Qana in the last days of July 2006
“All the frankincense grown in the land is brought to Cane (Qana), as to a warehouse….”
— Alexandrian merchant, 40-70 AD

In this city now of rubble
and bodies and bodies and bodies
of the burning dead,
In this city the mother of a prophet once begged
her son to turn water into wine.
Now water has turned into blood on
pebbled streets, once used by tourists.

This city where the ancients stored incense in
large palm baskets,
the dead are wrapped in blankets and carried way,
amid the screams of
pain and rage, and no incense can hide
the stench of death.

In this city of precious lavender
and sun-drenched olive trees,
lies a cemetery of marble crypts,
paying honor to those slain once before,
their photos open to the smoke-filled air,
and the same butchers, sending death from the sky,
offer condolences for this “necessary” maneuver.

On this cruel morning,
as the dawn rises on another day,
I mourn the slaughter of these children,
their parents and grandparents,
and all those beautiful southern women of Qana
who died before their time.

Luis L. Tijerina
Burlington VT

Lebanon invasion was pre-planned
I am writing to thank you for the wonderful article: “Stop the Bombing” (PWW July 22-28). There is nothing spontaneous about the Israeli attack on Lebanon, and this attack is not in response to low-level military activity on the border as the Bush administration and Israel would have us to believe. The San Francisco Chronicle printed an article headlined: “Israel set war plan more than a year ago. Strategy was put in motion as Hezbollah began gaining military strength in Lebanon.” It went on to report: “More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail.”
I think it is useful too to challenge the thinking that pigeonholes Hezbollah as a “terrorist” organization. Hezbollah, founded in 1985, is a political organization with a military wing, participating in the government in Lebanon. While not a Marxist or Communist party, it does advance the national aspirations of the Lebanese people despite the Bush administration’s attempts to tar it with the easy to use and hard to define term “terrorist.”

Eric Brooks
Indianapolis IN

The view from here
A few issues ago you printed a letter from a reader who complained that there was only “one view for all Puerto Ricans” (PWW 7/1-7).
In almost all publications in the U.S. Puerto Ricans do get one view, that Puerto Rico is best off being associated with (read “dominated by”) the U.S., either through the present colonial status or by annexation, making that nation a part of the U.S., which would be the apex of colonialism. The PWW strives to give them another view, the democratic, progressive viewpoint: self-determination and independence.
In Puerto Rico there are a number of dailies on the island that espouse the view of those that favor the destruction of the Puerto Rican nation — statehood — or the present colonial arrangement for Puerto Rico. They also push the agenda of Washington on the people of Puerto Rico (imposition of federal death penalty, Puerto Ricans fighting in wars that do not have anything to do with them, etc.)
On the other hand there is only one weekly that presents the independence alternative and practically nothing on TV and radio that presents an alternative voice to the people of Puerto Rico.

José A. Soler
North Dartmouth MA

Police torture
In Chicago, evidence has come to light of past incidents of police torture. Unfortunately prosecutors won’t do anything because too much time has gone by. There shouldn’t be a statute of limitations on police torture. We citizens need to put limits on police power, unless we want to live in a police state.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro NC

Torture victim speaks out
Re: Pepe Lozano’s “Chicago torture probe draws worldwide attention” (PWW 7/1-7). As a victim of the torture, I relive what happened to me each and every day. Many times, it is a passing thought. Then there are the times when even the therapy cannot ease the pain and suffering.
I have never had an avenue to deal with the clinical needs that would have helped me come to grips with the torture. For years, I had to withhold any thoughts about it. In short, the majority of the torture victims were helpful to Jon Burge. Nobody talked or got advice in dealing with their cases. Who would we talk to? Who would listen?
Today, only the mayor, City Council, corporate counsel, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine continue to ignore the crimes of Jon Burge and the other detectives. As lawsuits continue to mount, citizens can bet their life savings that the amount of money allocated to defend, settle and resolve the police torture and abuse cases have surmounted the spending on Soldier Field, Millennium Park and that great big bean in the sky all together!
My question is will the citizens of Chicago hold Daley and all accountable for their participation in the biggest scandal in Chicago’s history?

David Bates
Chicago IL
David Bates is active in the struggle for justice for torture victims.