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Readers' Forum

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Living Economies

The Fall 2002 issue, Living Economies, has so much to commend it. David Korten's answers to the question “How would we live” are particularly valuable as he so clearly addresses some of the fears of those who resist the changes necessary to achieve the vision of true prosperity for all.

 

Those of us who have so much fear losing what we have. How wonderful it will be when we realize that there is no peace for any of us without justice for all of us and no justice without sharing. Sharing the resources of our planet with all of its citizens must be the keynote of a positive future.

 

Maureen Perron

Half Moon Bay, CA

 

...

Thank you for the excellent issue on living economies. I was particularly intrigued by the “How would we live?” sidebar to David Korten's article.  But then I got to the part about financing retirement. It's not that I disagree with Korten's suggestions. However, currently even many YES! readers are planning retirements based on the stock market. Many of us are heavily invested in large corporations, giving us less incentive to shrink them. How can we change our economy while at the same time betting our

retirements on large corporations?

 

Spencer Hobe

Dublin, OH

 

Context of Israeli Actions

Starhawk's account of the real and psychic violence visited upon the inhabitants of the Balata refugee camp (“The Boy Who Kissed the Soldier”) is both powerful and moving. Unfortunately, her readers are never told why the Israelis are in the camps in the first place. Nor does Starhawk give the Israelis' pain the same sympathetic, humanizing treatment.

 

The Israeli soldiers are searching the camp for bombs—bombs that young Palestinians strap to their bodies and explode in and around crowded Israeli buses and cafes. Where are the human-interest stories devoted to all those, including women and children, traumatized by such horrors?

 

Similarly, Starhawk offers no  explanation—other than gratuitous brutality—as to why the Israelis move through the camps by breaking down interior walls. The answer is self-preservation: more than 30 Israeli soldiers —the ones “barely more than boys” —were gunned down as they moved through the crowded passageways of the Jenin refugee camp last April. What Starhawk characterizes as wanton ransacking is part and parcel of the same desperate search for explosives intended for Israeli civilians. 

 

To omit any mention of why the Israelis feel compelled to be in the refugee camps, or of the suicide bombers incubated and armed there, presents only half the story.

 

Ross Kaplan

Minneapolis, MN

 

Hyphenated People

I am an elderly woman: African-American, African in America, Black, Negro, colored, and many other names. I answer to all of them. Black was claimed as a political term back in the ‘60s. It is not the opposite of White as in White people. It is not about color, as many people acknowledge there are no Black, White, Red, Brown, or Yellow people. At one time, all of the oppressed people of the British Empire identified as Black whatever their skin color or race. If I am not mistaken, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people identify as lavender and rainbow people.

 

Some people pretend that African-American is an ethnic category. During my lifetime, ethnicity had to do with the nation that our ancestors came from. I and most African heritage people don't know what nation our ancestors came from. We probably came from many different (African, indigenous, Asian, and European) nations.

 

I use ‘White' to refer to a term invented by ruling-class White people as one of the tools in the creation of white supremacy, also known as systemic racism or racial oppression. The term European-American reminds me of the White people who have just discovered that there is only one human race and get angry with people of color who identify as Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, White, etc. as being racist. If there are no White people, what does white supremacy refer to?

 

Until White people (collectively) understand the nature, history, and consequences of racial oppression, I will continue to use both terms to reflect the historical and contemporary racism, as well as the choices that White people have. I support your personal decision. I wonder how many will join you and how many will seriously take on the challenge of racial and economic

justice in the world.

 

Gwen

via email

 

Impending Iraq War

In October, the staff at YES! produced a special Web issue about the im-pending war on Iraq and forwarded a list of “10 Questions Americans Are Asking as the US Government Prepares for War” to an email group. Some of the responses are reprinted here.

 

Thank you for this email. One wakes up and goes to bed with a heavy heart these days, and it is comforting to know that there are still people living in the US who think rationally and objectively and without fear! When ignorance is combined with power and money, the scenario gets extremely dangerous. This is the case with the US under George W. Bush's rule. The consequences of this kind of an unprovoked war anywhere are disastrous, but even more so in the Middle East. The whole world will burn. Americans don't understand the Arab/Muslim psyche, but I used to grant them more

common sense.

 

Sarah John

via email, Germany

 

...

Thank you very much for all the work that went into this excellent compendium. I am circulating it to everyone I know, including a few rightist conservative types. But: Methinks the Question Americans Are Asking is: Why are we trusting George W. Bush and his administration?

 

John Kalbrener

Minneapolis, MN

 

...

Thanks so much for being there in these worst of times. YES! is a consolation, comfort, and inspiration. This country/empire is sinking fast to the bottom of the sea. Even if we revive it, it needs complete overhauling to make it safe and habitable for humanity and all life forms remaining.

 

Florence Windfall

via email

 

...

Although each of the questions in your email forwarded to me is legitimate and very well-intentioned, I was more struck by the type of questions which were not included, questions such as: “What effect will war have on the ordinary people of Iraq?” “Who will govern Iraq after Saddam Hussein?” “Will this new government be democratically elected and have the support of the people of Iraq?”

 

The concerns of ordinary Iraqi people just don't seem to register on your list. I would have expected more from educated and informed voices across the pond. As it is, the answers to the three questions above are far more frightening to the ordinary Iraqi people than the consequences of war are, or will ever be, to ordinary American citizens.

Nevertheless, I welcome all efforts to call a halt to this self-serving crusade by George W. Bush and his storm troopers.

 

Olan McGowan

Dublin, Rep. of Ireland

 

More on Kucinich

Studs Terkel, in his article in The Nation, did Dennis Kucinich a disservice when he failed to quote all that the Congressman for Peace has to say regarding his position on pro-choice/pro-life. David Corn, in his article “Deeper Rivers” in the LA Weekly (May 10), writes: “[Dennis Kucinich] explains that he represents one of the most Catholic districts in the country and was raised in a Catholic setting: ‘I believe in the sanctity of life and that life begins at conception.' But, he adds, he has ‘never taken a position that Roe v. Wade should be overturned or that people should be prosecuted for abortion.'”

 

I suspect that Dennis Kucinich believes as I do. Women's bodies should never have been allowed to become political footballs in the first place. It's a form of insanity that has, and continues to cause, a great deal of heartache.

 

Madelon Rose Logue

Los Angeles, CA

 

Peace Persists in Bali

I was in Bali the night of the recent bombing, but 30 km from the site. I can report that the spirit of Bali is intact however. Lt. Col. I Made Murda of the Bali police told us that, although hundreds of shops and restaurants had their windows blown out in the blast, not one single looting has been reported. In Legian there are shops with no windows and doors, all their wares there for the taking, but nobody has stolen a thing.

 

There were fears of an instant reaction against the Muslim population in Bali, but no such thing has happened. What has happened is that there have been peace vigils and prayer meetings all over the island, and Christians, Muslims, locals, and foreigners working hand in hand in the relief effort.

 

Bernard Lietaer

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