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Texas Observer FEATURES THE NEW BACKLASH 6 Why Megan can’t protest: Corporations and public officials go after activists in the courtroom and in the statehouse. by Will Potter You DON’T HAVE TO PROVE A THING 10 How abstinent can you get? Taking to the airwaves with the “Zip It!” media campaign. by Michael Erard DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE EDITORIAL Death Row’s Youngest DATELINE TEXAS Curious Ecology at the Fort Worth Zoo by P.A. Humphrey DATELINE TEXAS Brownwood’s Pineapple Activist by David Greenfield 2 3 4 12 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 16 MOLLY IVINS 17 The Market is King? JIM HIGHTOWER 18 Telling Tall Tales About Star Wars BOOKS 8 THE CULTURE POETRY by Mike Koehler and Mark Nepo THE GREAT MAW OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jake Miller AESCHYLUS LIVES! by Tim Staley MORE THAN A TOUCH OF CLASS by James E. McWilliams THIS AMERICAN LIFE by Dick Reavis AFTERWORD West Texas Connections by Dave Oliphant Cover design by Julia Austin 19 20 22 24 27 30 DIALOGUE POETRY AND PALEST! N E I do not for a moment doubt the truth and validity of the anecdotes or the feelings behind them related in the article “Your Poem is Happening All flict, particularly one of ethnic and religious hatred like the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is necessary to recognize that there is injustice, hatred, ill-treatment and atrocity on both sidesthat neither has a monopoly on sufferingor on behaving in ways we should all be ashamed of. By printing this piece without commentary and without any balancing piece with a view from the other side, the Observer is perpetrating a biased and prejudicial view. It is germane to note that I am a Jew and therefore especially concerned with the perpetration of such a view of the conflict. It is also germane to note that I am also a member of Amnesty International and that just this week I wrote a letter of protest to the Israeli Minister of Justice on behalf of an Israeli Arab woman as part of an Amnesty action. Jo Reichler Livingston Although I applaud Naomi Shihab Nye’s respect for Yehuda Amichai’ s work \(“Your Poem is Happening All great deal of “poetic” license when writing about the situation in the West Bank. While there is no doubt in my mind that some Israelis have racist views toward Palestinians and some Israeli soldiers have assaulted innocent civilians, it is also true that some Palestinians are virulently anti-Jewish and some Palestinian fighters deliberately target schoolchildren with guns and suicide bombs. The situation is infinitely more complex than Ms. Nye leads a Texas Observer reader to believe, especially when talking about the displacement of civilians during the wars. Ms. Nye fails to mention the many homes now occupied by Arab residents that once belonged to Jews and the 1929 massacre of the Jewish community in Hebronmaybe that is why Israeli soldiers are stationed there. We should all support moderate voices throughout Israel and the West Bank. Benjamin Isgur Fort Worth Mr. Pogue and Ms. Nye have produced a most apt and beautiful photo essay. Many thanks to them both. If I may Jew: Until June 1967 I thought of myself as a Zionist. But doubts began on June 8 of that year, around the time I entered U.S. Navy boot camp, when the Israeli state laupched an unprovoked surprise attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, an intelligence vessel. The attack, clearly not an accident as was later claimed, lasted more than an hour and killed 34 of my shipmates and wounded many others. This attack was just as much subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer as the rifle used to intimidate Ms. Nye’s cousin. In the early ’80s I was forced to see that the Israeli theocratic state institutionalized apartheid, even what is now called ethnic cleansing. \(There are awful extremists on the other side as well. Why are suicide same time, let us remember that the overwhelming majority of the people living in what was once known as Palestine would relish peace. It is extremists on both sideswho have captured the relevant political power structureswho incite the young men with the guns and ammo to increasing cycles of violence and hatred.The guns and ammo are made in the USA. To that degree we share responsibility. I say this only to express solidarity with all those many Palestinians and Jews who cherish their fellow human beings in the spirit of the Beatitudes uttered so long ago by that most famous of all Jews. Enough said. I found the August 8 issue more interesting than usual. I read Hitchens’ articles in Harper’s, and I find Mr. continued on page 26 SEPTEMBER 14, 2001 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9/14/01