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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sara Paretsky's Heart-breaking Letter to her Grandmother

Paretsky, author of several P.I. novels, has an article in the latest issue of The Illinois Brief, a publication of the Illinois chapter of the ACLU (of which I am a proud member - only commies and America-haters don't belong to the ACLU.) She recalls the story of her grandmother who sailed past the Statue of Liberty as a child, fleeing Europe in 1911 from the threat of another pogrom. She recently finished a novel, Blacklist, that is set partially in the McCarthy Era, party "in the world of the Patriot Act." She receives all sorts of hate-mail still accuring her of support for terrorists.

In her short article she lists several incidents and comments from Europeans that make her reflect on freedom in the United States. I cite only a few. Read the article.

1. A man was arrested at St. Johns College in Santa Fe for making a negative comment about George Bush in a chat room. The staff of the college was placed under gag order preventing them from discussing the arrest.
2. A man in Germany remembers German support for the Nazis, a willingness to die for a cause that had plunged their nation into a ruinous war and destroyed its economy.
3. The US consul in Frankfurt Germany, site of a large US hospital, reported that from seventy-five to one hundred twenty casualties are flown in from Iraq every day, but the press is prohibited from filming wounded or coffins.
4. When George Bush spoke at Ohio State's commencement in 2002, protesters were threatened with expulsion (shades of LBJ and Vietnam.)
5. A library patron in Morristown, NJ was arrested for looking at foreign language pages on the web. He was held incommunicado for three days without being charged or allowed to call anyone.
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