(July 18, 2011)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
Soul to be explored: Jana Hill's The House That Man Built
To the Editor:
Jana Hill feels Miami has no soul. The eyes of its zombie population only reflect money and death. That's intriguing and finally gives me a good reason to make a visit. Beach life couldn't draw me. South-of-the-border cuisine is tempting, but there's good food most places if you look hard. Art deco buildings are fine but not worth much of a detour, even Belgium has them. The same for Miami's rich ethnic mix. Pure-blooded natives all around me complain of this universal condition, for them a plague. Ms. Hill sees some sort of deeper truth beneath spectacular pollution, hellish traffic, and left-handed paint jobs. Is it because the locals step around the garbage and out of their vacancy wish her good day? There's more to be said, I'm sure, and just as beautifully, about why Miami holds her. I hope she's going to tell us.
Lecce, Italy - July 6, 2011
Despaired by Those who are Destroying the Planet: Gilles d'Aymery's Calling it Straight, With Regrets (October 1998)
To the Editor:
I just wanted to express my gratitude to you for Swans Commentary. I have read some articles on various occasions, but I just came across your note of despair in 1998, I think, explaining why you had not written for four months -- owing to the state of the USA.
I have been reading other entries, all very interesting, and would like to make the following comment. Your observations on the U.S. in that note would apply exponentially today -- both to the U.S. and certainly to the other places they have bombed, destroyed, poisoned with DU, sanctioned, etc.
In a book by Annemarie Schimmel, the expert on Islam, called The Mystical Elements in Islam, one sees that there is a profound resemblance in Islam to the Buddhist understanding of Dependent Origination and the interrelationship of all of life and the planet. Be that as it may, what struck me is that people such as you, myself, many of your writers, and others no longer inhabit the Judeo-Christian world as it operates in the West, which includes Israel. I live in Haifa and am a dissident, radical ex-Jew (what does that mean, but you get the point?). We do not share one iota of the reasoning, justification, logic, and behavior of those people who are destroying the planet. The thrust of Sufism is the Oneness of life -- as with Buddhism. This means that in reality we are not separate beings or individuals, but joined in one body. That is the meaning of the Creation story in the Bible, I believe. This is not a notion, but a reality to be experienced. The West's monotheism has become more dualistic and separatist, and therefore by definition, destructive of life than any apartheid regime could have invented -- I come from South Africa.
Living straddled across a clear line dividing Jew and Arab, I hear the Zionist Jewish position and consider it utter drivel, self-righteous, and possibly insane because of the total lack of correspondence of its notions/ideas/interpretations with reality. I don't have to hear an Arab say anything, and yet I find myself thinking in exactly the same way, and have precisely the same reaction to events. For me, and I am sure for them as well, our understanding is based on the "old-fashioned" thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, thou shalt not pray to idols, thou shalt not blaspheme. Yet, all of these actions are committed on a daily basis by the Zionist and Western powers. The Arabs look on with horror, and I do too.
You got out of your despair -- I feel as if I am falling into mine.
Thank you for having kept going.
Lynda Burstein Brayer
Haifa, Palestine/Israel - July 9, 2011
lyndabrayer AT yahoo.com
Lynda Burstein Brayer is a lawyer who represented Palestinians in the Israeli courts where she learnt much of the reality as opposed to the propaganda of Zionism.
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