Reviewer in wrong occupation
Would you let your food critics review the Blues Festival just because it is put on by the Food Bank? So why do you let a film critic review a political documentary, simply because it is on film? Al Hoff's cursory review of Occupation 101 [July 4] was something to be expected of the mainstream press, but sadly, not of City Paper.
The history of a century of wrongful events setting off the Palestinian diaspora is explained in this documentary by a litany of voices, most of them progressive American Jews or thoughtful Israeli Jews. Included are a couple representatives of American Christian groups and at most two adult Palestinians whose religious backgrounds are not discussed: a woman who saved her sleeping son when the Israeli military demolished her home, and an elderly man whose family farm had been largely confiscated by the Israeli government for its settlers to occupy in violation of international law. How many more voices could the filmmakers have used to make the point that Americans have overlooked, condoned and (most especially) financially supported the oppression of the Palestinians since the British first meddled in the sovereign nation of Palestine a century ago?
Ms. Hoff ignores all the accurate information presented by the filmmakers in her rush to exclaim "bias." Do we really need yet another "analysis of America's longstanding allegiance with Israel" that the American media have already given us for 60 years? Why does she not accuse our government of bias when they fail to reveal such information and continue to make these unjust decisions for us?
In fact, the documentary explicitly refers to lies "of omission" by the American press, which Hoff cannot see as the underlying problem. How else can we explain that most Americans who consume mainstream "news" are aware of the recent situation in Darfur, and yet still ignorant of the four-generation-long encampment of 4.5 million Palestinians in a state of perpetual violence, degradation and illegality? Americans might feel differently if they knew what has really been going on. Rachel Corrie died trying to see it for herself. Ms. Hoff does not want us to see it even on film
I would urge your readers to see this film. And I would urge you to let a member of your alternative-journalism core to screen political documentaries in the future.
-- Melanie Pallone, Oakmont
Misreading the signs
It pains me to have read John McIntire's opinion regarding the UPMC sign ["Signed, Sealed, Delivered," July 4]. McIntire lacks an understanding of the approval process for signage and zoning ordinances. He openly quotes, and does not debunk, the fact that the signs meets the standards of the ordinance, but nonetheless suggests that the City Planning Commission interpret the ordinances at their whim based on popular discontent. That would follow the dangerous precedent set out by the Bush administration -- selectively obeying laws that were meaningfully crafted by other parts of government.
In more local terms, McIntire's proposed action is, in fact, illegal under the state Municipalities Planning Code. If McIntire would like to see the rules changed regarding signage size and location, he should direct his sarcasm towards City Council, who can actually effect change on this issue.
I am fully opposed to the size, location and quantity of the signs proposed for the USX Tower, and regret that action was not taken sooner to head off this fiasco. However, I certainly don't recall a flap of this scale when Mellon or Highmark wanted their names emblazoned on the Downtown skyline. Perhaps those companies were not quite as nefarious as UPMC. While UPMC is an easy target for the propaganda contained within the article, we need to play by our own rules and let the signs go up as they are allowed. This story demonstrated a poor understanding of the issue and reflected badly on the CP and its normally insightful opinions.
-- Andrew Ellsworth, Friendship
"Opie" season on Ravenstahl
I hope Dan Warner's letter ripping John McIntire's Mayor Opie coverage ["McIntire De-bunked," July 4] was being sarcastic, but alas I feel he was serious. John should continue attacking Opie every day. This moron is dangerous for all of Western PA. While neither I nor Mr. Warner can vote for Opie, he does represent our area and that is frightening.
Opie is nothing but our version of the idiot in the White House. Both act like stupid frat boys that have no clue what is going on until someone tells them what they should do. I don't expect the people of Pittsburgh to elect Mark DeSantis, as they should (and this coming from a reluctantly registered Democrat), because Pittsburghers are lazy idiots who just want to give the kid a chance. Go ahead, elect the frat boy; just keep in mind the last seven years at the White House.
-- Adam K. Smith, Oakdale