This poem is dedicated to Cindy Sheehan and all the mothers, American and Iraqi, who have lost children in this immoral war.

Life and death

Words mediate between
these truths
and state-induced inertia
to ask the imponderable
What noble cause can justify
that irrevocable sacrifice of life?
What heroic and transcendental reason
can justify this woman’s pain
of burying her “sweet and first-born son”?
What greed-crazed lies will attempt
to alleviate her pain
and the pain of all the mothers
multiplied hundreds — no,
thousands of times
both here and in Iraq?
Of lives bright
and shining
promises of love
and joys and sorrows
and innumerable moments
of happiness
that is a life?
Why did they die?
Flesh of our flesh
and blood of our blood
Traumatically separated
from our wombs at birth.
Words can only mediate
between these truths
of life and death.
Because we cannot accept
the senseless,
wasteful cruelty
of this and all those other deaths
we seek to mediate with words.
Who has conferred
upon another human being
this power?
Or has he usurped illegally
this right?
The wrath of all the childless mothers
shall follow him like crows
to peck his eyes
and ears and nose,
and gnaw upon his head and mouth
until he feels the irrevocable
truth of Death.

Martha Pedroza
Chicago IL

Name correction

Thanks for writing an article on our conference, “Immigrant Workers in Peril: Finding Solutions to the Health and Safety Crisis” (PWW 5/5-11). I just wanted to call to your attention some inaccuracies.

The conference was held at the Murphy Institute for Labor, Community, and Policy Studies, City University of New York, not “Queens College Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies” as indicated. We made a move recently and you may not be aware of it, but we are now offering labor education and worker education programs throughout the CUNY system. In addition, we have both a Worker Education Program and a Labor, Community and Policy Studies Program. Our conferences and the journal New Labor Forum come out of the Labor, Community and Policy Studies Program.

The event was co-sponsored by the Murphy Institute for Labor, Community and Policy Studies, CUNY, as well.

I look forward to your future articles on our events and hope that you will include our organizing role in the future. Thanks.

Jeannette Gabriel
New York NY
Jeannette Gabriel is coordinator of special projects at The Joseph S. Murphy Center for Labor, Community and Policy Studies, CUNY.

Editor’s note: We regret the error which was introduced by our Chicago editorial office. We used old information from the web site and dropped the former CUNY chancellor’s name, Joseph S. Murphy. We’ll make the correction in our online edition.

Just say ‘no’ to monarchy

I can’t wait till “the Queen” returns to her kingdom. It really bothers me that some Americans want to honor, and almost worship, her. She considers us commoners and her inferiors. Over the years her family has supported imperialism, colonialism, racism, incest, slavery and the genocidal treatment of American Indians. She is against democracy and equality. This woman does not deserve honor from the American people.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro NC

Liked ‘China Study’ article

Many thanks to Rick Nagin for a wonderfully comprehensive and clearly-stated piece, “Forget the meat! Why an animal-based diet is hazardous to your health” (PWW 5/5-11). This was the essence of good journalism.

Paul Leuenberger
Via e-mail

Germany not quite tops

Sorry to have to add a negative to David Kennell’s article on global warming (PWW 3/31-4/6). His assessment regarding Germany as “one of the most progressive” ecologically because they are tops in their use of wind power, I have to answer with a photo from the Neues Deutschland newspaper showing three smoke-belching chimneys with the caption, “Hardly anyone uses brown coal as intensively as does Germany.” The subtitle of the article tells us, “Pollution rights for brown coal divide ministries.”

The article quotes Rainer Baake of the organization German Ecology Help: “Climate debate amounts to hot air bandying. … One-fourth of our electricity comes from brown coal.” The last sentence lets us know that not until after Easter could we expect an agreement to be reached between the Department of Ecological Environment and the Department of Trade and Commerce.

It remains to be seen how much democracy and freedom these departments and we the people have allowed against two of the biggest capitalist enterprises of brown coal power plants in Germany, Vattenfall and RWE.

Miriam Pandor
Berlin, Germany

From one gun owner to another

Having owned guns and been an active hunter for over 60 years, I feel qualified to speak on the subject of guns.

Why do I own a gun in the first place? I can think of only three possible reasons:
1. To go hunting.
2. To use for target practice.
3. For self defense.

I can’t think of any other reason — can you? That being the case, why do we gun owners need an assault weapon? Is it just for kicks?

Isn’t it time we stepped up and told NRA to take the lead in calling for a ban on the manufacture of all assault weapons?

During WWII, a manufacturer had to have a D.O. (Defense Order) to produce anything for use by the armed forces. If we reissued such a requirement we could put an end to the manufacture or importation of these “toys” and put an end to multiple slayings like Virginia Tech and Columbine. NRA could expand its membership and win over many anti-gun folks by taking this lethal bull by the horns. NRA needs to hear it from us gun owners.

John Hansel
Walpole NH