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Bet not
Thanks so much for again warning us on the evils of the lottery ("Upfront," Jan. 12). If it ever comes to fruition, I know the great unwashed will be lured away from spending their meager incomes on food, clothing and tickets to the opera, so they can blow it on gambling--not to mention tobacco and alcohol. The wretched masses must be protected by us, their intellectual and moral betters.
Charles Kidder
Cary

Polemics not criticism
Ooops, y'all did it again--first Godfrey Cheshire inserted his one-sided explanation of the current intifada into a film review ("Present Ten(se)," June 18, 2003), and now David Fellerath has treated readers to the same thing ("The Mop of the World," Jan.19). I wonder if Fellerath cares, or even knows, that Israeli policies regarding Palestinians are a matter of intense soul-searching and debate both in Israel and among Jews worldwide. It seems not, as his sweeping indictment of Israel is based largely on his belief that if Israelis had any doubts at all about these matters, they'd be exploring them in film.

It also seems as if his equation of Zionism with racism--expressed in phrases that could have been lifted straight from a Hamas handbook--prevent him from understanding that after several thousand years of exile, economic exploitation, disenfranchisement, displacement, forced conversion and murder, a geographic, political and spiritual homeland for Jews is just as necessary as a secure homeland is to Palestinians.

Fellerath is entitled to his opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no matter how lopsided they are. What I question is why the Independent, the Triangle's self-proclaimed champion of progressive politics, continues to provide a forum for such polemics under the thin veil of art criticism. If the editor and publisher wish to print thoughtful, balanced explorations of these very complex issues, they would be performing a valuable service to this community. As things are, to allow this type of oversimplified rant is neither responsible old-fashioned journalism nor edgy New Journalism: It's a passive promotion of bigotry.
Kay Robin Alexander
Durham

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