Letters to the Editor

Readers take issue with Israeli column

To the Editors:

Mike Dolan’s articles are frequently contradictory in nature, but the last article was not only contradictory, but just plain ridiculous.  You made a great comment — to end the injustice of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict by giving the Palestinians their land back to give them hope. So great, in fact, I think we should play the game by those rules here in the States. Rent a U-Haul, Mike, and pack up shop from wherever you live because the Iroquois and Mohawks are moving back.

Unless you’re willing to move off of the Native Americans’ land that you are “unjustly” living on, then don’t recommend others, i.e., the Israelis, to do the same. But then again, individuals such as you who take this stance tend to believe double standards are acceptable in our society; personally, I don’t.

The plight of the Native Americans in our country is truly a travesty (I would define it as a silent cultural extinction) that goes unrecognized because their voice has simply been swept under the rugs of the reservations where they’ve been forced to live; reservations where the poverty levels, suicide rates and alcoholism are horrifically high. You say the Palestinians’ only hope is to lash out; the paralyzing parameters imposed by us on the Native Americans give them no hope at all. It’s a shame that your conscience was numb to even realizing a connection between the Native Americans in our country in comparison to your statements regarding the Palestinians.

Mike, lets be more careful in evaluating our recommendations through the use of introspection before we go bossing other countries around. Especially when the solution posed is a double standard.

Shaun M. RadeckiClass of 2004

To the Editors:

The tone used by Mike Dolan is not only inappropriate for the situation in Israel; it’s reprehensible. Maybe sarcasm is a coping device for people like him, making the reality faced by people in that part of the world easier to deal with. Israeli bombs do not displace most Palestinian residents of “camps,” as Mr. Dolan might have led you to believe. In fact, the residents of the “refugee camps” are actually second and third generation members of a valid protest to the displacement from the original settlement of Israel over 50 years ago.

Israel has ordered bombing during the current intifada against its people, but has done so responsibly. All available evidence says that Israel has used bombing to thwart the efforts of various terrorist groups. Yasser Arafat is not a member of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but is a terrorist by anyone’s definition. He has paid money for the lives of his fellow Palestinians in his efforts to frighten Israelis and destabilize Israel. He has supported the efforts of people who kill non-military civilians in his rhetoric. He has allowed people connected to terrorist campaigns to be released without any form of open trial. Yet Mr. Dolan will only go so far as to characterize this man as “an interesting character.” Mr. Dolan is right when he calls Arafat an integral component of peace. Saying that Arafat is innocent of the failed peace negotiations isn’t just wrong; it’s plainly uninformed. Arafat is to blame.

Mr. Dolan’s conclusion that landless people will lash out against oppressive military efforts is right. His defense of Arafat as a pitiful victim to Hamas and Islamic Jihad is wrong.

Christopher D. Alloway

To the Editors:

The most recent acts of terrorist violence against peaceful civilians in Kenya and Israel, like thousands of incidents before them, shatter Mike Dolan’s mistaken understanding of extremist Islam’s war against the Western world. Contrary to Mr. Dolan’s wishes, the Arab rejectionist nations have not “pledged to recognize Israel as a nation” if Israel would return to its indefensible 1967 borders.  Except for Egypt and Jordan, the 22 Muslim nations belonging to the Arab League have historically refused to accept any non-Muslim entity in the midst of an empire twice the size of the United States.

Yasser Arafat is not the benign character portrayed in the column.  He was, before bin Laden, the architect of global terrorism and terror skyjackings, beginning years before Israel was in control of the disputed territories.  Continuing his violent activities as head of the Palestinian Authority, he has spawned, co-opted and cooperated with a network of terrorist groups.

It is a myth that this is a war between Israeli tanks and stone-throwing children.  Israel is defending herself against militants armed with rockets, grenades, mortars and assault rifles.  These terrorists are well-armed and well-paid by their supporters. While Arab terrorists specifically target civilians to kill, Israel does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties.  Israeli military operations would be much more successful if they bombed terrorist enclaves, like the United States did in Afghanistan, but they do not do this because of the risk to innocents.  The terrorists surround themselves with civilians to use as shields, and that is the primary reason innocent Palestinians lose their lives. Finally, Israel is not interested in “conquering” land, as Mr. Dolan stated.  The Israeli people would like to live side by side peacefully with their Palestinian neighbors. Unfortunately, until there are Palestinians with the same wish, the conflict will continue.

Brent SchwartzClass of 1998

Woeful football attendance

To the Editors:

I can’t help but wonder why Villanova students can’t walk 300 yards to support our football team after I have driven about 300 miles (600 round trip) to a game.

Villanova football is some of the best football being played in the Northeast or, for that matter, in the country (witness all the players from the West Coast on this and previous teams). Villanova’s stadium should be filled (12,000 plus) for every home game. Why don’t we support our team like Delaware supports theirs?

Villanova had a player drafted into the NFL ranks last year before anybody from Pitt, Penn State or Temple (the three 1-A programs in the state). If Villanova had the scholarships of a 1-A program, the ‘Cats could play with any of the state’s 1-A programs — we have and have had a lot of quality players, just not enough. Witness the game we gave Pitt a few years ago!

The University of Montana (a 1-AA program) draws in the area of 30,000 for all their games (maybe there is nothing else to do in Missoula, but it is a nice town.) Penn State draws 90,000 to 110,000 for virtually every game. Villanova plays very good football in a very good 1-AA — you really owe it to college life to at least see a few games before you graduate, it will make your fall return so much more fun. Believe me, I graduated 44 years ago. Go ‘Cats!

Ken GergClass of 1958Emporium, Pa.

Villanova play draws parallels to today

To the Editors:

I was quite appalled after reading Elissa Vallano’s article on the Villanova Theater production of the Trojan Women. I attended the play last week, and had quite the opposite reaction. This play is powerful, universal and unites Euripides’ observances from ancient history to a reality that is quite prevalent in our society today.

The costumes and scenery were not anachronistic, but rather served as a unifying bond between the suffering of the past and the suffering in our world today. If anything the “anachronistic” items of the play only showed that these issues are communal and that not too much has changed over the course of thousands of years.

Furthermore, watching the women only showed that their experiences in Troy and the experiences of women in Kosovo and Afghanistan are frighteningly similar — but perhaps no one recognizes them today as Euripides recognized them when he wrote this play. Experiencing every woman’s story from Kosovo and Afghanistan brought all of these collective stories to present day and made them much more of a reality. I have seen many shows at the Villanova Theater and this was by far one of the most moving performances I have ever seen. I applaud the director, cast and crew on a fantastic performance and an incredible theatrical experience.

Claire DarmaninOffice of Admission