Remember the Butterflies

I just got through reading “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez. It’s an incredibly moving account of the courageous Mirabel sisters of the Dominican Republic, who were jailed, tortured and eventually murdered for their political activism against the dictator Rafael Trujillo. The United Nations declared Nov. 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, commemorating the Mirabels, known as the Unforgettable Butterflies, who came to symbolize the crisis of violence against women.

Your readers should know about Nov. 25 and the Mirabel sisters and read Alvarez’s stirring book.

Melissa LodiChicago IL


Was the 2004 election stolen?

Do people agree with the assessment by writer Greg Palast, which was published in Common Dreams and Zmag that Kerry in fact won the vote, especially in Ohio? However, due to “dirty tricks” and the many uncounted ballots, his vote total, as recorded, in the key states of Ohio and New Mexico was not enough to give him the electoral votes. According to Palast, exit polling indicated he should have had. When I read the Palast theory that the election was stolen, my faith in the basic sound sense of the American people was restored. We (I am a U.S. citizen resident in Canada) were not bamboozled by Bush; we were robbed by Bush and his Republican vote stealers. Comments, please.

Michael P. NevinToronto, Canada

Embargo, not blockade

The article “UN condemns blockade of Cuba” (PWW 11/12-19) bothered me because of personal experience that I won’t bore you with. The U.S. action against Cuba, in my view, is an “embargo” and not a “blockade.” A blockade is isolation by troops or ships, whereas an embargo is prohibition on commerce. Many people use the words as you did and extended definitions tend to make these words interchangeable; however, it just seems to me as though there is a difference between a blockade and an embargo.

Shel PlotkinVia e-mail

Vilification of Iran

With elections behind us now, the vilification of Iran has begun again in earnest, a scare campaign that even Colin Powell supports. It seems we’re all supposed to be tied in knots over the possibility of an Iranian nuclear bomb program. Well, excuse me if my knees aren’t shaking.

As one ponders the lengthening list of nuclear-armed nations, the hoopla surrounding the unproven charges against Iran seems quaint. It’s unclear why we should be so unusually concerned about yet one more nuclear power, when life goes on with nine already in that category. Living with these weapons has become second nature for the American people. As the only nation to have ever used them, after all, we’re none too repentant at that.

The Congress just defunded a pet Bush project to develop a new generation of U.S. nuclear weaponry. For strictly fiscal reasons, it was decided to presently get along without these bombs. However, the intent to develop them remains and the whole world knows it.

It should be obvious that so long as the U.S. refuses to renounce the first-use of these terrible weapons, other nations will inevitably continue to seek their own deterrent forces. It’s quietly acknowledged that Iran would not be violating any international law should it choose to go atomic. Interestingly, though, the oft-cited Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does ban all signatories, including the U.S., from developing new generations of nuclear weapons, though the Congress never mentioned that when they killed the Bush WMD plan.

Cord MacGuire Boulder CO