Willful imprisonment

Letters to the Boston editor, June 20, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  June 18, 2008

We would like to thank and congratulate Jeff Inglis for his vivid and thoughtful account of a night spent in the replica Guantánamo cell that was placed in Portland’s Monument Square for three days earlier in June. Our two organizations, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union, have been working hard to document how detainees have been treated at Guantánamo. The US Supreme Court has now reaffirmed, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, the age-old, fundamental right of habeas corpus. In America, those detained should receive a fair and neutral hearing, learn the specific reason for their detention, and be able to challenge it in a court of law. Inglis’s reporting reminds us why all Americans need to stand up for our fundamental values and the rule of law, not only in times of peace and prosperity, but also in times of war and crisis.

Shenna Bellows
Executive Director
Maine Civil Liberties Union

Joshua Rubenstein
Northeast Regional Director
Amnesty International USA

Gold ahead
Should President Bush go to Beijing? Absolutely. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If we treat China with respect, we can push it gradually in the right direction. If we show disrespect for China, it will resent us and disregard our advice. By showing that America is a true friend of China, President Bush will make that country’s government less fearful of domestic reformers and criticism from abroad. His trip will give democracy advocates a helping hand.

Simon Tuchman
Waltham

Don’t have a cow
I was truly disappointed to see the June 6 cover story, “Where’s the Beef?” In an age when we are advocating for an end to the war, world peace, clean water and air, more organic and non-genetically-modified foods, less use of fossil fuels, and recycling, it seems to me that we have little time to waste on finding the top 10 steak-house hot spots in Boston.

I have usually enjoyed the Phoenix for being a hip, upbeat, and alternative newspaper. But this article leaves me feeling irritated and infuriated. Even more vexing is the fact that the author, MC Slim JB, acknowledges how socially irresponsible it is to support the meat industry and factory farming.

Spreading awareness is what newspapers do best. However, awareness should inspire conscious change and positive action in the community. Raising animals for food consumption is completely wasteful, toxic, and inefficient. The amount of land it takes to feed one carnivore can feed 20 vegetarians. The grains used to feed American livestock alone could feed the one billion people who are starving.

It is pathetic and irresponsible to ignore this alarming reality. If we turn a blind eye and accept the social norms as tried and true, we are just as guilty as those committing actual planetary crimes. If you want to list the best steak houses in Boston, then do so. But to make light of the environment, social responsibility, and vegetarianism in the same breath? We should be part of the solution, not the problem. We have a responsibility to respect and nourish this planet for future generations. It is delusional and unacceptable to ignore the imbalances that we have created on the Earth and in our bodies. If you want to know “where the beef is,” visit a slaughterhouse and see what your ridiculous cravings are supporting.

Megan Sprague
Roslindale

Correction
This past week, we incorrectly reported the date of an upcoming Eksi Ekso concert. That show will take place at the Paradise on Saturday, June 21. We apologize for the error.

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