel such terrible sadness at the waste of it all. Again.
The Book That Changed It All
I was quite affected by Kenna Lee's writings ("Pipeline of Tears," Sept. 7). As a father of four wonderful kids, I too feared for their future and well-being in a world affected by drastic climate changes and huge carbon releases. I too spent my life worrying and stressing out, never smiling. Happiness was a forgotten emotion.
One day, I came across a book that changed my life and turned my fears into hope. I chanced upon Watermelons by James Delingpole, and as I started reading it, at first very skeptically, I slowly felt my angst dissolving until I realized how strangely relieved I felt and how a smile, long forgotten, slowly reappeared on my face. Since then, I'm a changed person. I laugh, I'm happy, and I realize my past beliefs and fears where unfounded.
I strongly advise Kenna and any others suffering from the same condition to read that book. It might just change your life, too.
Writing a New Political Song
I can empathize with Juliane Poirier regarding her struggle to compose (or unearth) a political folk song that straddles the balance between hope and realism ("Imagine," Aug. 31). This is one of two big challenges within the genre—the other is finding a middle ground between unpolished polemicizing (what one folk veteran called "giving a speech with music behind it") and, on the other extreme, watering down your content so heavily that you end up with ethereal, meaningless poetry.
Still, there are songs that manage to occupy that rare equilibrium exemplified by "Imagine." For Poirier's consideration, I recommend "Gonna Take Us All," the title track of a 2008 album by my uncle, Jon Fromer. Dubbed "the soulful-est singer in activist music" by several of his compatriots, Fromer invokes the need for a truly collective, nonsectarian movement of the masses to create a more humane and peaceful world. A sampling:
Every culture and community
It takes black and white and brown
Sometimes we won't see eye to eye,
But we stand on common ground
Gonna take us all, to make a change
Take us all, to win the peace
Gonna take us all in the streets
Gonna take us all . . .
Who Are We to Argue?
Deadalus Howell is a Jedi of subtle understanding ("Too Soon?," Sept. 7). The force was with him when he wrote this.
No joke, the email came from StarWars.com.
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