Again HamasNews of yet another bombing in...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Again Hamas

News of yet another bombing in Israel; this time Jerusalem. Hamas again delights in glorifying full responsibility for this dastardly act.

May Hamas quicken its haste in becoming past history.

My people will, can and shall survive despite what has and is being done to them.

Gail Sherman

Reisterstown

False Friends

I am not sure whom Robert Katzoff regards as the greatest hero ("Greatest Hero," Aug. 23), defined as being that "individual who turns an enemy into a friend."

Is it Yasser Arafat who has not lived up to any of the terms of the Oslo accords or is it Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin or Foreign Minister Shimon Peres who have overlooked these violations and instead have brutally removed Israelis from their purchased land, prevented with force demonstrations against the Labor government policies and closed radio stations airing views opposed to the desires of the current regime?

The true heroes are individuals such as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who have peacefully disagreed with the current peace negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and Mr. Arafat for good reason.

Murders of Israeli citizens have continued at an accelerated pace since the Oslo peace accords. Mr. Arafat has declared that the Palestinian authority has the right to try Arabs guilty of murders -- of Israeli citizens both in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem, imposing negligible sentences on these criminals.

And the Labor government of Israel, with its anti-democratic actions, has turned into a dictatorship with absolute control over television and radio, forbidding the expression of any views contrary to Messrs. Rabin and Peres.

The price of turning foes into false friends is too high. Israel is learning this lesson too late as the current government continues to make concessions without reciprocity.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

Need Traffic Circle

In your editorial of Aug. 24, "Coming Around in Towson," you discussed traffic at the infamous Five Points, the Towson dog-leg where York and Dulaney Valley roads split, cars collide and drivers tear their hair. Had it occurred to you to wonder how it got to be that way? The answer is in the most excellent "A History of Baltimore County" by Neal A. Brooks and Eric G. Rockel, published in 1979 by the Friends of the Towson Library Inc.

It seems that in 1768 Ezekiel Towson, who lived on or just west of that corner, across from what later became the old Hutzler's store, obtained a license to operate an "ordinary," or tavern. As Baltimore waxed prosperous, so did Ezekiel Towson. Leastways, until 1799, when the state proposed to build the York Turnpike. As might be expected, it was to go directly from Baltimore to York, and vice-versa. That would have put it somewhere well west of Ezekiel Towson's establishment, over to Charles Street.

Ol' Zeke saw the handwriting on the wall: if the York Road went west, then Towson's Tavern was dead as mutton. But he did not give up; he petitioned the General Assembly to change the planned route, claiming that the proposed right-of-way would injure a meadow on his property. It was a bit of a swindle, but the General Assembly granted his request. It enacted into law a description of the route that forced the turnpike to pass by Towson's Tavern, with what results we all know.

Before you hasten to condemn Ezekiel, it should be noted that he was a delegate to the Maryland Convention in 1775 and in 1776 was appointed captain of the guard for a powder magazine, a post he held for several years. You could say that he paid his dues and was entitled to make practical use of the democracy he had helped to establish. Wish he'd built a traffic circle, though. No telling if we'll ever get around to it.

Ronald Blum

Timonium

Who's Superior?

Carl M. Cannon's article in the Aug. 20 Perspective section ("By Any Standard of Judging Ballplayers, Willie Mays Tags Out Mickey Mantle"), while lauding the accomplishments of Mickey Mantle, brought to my mind a quotation from Dr. Molefi Kate Asante's book, "Afrocentricity."

Dr. Asante, chairman of the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University, said: "Enslavement of the mind is the most pernicious kind of enslavement because the person so enslaved will never be able to see clearly for himself. Breaking the mental chains only occurs when a person learns to take two sets of notes on almost everything encountered in the Western world."

It is noteworthy that in the same Perspective section there was an article by John Fairhall ("Elvis Presley's Cultural Legacy Transcends Both His Fans and the Scornful") on the 18th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley and the "meaning" of the Elvis phenomenon. Notwithstanding the nonspecific allusion to Elvis' "musical influences, his Southern roots," there was no reference to the very significant African-American musical tradition that Elvis tapped into, with subsequent great impact on European Americans.

I believe that Elvis' cultural legacy was that he served as a vehicle whereby the rhythms and phrasings of African-American music could be accepted openly by masses of European Americans. The music of African Americans was projected through the European-American facade of Elvis.

I believe that Mr. Cannon's observations concerning Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and that Mr. Fairhall's discussion of Elvis without reference to a key aspect of his music are both a part of a process again peaking in European America. The attack on affirmative action also is a component of that process.

The process under way is a European-American reaction to the evolving vibrancy of African-American culture, notwithstanding ongoing oppression, and the threat that vibrancy poses to the maintenance of the ideology of white supremacy.

The breakdown, to some degree, of imposed restrictions on the access of African Americans to venues where they may compete against European Americans in sports, music, employment, etc., has produced a critical mass of African Americans who have proven to be equal or superior to European Americans.

You cannot maintain a belief in white supremacy in such an environment and it has become necessary again to attempt to make African Americans invisible in sports, music, employment, etc. That is the expanded context within which I believe Mr. Cannon's perceptive article should be read and why we still need to keep a second set of notes.

Ken Jennings

Columbia

Money's Worth

I read the Aug. 25 editorial, "Shortfall for City Schools." It alluded to the problems that may develop as a result of the budget shortfall in the Baltimore City public schools.

As was indicated in the story, Superintendent Walter Amprey promised that the effects caused by the shortfall would not "directly affect youngsters."

The Sun's editors could not see how programs like interscholastic sports could not be affected by this deficit.

What greater classroom is there than the interscholastic athletics arena? We deal with literally thousands of youngsters in a variety of activities where enhancement of skills such as leadership, dedication to a common goal, sportsmanship and cooperation is the often-met objective.

One has only to look at the backgrounds of the most successful leaders of our community. In many of their experiences, sports in high school played a major role in having them "step out from the pack" with that special something that makes one achieve.

Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Superintendent Amprey and a host of others who have risen to leadership positions are products of the Baltimore City school' athletic program.

So when we talk of cutting programs that are not directly related to children, let's not include one that has shown positive results in the history of public and private education.

Let's put more into those showing consistent gains.

Mark Schlenoff

Baltimore

The writer is the athletic director at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

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