Letters from the week of February 19, 2004

Soldier On 

Letters from the week of February 19, 2004

The vet offensive: Regarding David Martin's "War Games" (February 5): I feel that the funding needs to appear for this landmark. My father is a World War I historian who has been to Ypres and Passchendaele in Belgium and to Verdun, France -- places where MILLIONS of British, French, Canadian and German 16- to 20-year-olds were killed in senseless slaughters. Two world wars taught Europe to choose its battles wisely. The same cannot be said for the United States.

World War I was the war in which trench warfare, machine guns, heavy artillery, chemical warfare and submarines were introduced to battle tactics. Europe honors its World War I veterans with places like the Menin Gate in Ypres. Can the same be said for the United States? World War I was the war in which African-Americans, Native Americans and Mexican-Americans made significant contributions to service of this country. These are facts that the average person needs to learn about, including George W. Bush.

I've been across Ontario and Quebec. I've seen the service memorials that every Canadian town, regardless of size, has for its veterans. I've seen the monuments on Native Reserves that honor indigenous soldiers for their battle merits.

I've been to wonderfully informative museums in Brantford and Ottawa, Canada. Kansas City could accomplish the same with the Liberty Memorial if it had the foresight and the desire to realize the impact of history. I'd like to see a place with all of the artifacts that the Liberty Memorial curators have access to on display. If people knew the impact of blind nationalism, maybe they would be a little more hesitant to go to war.
Mike Ford

Offensive Tackle
Inside Pitch: Regarding the Jason Whitlock thing (Kendrick Blackwood and Andrew Miller's "Big Sexy," January 29): What person who has a life cares whether Whitlock is an asshole? He is a sports personality, no more, no less. There are plenty of assholes in the metro area, some of whom can do real harm by passing bad laws or finding other ways to rip people off. Why don't you go after them?

The Pitch does make an occasional stab at greatness. Casey Logan's piece on Area Transportation Authority funds going into tax-increment financing developers' pockets was simply excellent ("Busted," October 23). But, alas, your greatness is so short-lived. You're like a dog that wins our admiration, then goes and rolls in a pile of horse shit -- in your case, the useless character assassination stories. Here are a couple more notable victims:

Congratulations, you have made it clear that Clay Chastain has some emotional problems. And Rhonda Chriss Lokeman (Kansas City Strip, October 23) writes for The Kansas City Star, a truly lousy newspaper. Is that a crime?

Pitch, I really don't hate ya. God knows, you are a desperately needed alternative to the Star for regional news. So, be an alternative, damn it!
Marc Briand

Play Time
Peace corpse: The play "How His Bride Came to Abraham" at the Unicorn Theatre is a piece of political pulp fiction (Steve Walker's "Love in a Spider Hole," January 29). The publicity photos for the play look like cheesy propaganda -- the "aggressive" Israeli soldier with a gun to the head of the Palestinian "victim," or the "aggressive" Israeli soldier with a knife at the throat of the Palestinian "victim." Palestinians suffering at the hands of Israelis has become the central story line of this conflict for most media outlets. Real or manufactured, that image appears all too often with utter lack of context, as we see here.

The Palestinian, who is a female terrorist in the play, is depicted as a sympathetic character. She is strong and idealistic, yet she compassionately tends the wounds of the Israeli soldier, whom she finds wounded in Lebanon. And later, they become lovers. In the real world, the self-proclaimed mission of an Arab terrorist is to kill as many Jews as possible.

Michael Stock, who plays the Israeli soldier, does not speak with an Israeli accent. He has an exaggerated Yiddish accent, the stereotypical accent of Jews from Europe.

In the play, the Palestinian asks the Israeli soldier what he would do in her position. He could have said, "Be willing to compromise and negotiate. Accept the right of Israel to exist. Support leaders who are willing to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. Live up to the peace treaty you signed."

To the Unicorn Theatre and Karen Sunde, the playwright of this political pap: Stop glorifying terrorists and wanna-be suicide bombers.
Anita Colman
Kansas City, Missouri

Seldom Scene
Hop to it: Regarding Nathan Dinsdale's "Scene Stealer" (February 5): Nathan, I met you that night at the show, and frankly, what you did with what happened that night shows a lack of understanding of our (Lawrence and KC's) hip-hop scene. Your inexperience with hip-hop shows because of all the buzzwords and references to Mob icons. What is your point?

I am glad to see an increase of press related to local hip-hop. My only hope is that those who report on the local scene spend some time getting to know the scene rather than applying hyped, misleading rhetoric and overdone media buzzwords.

Keep the press coming, and keep coming yourself so you can understand what you are writing about.
Necia Gamby
Kansas City, Missouri


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