Forum, July 18: Abuse in Palestine; Plight of the Children at the Border; Flowers in Hartford

The Abuse in Palestine

To the Editor:

Thanks and congratulations to the Valley News for the recent op-ed on the beating of an American child, Tariq Khdeir, by Israeli police (“Where It’s ‘Trayvon Martin, En Masse’,” July 11). Valley News coverage on Israel and Palestine has long been superior to that of most U.S. papers, large and small. With the op-ed on Tariq, including his picture after the beating, you put yourself in the top rank. The brutal beating of Tariq happened to be caught on video, but such activities are hourly occurrences in the occupied territories.

Tariq happened to be a visiting American; Palestinian children suffer the same treatment without recourse or a chance of rescue. Palestinian adults suffer far worse. Israel’s occupation of Palestine, now 47 years old, is illegal under international law. The Jewish-only settlements built in Palestinian territory are also illegal. Israeli control of the West Bank and its embargo on Gaza are maintained by a deliberate plan of violent intimidation and land theft. The international public is becoming aware of these atrocities, through the testimony of former Israeli soldiers, the efforts of activists in Israel and throughout the world, and from honest journalists both in Israel and abroad, and in both print and electronic media. Those who want to know the truth can find it.

Israel tries to excuse its abuse of the conquered population as “self-defense” against attack. The attacks it suffers are the inevitable reaction of an abused people who refuse to cease their resistance to abuse. Israel responds with even greater violence. As I write, the number of Gazan dead in this week’s bombing is over 200. The majority of the Palestinian dead are civilians. About half are women and children. One Israeli has died. With such a disparity in power, this is not war. It is slaughter. Our tax dollars finance it; our arms carry it out; our national policy protects it at the U.N. America bears responsibility. I urge all Americans to tell their representatives in Congress that they support penalties on Israel until Palestinians enjoy full human and civil rights.

Mary J. Wilson


The Plight of the Children

To the Editor:

When I saw the first article and picture of the Honduran children huddled together in a cage-like structure in Texas, my reaction was that of total disbelief, revulsion and extreme sadness. To learn that more than 50,000 children had walked from their Central American countries without their parents all the way north was mind boggling. I wonder how many children did not make it, and why did this happen?

Not long ago, I was sorting out my summer clothing to see what needed to be replaced. I had a blouse made in Honduras, one made in Guatemala and one made in the Dominican Republic. These did not need to be replaced. Now our clothing comes from Asia. The jobs no longer exist in Central America. In fact, just about everything we buy comes from Asia. Why did our American corporations decide to do this? Who knows? We can only speculate.

One thing we do know is that the ramifications have been extreme. We have unemployment in our own country as well as in Central America, and also drug trafficking northward causing addiction, robberies, home invasions and murders on our city streets. The list can go on.

If you believe these statements to have merit, please write to our members of Congress. Better still, write to our various corporate headquarters and ask them to be more responsible. Asking them to share in the $3.7 billion expense to get the children back to their Central American homes would probably be too much, however.

Pearl LaValley


Thanks for the Blossoms

To the Editor:

Thank you to the Hartford Garden Friends.

It makes our “comings and goings” much happier.

Linda Milman


Flower Power in Hartford

To the Editor:

To those who travel in Hartford;

Are you loving the flowers around Hartford? They are so perky and colorful. Some days it feels like they are nodding hello as I go past them.

You too can have a part in the flowers. Now that all the gardens are planted and established, if you adopt one, you may get the credit for the beauty. They do need weeding and, maybe sometime this year, watering.

Join Hartford Garden Friends and accept a garden to work in. Call or email Lynn Bohi, 295-5596 or, Clare Forseth, 295-6390 or, or stop by a garden when you see us working. It’s weeds we don’t like. People are welcome.

Lynn Bohi

President, Hartford Garden Friends

White River Junction

Would More Police Help?

To the Editor:

In response to your article July 10 about police possibly being spread too thin: The world of police work is, to me, shrouded in mystery. I have never quite understood all that they do, nor when they choose to do it.

Take, for example, the July 4th weekend. On Friday (the 4th) I drove from the Upper Valley to Concord, Manchester and back. On Saturday, I drove all around the Upper Valley (as far as Quechee). Both these trips started in the early morning. I couldn’t help but notice an extremely heavy police presence — in every town, and on virtually every road that I took. Just about all of them were well hidden: waiting at the bottom of a hill; camouflaged by tall grass; “deep” undercover in a ditch, peeking out from behind rocky outcroppings; or lurking in the shadows of overhanging tree branches. In other words, speed traps (with the emphasis on “trap”). None were on flat areas, and few were involved in actual patrols. I guess we each celebrate freedom in our own way.

Running contrary to this was Route 4 and I-89. I can count on one hand the number of police cruisers I have ever seen on either road in the past decade. This is especially true of Vermont’s Route 4 between White River Junction and Woodstock, probably the most dangerous route in the area. I have had some pretty close calls on that road, the last of which was when a semi, for no apparent reason, swerved toward me while I was stopped for a left turn into the Quechee tourist “bazaar.”

I wish to suggest that the accident referred to in that article could not have been prevented by more police. A lower speed limit, however, would work miracles on I-89. That is definitely not a 65 m.p.h. road.

Ralph Epifanio


Don’t Miss This Musical

To the Editor:

I am writing to encourage Upper Valley patrons of the arts to purchase tickets and go see NCCT’s 42nd summer musical: Carousel. Rogers and Hammerstein wrote many great Broadway musicals, and this show has often been ranked as one of their best. They are also known for storylines that provoke introspection and shine a light on topics that weren’t often discussed.

Previous letters regarding this show have mentioned the aspects of domestic violence as the show’s subject matter. While there is a subtle undercurrent of such, as part of the main character’s development, I do not feel that this is the focal point of Carousel. Rather, I feel it is about relationships of all kinds, and the emotional journey that the actors take will wrench at your heart. The actors, musicians and dancers in this production have poured their heart and soul into this show, and in my opinion, it is some of the best work NCCT has performed. The orchestra was in fine form (and sound), which complemented the beautiful voices on stage, and all of the leads were outstanding. Add in some solid acting chops, and beautiful choreography and dancing, and I would rank this NCCT production in my personal top five.

Please don’t be the person in the room who can’t comment on this wonderful show because you didn’t go. There are two more performances, tonight and Saturday. Let’s fill the Lebanon Opera House with an appreciative audience for these final performances. I know I am going to enjoy it for a second time on closing night.

Lucy Gibson


Little Library Comes to Hanover

To the Editor:

I was pleased to see your article about Little Free Libraries in the Valley News (“Little Free Libraries Attract Neighborhood Readers Worldwide,” July 15). Your timing couldn’t have been better because Howe Library will soon be installing two Little Free Libraries in downtown Hanover.

The first, located outside Town Hall, will be unveiled in August. The second, appearing in the fall, will be installed near the Hopkins Center transportation hub. As your article stated, there are more than 15,000 of these delightful constructions worldwide, but these are the first in the Upper Valley. Take a book. Leave a book. Help us to promote literacy and the love of reading.

Mary H. White

Director, Howe Library