Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Stick it up your nose


It was mildly astonishing to read that people were unnerved by an old-fashioned, anti-Semitic portrayal of the Israeli head of state. Let there be no doubt, whether blatant, subtle or unwitting, anti-Semitism is alive in southwest Colorado and elsewhere. Though it seems that what we have here is an example of the unwitting variety; an unworldly cartoonist and an ignorant publisher, not a growing wave of anti-Semitism. The Durango Herald is quite another story, but let’s focus on the nose.

In examining the recent submissions of photojournalists rather than cartoonists, it is rather obvious that a great big nose is not Sharon’s most dominant physical feature. So it’s not a very good caricature. Furthermore, is it not equally obvious that Arafat has a bigger nose than does Sharon? Indeed, PM Jacques Chirac, former PM Jean Cretian, Osama bin Laden, Syrian Pres. Assad and Pope John XXIII each have (or had) a more prominent proboscis than does Sharon. So, if you’re going to express your anti-Semitism, then pick something other than your hackneyed nose.

Just so you know, I am a 136th generation Jew, neither proud nor ashamed, just a plain Jewish man. I am also an adamant Zionist because I believe unswervingly that Israel (possibly a little larger than currently defined) belongs to Jews. Sure, Israel likes visitors, irrespective of race or creed, as long as they remain peaceable – but Jews unequivocally claim the real estate. And if it’s not already perfectly clear, many Jews are willing to put their fortunes and their very lives behind that claim. Cansay that I agree with the fence decision, but that will work itself out over time.

Back to the nose thing. Although I am a certified Jew, I have neither a big nose nor kinky black hair with a swarthy complexion (go figure). Indeed some of my gentile acquaintances have commented on the diminutive appearance of my schnoz, while my Jewish comrades have said that my nose is positively goyishe (i.e., gentile-like). If I so desired, I suppose I could pass myself off as a gentile. But that would not be fair because I am a Jew, and I want everyone who knows me to know me as a Jew. Why? Because Jews dominate the world including government, science, medicine, law and Hollywood. Now there is a stereotype I can get behind. And it was confirmed recently by no less an authority than the retiring Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a leader to be reckoned with albeit with a small nose. “Dominator” – that is a label that commands the respect borne by fear – kind of like Schwarzenegger might have been had he taken the S&M route. Undoubtedly, I would rather be feared as the world dominator that I am not, than scorned for a big nose that I do not possess.

I just looked it up on the Internet. Out of a current world population of about 6 billion, Jews number about 13 million – that’s 0.22% folks, less than a quarter of 1 percent. The world Jewish population was about 12 million before the Nazis did their number, so it’s taken Jews almost 60 years to recoup their losses. During that same 60 years, the world population grew by 3.8 billion (more than doubled). By the way, there are about 5 million Jews in the USA. That’s right, only 38 percent of all the Jews in the world live in the USA, the most powerful nation on Earth. Does that prove the world domination stereotype or not? NOT.

So here we sit with, charitably, a naive cartoonist, an ignorant editor and an antiquated big nose. As my father would have said, “If that’s the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’re a lucky man.” The problem is, history teaches us the brutal lesson that this is not the worst thing that may ever happen to us. That’s why I do my part to make clear to those who know me that I am a Jew, that my children go out into the world as Jews and that anybody who messes with us just because we’re Jews knows that they’re in for a heap of trouble. I want a safe place in the world for my children and their descendants. Many Jews now realize that, fence notwithstanding, the best defense is a good offense, and that particular notion is encouraging anti-Semites to crawl out from under their rotting logs. Too pushy? Don’t like the smell of it? Too bad – you can just stick it up your nose.

And to the cartoonist and editor: Isn’t it fascinating how the intended message of the cartoon has been given over to a public discourse on anti-Semitism? Nice job.

– Cordially, Henry Silver,

Pagosa Springs

Swingtimes: Fourth-grader Sabrina Clark
makes the most of her recess time on the swings
at the Park Elementary playground on
Tuesday./Photo by Todd Newcomer.

Give Referendum A an “F”

Dear Editors,

Bad ideas don’t get better with time – they may actually get worse. This is particularly true of Referendum A on this November’s ballot. It was a bad idea a year ago when, as Colorado senate majority leader, I helped kill an earlier version of this threat to Western and southern Colorado water and our way of life. It’s an even worse idea now and needs to be defeated.

A similar proposal came before the General Assembly during the special legislative session in the summer of 2002. I made certain that House Bill 1022 was killed in committee and my vote to kill it was one of the best I cast during that session.

But now it is round two, and the boondoggle is back. However, this version is even worse than the earlier one. As public policy Referendum A gets an “F” for failure.

The referendum would authorize the sale of up to $2 billion in bonds to build dams and reservoirs. But where will those dams be built? Where will the water come from to fill those dams? Who will benefit? Who will get hurt? The proponents of this measure won’t say. Worse, the process for authorizing a project is left completely in the hands of the governor and the Colorado Water Conservation Board – a board appointed by the governor! They can decide on a project without having to have any public input and almost no oversight.

Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say – but the right thing for whom? I don’t believe for a minute that it will be the right thing for southern and western Colorado. I know, as certain as I know that the sun comes up in the east, that the water for these boondoggle projects will come from the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and southern Colorado. And it will go for the benefit of those who want to build more golf courses and bluegrass lawns in the metro suburbs, at the expense of the local economies, interests and way of life of those of us who live and work in southern and western Colorado.

Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say. Oh, really? When Western Slope and southern Colorado legislators attempted to amend the bill placing this question on the ballot to provide for compensation to localities for the loss of their water and negative economic impact of that loss, those that would have us trust them just said no.

Well, it’s time for all of us to “just say no” to this $2 billion water grab. The best vote I will cast this November, and the best vote you can cast, will be like the best vote I cast in the 2002 special session: No on Referendum A.

– Bill Thiebaut

former Colorado senate majority leader

Some finer points of grazing

Dear Will,

Thanks for the excellent grazing story. There were two points we covered in our interview that didn’t appear in the article, though.

First: The areas that are currently hardest hit by livestock are the low-altitude, arid ones. These, in my opinion, would benefit most from the removal of livestock, although the mountains would certainly be better off cow-free, too.

Second: The Grazing Permit Buyout Bill is entirely voluntary, which was not mentioned. This is a crucial feature of the program.

Thanks again for your good work.

– Broadly, Ronni Egan

Great Old Broads For Wilderness





News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index