Volume 96, Issue 15
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

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Let us speak honestly about brutality

Re: "Academics comments naive,"
Sept. 19

To the Editor:

I was heartened and certainly not surprised by David Kates's comments regarding my column in the Sept. 11 edition of The Gazette. Heartened, because his response indicated my comments had struck a chord. Not surprised by his dismissing my comments as naive and inflammatory. I chose to point out that since Sept. 11, the government of Israel has stepped up the brutality of its occupation of territories it seized, in direct violation of international law, and continues to hold in violation of multiple international resolutions, as a racist colonial oppressor.

Mr. Kates's comments are the standard rhetorical tactic deployed most often to obscure and disguise the real historical roots of the Palestinian "problem." As my comments made clear, I was and am troubled by the escalation of brutality that we have seen throughout the world since Sept. 11, and want in particular to be honest in how I speak about that brutality, wherever it occurs.

My comments on Sept. 11 were inspired in part by a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, in which he writes:

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and my pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open,
the door of compassion.

If calling things by their true names is naive and inflammatory, I will wear those judgements proudly.
if it is also the necessary first step to true compassion, and, perhaps, peace,
then naive and inflammatory I will most certainly remain.

In peace,
Douglass Drozdow-St.Christian
Anthropology Professor

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2002 THE GAZETTE