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We all fall down

As I read Jack Lessenberry's column "Things fall apart" (Metro Times, March 8), I could not help but think that Michigan's near-cataclysmic economic decline is but the harbinger of a general collapse of the republic. I did not gloat 15 years ago when the Soviet Union disintegrated: I only wondered how quickly our own dissolution would commence. We are seeing the answer to that question in the daily headlines! I am feeling a great affinity now with the concerns that Augustine of Hippo, the fifth century Christian leader, addressed at the beginning of his greatest work, Concerning the City of God, written in response to the sacking of Rome by Visigoth forces. We defend our country with money, not lent to it by its citizens, but gathered from foreign creditors who can call in the loans at any time they choose. We defend ourselves with the falsehood and cruelty that we deplore in others. And we mock the very name of Liberty in order to give an appearance of vigilance and safety. Things are falling apart! —Daniel Duane Spyker, Detroit

 

Living in the past

Thank you for the article regarding the state of our beloved Detroit Zoo ("Living in the zoo," Metro Times, March 1). I was just speaking with my father, who happens to live within walking distance of the Detroit Zoo. He's white and he expressed how he's been going to the zoo since he was a young boy. He's now 70 years old.

Me, on the other hand, I'm more than one race and I was raised on the east side of Detroit until about the age of 11, went to the burbs after that.

It really kills me inside to see my hometowns (both city and suburban) continually bite at each other with this race thing. It is so played-out and I am so sick of City Council pulling the race card whenever it's convenient for them.

The Detroit Zoological Society is made up of people who have the resources to save the zoo for Detroit and the suburbs. City Council again does not want to lose control. It's all about status, money and the power for them. They are attention seekers, and seeking the wrong kind of attention. It embarrasses all of the taxpayers in the metropolitan area.

When will the voters of Detroit stop electing councilmembers that continue to live in decades past? It's 2006! Some of us are not just white or black, we are both, and we are sick to our stomachs seeing both races acting as if we were living in the '50s and '60s. —Matilda Erkkila, Harrison Township

 

Hard times

Mr. Lessenberry: You are right about the true "color" issue about the zoo, not enough "green" to go around for cultural niceties — let alone hospitals, schools, police and fire. As much as I would be sad, maybe it is time to close the niceties — if for nothing else to give the "colors" of tri-county area a shock. If it has been said that adversity brings unity — if so, then bring on the pain. Who knows, maybe Belle Isle will be up for sale soon. —Matt Sawtell, Sterling Heights

 

Legal language

Jack, regarding your comments on the bill to make English Michigan's official language ("How do we save our economy?" Metro Times, Feb. 15), you wrote, "The question is how to preserve minority language and cultural rights within the context of the greater society." You might want to take a look at how things are handled in Toronto. My understanding of how they solved the problem in a city that has a very high rate of non-English speakers was to teach these kids English so that they could speak in class, but at the same time the city hired a large number of teachers who spoke these different languages so that the kids could continue to learn the language that is spoken at home. These kids are truly bilingual and from what I've heard, it is working out very well. —Jeff Rosen, Ann Arbor

 

Troubled by Till

Re: Your film review of the documentary film "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till" ("A lynching unpunished," Metro Times, Feb. 8), I am deeply appalled by the story of a 14-year-old black boy who is kidnapped and murdered in the middle of the night. This was a horrible story of prejudice against the black race, and it makes my heart drop to my feet due to Emmett being so young and the manner in which they killed him. It's not enough that they kidnapped Emmett; they also tortured and killed him for whistling at a white woman. I don't understand how people can do such things and live with themselves after the fact.

I am happy this documentary is out so that the hateful people in this world can see what prejudice has led to in the past.

I can only hope now that the federal government has reopened the case, this lynching won't go unpunished. —Manny DeFazio, Trenton

 

Nativist screed

I continue to be amazed that Metro Times consistently and apparently deliberately omits any mention of the Natives of the New Dawn in its recap of the 2006 Blowout ("Blowout roundup '06," Metro Times, March 8). The Natives performed Friday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall. I hear that many from the Metro Times' staff were in attendance and that the Natives put on quite a show. There is plenty of room in the Detroit music scene for crowd-pleasing bands like the Natives. Maybe they don't fit into the head-banging rock that Metro Times seems to prefer, but you lose journalistic and critical credibility when you consistently fail to recognize or mention this band. No hard feelings — just a bad vibe. —Leo Nouhan, Grosse Pointe Park

 

Errata: Last week's music review section (Spun, Metro Times, March 8) gave an incorrect name for the album by Tres Chicas. The album title should have been given as Bloom, Red & the Ordinary Girl. Also, in "Blowout roundup '06" (Metro Times, March 8), we misidentified the lead guitar player of Hellen. The lead guitarist is named Becca.

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