Tuesday, October 31, 2006

2 more letters in response to burqas column

What follows are two more letters to the editor in response to my column on burqas.

But first, I've pasted here an earlier letter and then Jim Grattan's letter to the editor, which was not published. With three out of three published letters that are negative and insulting it appears that someone at the AJC does not want to give the impression that any readers found I had a point. Jim's letter wasn't published and I'm sure I'll never find out the positive letters that were simply thrown away. Jim's letter is well-reasoned. Well, thank goodness for the Internet! So tell your friends to visit my web page www.marygrabar.com Sign up. I'm getting the subscriber list going--I've been working on it, trying to get the technical things worked out.

This is Jim Grattan's comment to my last posting:
The following letter was published by the AJC on 10-27 in response to Mary's column:

"Anti-burqa column a real knee-slapper"Finally, a really funny column on the @issue pages! Mary Grabar is funnier than Dave Barry. The AJC should certainly consider running a regular column by this gifted humorist. In true Mark Twain fashion, Grabar had me going with her clever satire on Muslim dress for women ("Burqas give Muslims too much cover," @issue, Oct. 25). I had to read her column twice to figure out that she was just pulling our collective leg. I'll bet the English classes she teaches at Clayton State are tremendously popular.If Grabar were a regular columnist, she could try out all her hilarious ideas on the impressionable young people in her classes before submitting them to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Let's hear it for Grabar. Keep us laughing.TOM DEARDORFF, Atlanta-----------------------------------

The follwing is a letter sent but not published on 10-25:

Dear Letters Editor:Mary Grabar's article exposes the difference between assimilation and diversity. It is not intolerant to expect those who wish to come to a nation to adopt within reason the mores and customs of the host nation. Why come to the United States if one is not sensitive to our culture?Hiding one's identity by covering from head to toe is in fact a security issue in today's world. But it is more than that. We are an open society. We believe in the possibility of free and open exchange with all, including complete strangers. Concealing one's identity, even if unintentional, is harmful to social harmony. This is no call for erasure of anyone's past. Diversity is okay in an overriding context of assimilation. However, being open about one's identity is fundamental to our society. That practice cannot be rejected.

Thanks,Jim Grattan

To me, both the first comment [copied on my previous posting] and the one included here are both knee-jerk reactions. Immigration is a serious issue. To label anyone discussing the issue as ignorant and provincial is just stupid. Maybe it is liberal orthodoxy to accept all aspects of diversity unquestionably. I don't concede liberal credentials to anyone, and I think that Grabar has a point. I know that both letter writers must be patting themselves on the back for their sophistication and tolerance - guess again.Jim Grattanj_and_sg@msn.com
9:25 AM

These are the two latest letters, published in yesterday's paper...nothing in today's paper, just some pap from a college student as guest editorial.

Religious dress: Responses to ''Burqas give Muslims too much cover,'' @issue, Oct. 25
Constitutionally protected garb

Mary Grabar's recent sighting of a woman wearing a burqa in a checkout line led her to muse on how many dangerous items —- short of weapons of mass destruction apparently —- could be concealed under all that cloth. "Yet, nothing is done to stop wearing of such attire in public," Grabar writes.
She ignores the constitutional protections that give a Muslim woman in a burqa the same freedoms as a Christian man wearing camouflage and a hunting vest (as, after all, domestic terrorists of the Oklahoma City variety have been known to do).
It's not always comfortable protecting the freedoms the Framers of the Constitution insisted upon. But nothing is more worth doing.

Culture's fears unreasonable
Upon reading guest columnist Mary Grabar's op-ed, I thought surely this must be satire —- a situation writ large in order to show us how we, as a society, have allowed ourselves to be ruled by prejudice and fear. What better way to show the silliness of this fear than to take a benign experience, such as grocery shopping, and place a pregnant woman in a burqa as the unwitting villain. We could all have a knowing chuckle when we realize that we are guilty of making similar assumptions and would perhaps think twice before we pass such judgments in the future.
Sadly, Grabar offers no commentary about our culture's unreasonable fears of the American Islamic community or even a thoughtful analysis of her own irrational response to the Muslim woman. Rather than being embarrassed by her prejudices, she defiantly attempts to justify her reactions by making the victim of her bigotry the villain.
American Muslims have proved themselves to be peaceful people. They have not rioted in the streets over Pope Benedict's speech, nor have they reacted violently to the caustic rhetoric that spews from the government, the media and even people in grocery stores. The demand for the removal of the Muslim women's niqab is based on unfounded fears.
MAUREEN HILL, Stone Mountain

Friday, October 27, 2006

cute letter

This is a letter in response to my latest column on wearing burqas. I don't thi-i-nk it's satire. But this guy found my Clayton State email address and sent it there. I always have a fun time visualizing these letter writers...the smoke just coming out of their ears and keyboards....

Mary, Your column in the AJC, if genuine, demonstrates astonishing ignorance and xenophobia. My wife, a professor at a state university, laughed out loud as she read it. She said, "this was written by an 11th grader with bigots for parents, NOT a university instructor. It must be a hoax. How could anyone with the education needed to be a university instructor possibly hold such a parochial and unsophisticated viewpoint?" I disagreed. I believe it is genuine. I'd also be willing to bet that you were born and raised right here in the deep South, from a deep-rooted Southern family, that you may have ventured beyond the borders of Georgia, but not far, and certainly not outside the U.S.; that your "daddy" and your grand-daddy hold very special opinions about the "blacks" and the Jews. Even if you deny evolution, Mary, genetics is a very real and very powerful force of nature. It determines much more about who we are than simply the color of our eyes or lengths of our earlobes. When my wife left her post at U. Colorado in Boulder last year to accept a position here in Atlanta, she was warned about the bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance we would encounter here in the deep South. We find the bigotry and intolerance here to be no different than anywhere else in the country. But the ignorance we encounter, the pure, blunt, dull-witted provincialism that we have seen, and that your article displays with such unabashed exuberance, leaves us shaking our heads. Andrew Mitchle, MD, FACSAtlanta

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

my article on burqua wearing

Here's a link for my op-ed in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

back in Townhall

Hot Moms! I'm back in Townhall. Also, watch for my website, which will be up soon (thanks to Jude's help) www.marygrabar.com


update: I stand corrected from several readers on Madonna's birthplace and her name. At least I didn't get Flaubert wrong.

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