letters to the editor 88.
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From one soldier to another
Sir, - I am a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I served from 2004 to 2005, and was stationed at Camp Liberty in Baghdad with the New York Army National Guard. My point in writing is to convey my deepest prayers to the family of the missing soldier.
Combat is never easy, not for us in uniform or for our families. To be killed is a tragedy; to be held hostage, a prolonged agony no one should have to endure.
So I say to the family of the missing soldier: He is in my prayers. He will return to you soon. God is looking out for him. Do not give up hope.
MICHAEL CARL TANNER
Rocky Point, New York
Bit off the mark
Sir, - I found Zelda Harris's letter of June 22 ("Sderot heartbreak") slightly off the mark. I too sympathize with the residents of Sderot; however, I have no idea what they are going through since Sderot today is not like the London I grew up in during WW2.
The whole of Britain was at war, and the country felt it and behaved accordingly. I remember the nightly bombings and the many months of sleeping in public shelters with hundreds of other families. Thousands more slept on the platforms in the underground stations.
Food was rationed. Blackouts were strictly enforced. Many people were taken from their regular jobs and sent to work in factories on war work. Later in the war we had a Morrison shelter in our living room - a heavy metal table upon which we ate our meals and slept underneath in case of an air raid.
Perhaps I should search the Web and see if there are any old Morrison shelters left in case Kassams start raining on Gush Dan.
Sir, - The Spanish Inquisition came into existence in 1480, nearly 90 years after the largely forcible conversion of Jews during monk-inspired riots and mob threats of conversion or death. Epithets like marrano and tornazido ("turncoat") quickly evolved after it became apparent that a large number of the converts were insincere. The only term used by the Inquisition to denote "relapsed" converts (relapsos) was "heretic."
That "conversos" who strove to maintain some degree of Jewish identity in secret derived any solace from the stigma is not reflected in the voluminous literature that I have read, since it denoted sincere or indifferent converts to Catholicism as well ("'Marrano' is ok," Letters, June 16).
What true democracy is
Sir, - Jonathan Rosenblum is significantly qualified to write on the subject of legal prohibitions, given his scholarship in both secular and Torah law. However, "Free speech for me, but not for thee" (UpFront, June 16) would have been more in-depth had he drawn attention to a greater number of abuses perpetrated by the Barak Supreme Court.
Indeed, the record often reflects partisanship in which Arabs are shown favorable consideration over Jews and right-wing defendants are harshly dealt with as against leniency for left-wing individuals on trial. Is it any wonder, then, that the media regularly describe those with right-wing tendencies as "extreme," an endearing term not applied to advocates of the left-leaning society?
One of the virtues of a genuine democracy is its inherent tendency to be a self-corrective system of government by virtue of freedom of speech and of the press; a freedom whereby criticism of the government is not only permissible, but encouraged.
The American-educated Rosenblum is among the few Israelis who understand the meaning of a true democracy.