Letters to the Editor

05/09 What You’re Saying: Joe Moran, Tinalla Perry, Judith Ferster, Ben Cooper, and Mia Shang

What flags mean

The flap over the recent raising of the giant Confederate battle flag in Orange County is an occasion for us to reflect more deeply on the meaning of flags in general.

On a positive note, flags are symbols of identity and serve as rallying point for a group of people around a common cause. People want to “belong,” and flags can denote a common good for which those banners stand. The Olympic Flag, for example, symbolizes the unity which the world can achieve around a common goal.

National flags appear for the first time with the rise of nationalist sentiment at the end of the 18th century, according to Wikipedia. Before that they were relegated to military or naval uses. Given their origin, then, flags often symbolize a call to battle – even if that is a just a football game between UNC and Duke.

But there is a seamy side to flags as well, and it is when flags symbolize an idea, or an ideology, or a movement that is harmful. So it is that the Nazi swastika is abhorrent because of the manifold evils and atrocities that were wrought under its banner. That flag no longer flies anywhere with any respectability.

If there were a Southern flag that emphasized all the good that the South stands for, instead of the harmful legacy of slavery, the barbarity of post Civil War Klu-Klux-Klanism, lynching, Jim Crow-ism and anti-Washington sentiment, then that would be a flag worthy to be unfurled, one that would foster common good will, and one of which we could all be rightly proud.

The Confederate Battle Flag, despite protestations and “heritage” arguments to the contrary, is not that flag.

Joe Moran


More nonprofits, please

I would love to see The Herald-Sun do a few pieces on nonprofits, whether local or national.

Sometimes we get consumed with our everyday lives and forget about other people. Most nonprofits usually address the concerns for the voiceless. I, for one, am always looking for new causes to contribute to and I’m sure many others are. Recently, I came across The Brogen Project and never knew they existed. It would be nice to see some special-interest pieces sometimes.

I no longer watch the news on TV, due to it being so depressing. But I still buy The Herald-Sun daily!

Tinalla Perry


A wise decision

According to Kent Fletcher (“Israel and ICE,” April 20), the Durham City Council’s pledge to refrain from sending police to train with Israeli Defense Forces is “shadow boxing with a nonexistent problem,” and according to Gabriel Liberty (“A false narrative,” April 20), the council has sold out to groups who want “nothing more than to see the Jewish state disappear.” I deny both of those statements.

Former Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez spent a week in Israel (for anti-terrorism, he said, not militarization), but in fact such training that trains U.S. police department in “crowd control” methods used by the Israeli army has happened all over the United States, including New York City, Washington D.C., Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Chicago. So to decide in an official way that Durham will no longer send law enforcement officials to Israel is not “shadow boxing with a nonexistent problem.” It is a wise decision, a deliberate setting of an intention.

Was it prompted by groups who want to destroy Israel? No. The coalition of groups that supported the petition to the Durham City Council, including Jewish Voice for Peace, Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Black Youth Project 100, Inside Outside Alliance, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, Muslims for Social Justice, SpiritHouse, Students for Justice in Palestine at Duke University and Students for Justice in Palestine at UNC Chapel Hill, were all driven by knowledge of the violence and injustice of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza, as documented by international and Israeli human rights organizations.

The Israeli government is doing more to threaten the existence of Israel than the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and doing it with American tax dollars. As a Jew, I say friends don’t let friends drive occupations.

Judith Ferster

Chapel Hill

Telling lies

Young George, our first president, busted,with ax in hand and tree on the ground, was asked did he cut the tree down. Young George said I cannot tell a lie, I did it. This story was told to America’s youth, I assume to teach kids not to lie. Times have changed. Now a president can, and does, lie.

Donald Trump is a liar, and not a good one. He tells cheap lies. Lies that are not necessary. A good liar always remembers the lie he told. Donald is not that smart. He will tell a lie, and days later tell another lie to nullify his previous lie.

I believe Donald had surrounded himself with stupid people that believed his lies, and still today stupid people believe his lies

Ben Cooper


Don’t listen to ‘Dr. Evil’

For years now, Rick Berman, director of the ironically named Center for Union Facts, has proudly served as the restaurant industry’s attack dog. His job has been to take extreme positions in the public fight against legitimate consumer organizations seeking necessary reforms. His alacrity with an over-the-top smear has earned him the nickname “Dr. Evil” from CBS’ “60 Minutes,” as well as an excellent living.

Now, as evidenced by his absurd letter to the editor, Berman has turned his attention to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and its award-winning Fair Food Program, the only social responsibility program proven to stop sexual assault and human trafficking in the country’s agricultural industry. His patron in this case appears to be Wendy’s, the only major fast-food company not to join the Fair Food Program and the current focus of the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food. Instead of following the lead of its competitors McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, and Chipotle and partnering with the CIW, Wendy’s has shifted its tomato purchases away from Florida, where the Fair Food Program was born, to Mexico, where human rights violations are rampant.

His attempt to argue Wendy’s case here sets a new low, even for him. Of course, as is his custom, he reaches first for his most trusted weapon to imply that the CIW is a corrupt labor organization (this despite the CIW having received a Presidential Medal, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, and the MacArthur “Genius” Grant for the unique success of the Fair Food Program). But then he really overreaches, attempting to exploit the very fact that farmworker women in Mexico are not free to speak up and defend themselves to support his contention that the CIW has no “proof” that “workers who pick produce for Wendy’s are vulnerable to sexual assault.”

Farmworker women deserve more than Berman’s twisted disdain for the truth. And Wendy’s consumers deserve more than the company’s obvious disdain for their intelligence. Sometimes – as was the case in the Civil Rights movement or the fight against Apartheid – “having a spine” in defending the status quo is not a good thing. And every time Rick Berman is your public defender, it is decidedly a bad thing.

Mia Shang

Chapel Hill

Standing for kids

Regarding the news story “Durham school board votes to cancel classes May 16”

The legislature can play the role of the hero here. They can be proactive and do something to meet the demands of the teachers. It will save hundreds of people a lot of time, money and headache, as well as being proactive for kids. These movements are becoming all to common and should never happen. Kids are the future and should be treated as such.

Either way, teachers, if you walk out, know that you will have support from across the country! Ignore the haters; they know not what you’re standing for!

Jeana Tener Caywood

via www.heraldsun.com

Speak up

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