Plus Letters to Good Times
Controversy … Or Not?
Labor Day is over, but for some reason I have this wild urge to go on maternity leave. Do you realize how much one can give birth to in a year’s time? I actually meant to write that as “how much I give birth to” but I didn’t. But actually, I just did, so here we are. Do we realize how much we create during the course of a year’s time—really? It’s something that has been on my mind recently as we move through our ever-hectic lives. And I happily reflected on that idea with greater detail as I read this week’s cover story on a curious local dubbed Master Umi. Some of you may know of Umi, especially if you caught the film Pirate Radio. Umi, an enlightened master who lives right here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, once went by the name Tom Lodge, the renegade DJ who, decades ago, caused a stir, mostly from the British government who weren’t too pleased with the man’s broadcasts on Radio Caroline, among other things. What’s interesting to note is the evolution of this unique soul—he’s now a Zen master and has just released a book called “The Shipped That Rocked the World.” GT writer Damon Orion captures Master Umi’s tale. Read on and learn more about how Umi’s past events led him to explore the fascinating nature of Zen.
Elsewhere, take note of creativity—and birth, life, death and beyond—in a story about choreographer Tandy Beal, which highlights a new show that most certainly will be a big draw. The show is “HereAfterHere: a self-guided tour to eternity.” Deep? Yes. The event unfolds this week, but take note of how well Beal will make this a memorable multi-media extravaganza.
Beyond that, this weekend marks the ninth anniversary of the Sept.11 events. I came across some interesting news about 36 emergency responders from the U.S. and Australia who are on the last leg of a 4,600-mile run from Santa Monica to New York City–all to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks. They’ll arrive at Ground Zero Saturday. Cheers to them.
Enjoy the issue.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to Good Times Editor
Controversy … Or Not?
In his letter “Mosque or No Mosque,” Mr. Brumfield made an excellent point concerning racial profiling. We are a nation concerned with race. We classify based on difference. The controversy surrounding the building of a mosque at Ground Zero is no different. We’re making this an issue of “us” versus “them.”
In response to Mr. Brumfield’s letter, and as a general response to this debate, I have two points: First, the site is not “at” Ground Zero. Use of the word “at” is a rhetorical strategy meant to incite fear and anger in the American populous by a large number of media outlets. The proposed site is actually two and a half blocks away from the outside perimeter of Ground Zero, equidistant with a strip club. I wonder… how far away is far enough?
Another fact: this is not simply a mosque. The Cordoba House will be an Islamic community center with many amenities, including a pool, theater, and 9/11 memorial! The name refers to Córdoba, Spain during a period of peaceful coexistence among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. CordobaInitiative.org reveals that the center “will serve as a platform for multi-faith dialogue. It will strive to promote inter-community peace, tolerance and understanding locally in New York City, nationally in America and globally.”
Second, instead of perpetuating the ignorance that fuels the fear, which in turn fuels the hatred, let’s show the terrorists who wish to weaken us what makes us strong. We are a pluralistic society. Muslims are Americans, too, who deserve the right to support their community while promoting tolerance. This is an opportunity for healing and to live the ideals our country claims to cherish: tolerance and freedom. While I am not Muslim, I support this project because I support these ideals.
Sarah Palin tweeted that this project is “an unnecessary provocation.” Provocation of what, exactly? How is this something Muslims are doing to us? Muslim-Americans are us! By claiming that the support of a mosque near Ground Zero is tacky and an act of reverse racism, the focus is still on difference. Why is this even an issue in the first place?
Regarding the “Rearranging Rape” article, I am very disheartened that Rape Prevention Education will close at UCSC. As an educator of teachers throughout sub-Saharan Africa and on the front lines of HIV prevention and response, I regularly refer to the existence of UCSC’s programme as an extraordinarily courageous and responsible model to for any educational institution to strive for. Greensite’s writings are a staple part of my courses.
Think of it: Greensite’s publications are being enthusiastically read in teacher training colleges throughout sub-Saharan Africa and are contributing to the reduction of rape and the spread of HIV. UCSC should be awarding her an honorary Ph.D., not closing a programme she has worked tirelessly to build and sustain that they don’t seem to recognize the value or international significance of. Rape is not a medical issue and requires far greater understanding and attention than health educators can be expected to give it. UCSC management has just done a disservice to the world. They should hang their heads in shame.
Dr. James Lees