April 10: Freedom olympics

This Olympics stands only for brutality and oppression given the true horrors of Tibet.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Freedom Olympics Sir, - The Olympics would never have been be held in apartheid-era South Africa. Think about the true horrors of Tibet: perhaps a million innocent Tibetans murdered, their people denied any rights at all for almost 60 years. They now face being overwhelmed by Chinese immigrants and the destruction of their whole culture and religion. They are denied their wonderful spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who only dreams of a Tibet free from foreign oppression. And what about the peaceful Chinese members of Falun Gong - beaten, imprisoned and tortured for simply meditating? Hundreds of Chinese missiles are pointed at Taiwan, without Taiwan being any threat to China. Taiwan, with its own ethnic population, was only conquered a few hundred years ago by the Chinese, just as Spain once conquered Mexico. Supporters of the Olympic Flame Relay, and of this Olympics, are being traitorous to the cause of humanity. These games should be cancelled, or shifted to a country which respects basic human rights. A number of democracies could each host certain events - the first Freedom Olympics, true to the real Olympic Ideal. This Olympics stands only for brutality and oppression ("Paris protesters douse Olympic torch," April 8). MIKE LANKUTS Canberra, Australia Free access Sir, - Have we lost our minds? Three of our finest are being held totally incommunicado, with not the tiniest scrap of knowledge as to their condition. Yet here we have a convicted, bloody-handed multiple killer sitting in our prison, communicating with all and sundry to his heart's content. Why is he not locked away, out of contact with all, and kept there until and unless we, or at least the Red Cross, are granted access to our precious young people? ("Barghouti sends message to Peace Now on group's 30th anniversary" April 8.) MARCHAL KAPLAN Jerusalem Sir, - Peace Now has weakened our united resolve by dividing the people with the delusion of peace with a sworn enemy which has never once demonstrated for peace with us. To sum up the group's three decades: Instead of rock throwers, we now have missiles and homicide bombers. Great job, Peace Now. FRED CROWN-TAMIR Mevaseret Zion Overheated imagination Sir, - In "Iran training Hizbullah fighters for 'next' conflict with Israel, UK paper says" (April 9) you reported Robert Fisk's article in Tuesday's Independent without comment. Readers should recall that The Independent was the newspaper that published Fisk's account of "the smell of hundreds of bodies buried beneath the rubble" in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002; also that the final death toll claimed by the Palestinian Authority after that operation was 56 Palestinian dead. Israel's figure was 53. Neither Fisk nor The Independent ever withdrew his report, issued a correction or apologized. Once a journalist is proved to have departed from the truth, later reports by him on related subjects should always be suspect. LESLIE PORTNOY Netanya Heart of Israel Sir, - David Wilder is correct. Israel needs Hebron, the heart of Israel. Hebron's founder, the biblical Caleb, is one of two reconnoiterers who had the courage to insist that the Jews enter into the Land of Israel. Not incidentally, his name means "as a heart." Caleb's courage is what is needed to hold onto Israel. Caleb's Hebron emboldens the Jewish heart to persist even when the odds seem against Israel ("Why can't Jews buy homes in Hebron?" April 9). ALICE EIGNER Ma'aleh Adumim Facts don't lie Sir, - As a volunteer for Machsom Watch, an organization which monitors checkpoints and roadblocks, Nomi Lalo is apparently doing a very poor job. "Terrorists do not pass through the roadblocks," Lalo reportedly stated while arguing that these obstacles serve no security purpose ("Diskin: Removing roadblocks harms us," April 6). Clearly Lalo missed the countless cases in which terrorists were stopped by roadblocks and checkpoints. A sampling of such incidents, culled from The Jerusalem Postarchives: • On March 9, 2008, the Post reported that on March 6, "A third member (of a terror group planning an attack on Midgal Oz) was arrested in a checkpoint set up by the IDF in nearby El-Aroub." • On April 20, 2006, the Post reported: "A 19-year-old Palestinian was caught with five pipe-bombs at a checkpoint west of Nablus." • "In the afternoon (of April 2, 2006), a 17-year-old was caught at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus in possession of a two-kilogram pipe-bomb" (reported April 3, 2006). • On March 13, 2006, "At the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, security forces arrested two Palestinians after they were caught carrying a 50-centimeter sword and a number of bullets" (reported March 14, 2006). • On Feb. 3, 2006, two teens were caught at Beit Iba (checkpoint) attempting to smuggle explosive belts, each containing seven kilograms of explosives, intended for populated areas in the center of Israel. The Post reported: "Their arrest prevented a double suicide bombing." • On Feb. 2, 2006, "a military policewoman manning the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus caught two Palestinian teenagers attempting to smuggle 12 pipe-bombs through the checkpoints" (reported Feb. 5, 2006). • On Dec. 29, 2005, a Palestinian suicide bomber en route to carry out an attack in Israel was stopped at a roadblock near Tulkarm and detonated himself, killing an Israeli soldier, his accomplice and Palestinian bystanders (reported Dec. 30, 2005). • Naim Hable of Kalkilya "was caught along with two others with 102 M-16 assault rifle bullets, a knife and stolen property at a checkpoint outside Kalkilya," the Post reported March 15, 2005. Ms. Lalo would like us to believe that terrorists "skirt around" checkpoints - but it is she who is skirting around the facts. TAMAR STERNTHAL, Director Israel Office CAMERA Modi'in Helter-shelter Sir, - It is good to know that schools responded well to the preparedness drill ("Security drill goes off without a hitch at prepared Jerusalem school," April 9). But what about the adults? When the siren sounded in Jerusalem I was on a very busy corner, and virtually no one reacted. But that's no surprise. What were we supposed to do? Where were the instructions, the signs indicating the location of shelters, the people from the Home Front Command? Later, televised reports showed the terrible conditions still existing in many public shelters. Wasn't the unpreparedness of the Home Front one of the major findings of the Winograd Report? And didn't the government promise it would correct the worst mistakes? When they came around and collected our gas masks (which they are apparently now going to redistribute), that was a perfect opportunity to check local shelters and put up signs. Please inform us when all shelters will be repaired, properly equipped and clearly marked by signs. I hope it will be before the next drill. JAN SOKOLOVSKY Jerusalem Simply said Sir, - To enlighten Haim Lerner, who wrote about the court decision regarding the sale of hametz during Pessah (Letters, April 9): "Public" means owned by the government. "Private" means owned by individuals or businesses. Sidewalks are public spaces, while stores are private businesses. "Coercive" is demanding that other people do as you want them to. Secular Jews want a choice, and don't demand the haredim act secular. The haredim demand that everyone act as they do. DAVID TEICH Rehovot