An Irishman Steps Forward to Defend the Mexican

Dear Gabacha-Italiana DeNiro:

Being prideful is what healthy immigrants do when confronted with racism ("The Mexican Needs to Focus More on ... Other People?" Mailbag, Sept. 20). Every immigrant population is seen as arrogant when they take pride in themselves and don't fit in the way others want them to. Just look at the way us "Americans" respond to the "cold" Asians.

As for the way El Mexicano speaks and writes, it's called humor. If DeNiro wants other cultures represented, why doesn't she write "Ask an Italian"? Then I can ask her if all Italians are gangsters like they are in the movies (The Godfather) and on TV (The Sopranos).

Viva Irlanda!

Joe Callahan

Anti-War Protesters Deserve Thanks From All of Us

I'm a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Europe during the war. I'm also an opponent of Bush's war in Iraq, which violates international law, has led to the loss of countless lives, has decimated a country and is sapping the strength of our nation. The world is spending $1 trillion a year on armaments; our country accounts for almost half of that--in other words, almost as much as all of the other nations in the world combined. Meanwhile, our infrastructure (e.g., bridges) is dangerously going to rust; our schools are underfunded; New Orleans remains unrebuilt; and 47 million people lack health insurance.

Gretchen Nielsen and her colleagues, peaceful protesters against the war, deserve our thanks for calling attention to the need for an end to this travesty (Guest Commentary, Sept. 13). What a pity that they are being abused by people whose behavior mirrors the violent and aggressive policy of our government. What a pity, too, that the police disappear when they are most needed, that is, when the bullies appear. Citizens of Tucson have a right to know why that is happening.

Those of us who believe in free speech and peaceful protest thank the Tucson Weekly for playing journalism's honorable role by bringing these facts to public attention.

Milton Schwebel

Peace Demonstrator: Police, the Media Have Dropped the Ball

Gretchen Nielsen exposes accurately the violent and ugly attacks made (first by recruiters in 2002-2003 and since then by supposed "patriots") against peace demonstrators in Tucson. If you were kicked and had your cell phone ripped out of your hand in front of cops who then refused to arrest the perpetrator, and instead asked, "What do you expect dressed like that?" (wearing a black hood and with a "No Torture" sign in hand)--and if you then got no justice from the ineffectual Citizen Police Advisory Review Board, the Tucson Police Department or your City Council representative--you, too, would feel afraid and know you were vulnerable to attack while expressing your free-speech rights on the streets of Tucson. These "patriotic" bullies act with impunity when backed by the cops and are often glorified by the press as suffering families of soldiers to whom we should all be grateful, regardless of how we feel about the war.

It is only lately that police have finally occasionally stepped in to warn screaming, flag-waving zealots not to push, shove or hit us during peace demonstrations. Still, we all know that it only takes the cops intentionally looking the other way--or journalists striving for a cheap emotional appeal by describing the ultimate sacrifice as though it justifies willful ignorance and acts of violence--to embolden an angry "patriot" to strike out and hurt somebody in the name of defending America and the dead children they sent to war.

Susan Thorpe

Everyone Should Be Able to Protest Without Fear

Every Wednesday morning on my way to work, I go by the protesters near the military recruitment office on Speedway Boulevard and Wilson Avenue. Some are protesting against the war in Iraq; others protest the first group. I am happy to see that the Tucson Weekly published Gretchen Nielsen's commentary, as it describes much of what I have personally witnessed many Wednesday mornings: aggressive, angry, animated and provocative behavior from some pro-war protesters. In the few minutes I need to make a couple of turns, as I wait in traffic in my car, it is easy to assess the dynamic: One group is silent and peaceful, while the other group erupts and bullies. You don't need to read the signs. If it were a movie, you could turn the sound off and just watch the flare-up movements.

Nielsen quotes the judge saying, "I can only rule on what happened at the time of your arrest on June 20, 2007." While this is correct, why can't the police enforce the laws strictly on what happens in the street? Why aren't the bullies also arrested?

The judge should not be making political statements. But we, as a society, can and should. We should all be expressing our opinions about such an important topic as the war in Iraq. But even more important than this endless war is the principle that everyone has a right to express an opinion--and express it without the threat of being pushed out into traffic. Why is it that so often, those who vehemently proclaim patriotism act against the principles on which this country was founded? When I see the enormous flags, I brace myself for the self-righteousness of the "patriotic": This is the land of the free, but don't you dare disagree with us.

Olga Yiparaki

Wanted: Less Manpower on War; More on Improving the World

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." I feel Gretchen Nielsen's comments echo that statement with her sign, "End the War--Bring Our Troops Home NOW!"

We must end this war! Bring the troops home alive (not in body bags). We must work with the United Nations and other international groups for solid diplomatic solutions, with the humility to admit we have at times made mistakes. (I don't see this administration ever admitting to a mistaken policy.)

We must shift our tax monies from endless war to peaceful endeavors; imagine Raytheon deciding to put its enormous wealth and brain power into helping build infrastructures in impoverished African nations or helping rebuild Katrina-decimated Southern states.

We must end the militarization of our society and end the idea of becoming a U.S. empire. Yes--dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Dalton F. McClelland

The Other 'Weekly' Food Reviewers Say to Ms. Wilson: Thpppppth!

Hooray! It was a pleasure to read James Reel's restaurant review ("Smooth as Pâté," Chow, Sept. 20). I have no idea if the review is accurate, but I don't really care, because reading the review was a joy in itself.

Not since Diza Sauers has the Weekly had such good writing in the food section. More! More!

Rachel Wilson

And We Now Conclude This Mailbag With a Bit of Poetry ... or Something

Regarding your article on the UA's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center ("Sweet Tomatoes," Sept. 6):

Giant fruits are what you make,
Tomatoes on the moon.
I hope their stems don't break,
Tomatoes on the moon.
We could eat forever,
Tomatoes on the moon.
We could eat togeaaather,
Tomatoes on
Tomatoes on the Moon.

Bob Martino

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