An incentive clause?
Regarding Laura Miller's exceptional piece ["The dope bowl," July 18]: Once a "player" signs a contract involving millions of dollars in exchange for jockstrap-clad performances on a playing field, the "player" immediately becomes a role model--like it or not.

It is extremely doubtful that professional sports contracts contain stipulations requiring the "player" to become an ambulatory testimonial for the zipper industry.

Ed Frick

Duh, Laura! A "butt plug" is and does just what the name implies.
Colis Johnson

Tortured Defense
Miriam Rozen's article on Richard Meyer leaving KERA ["KERA's fading signal," July 18] touched a nerve in me. Perhaps, as a former student of his, I have a bias toward him. However, I feel that his character was presented in a very negative light in her article.

Granted, he does make a large salary considering the cutbacks to public broadcasting's funding. However, I know several colleges (some of them local that I myself attended in the past) where the presidents made more than $100,000 per year, while the school's library funds and scholarships were pathetically small. Even the United Way's directors receive sizable salaries, considering it is a charity organization.

The tone of the article suggests that Meyer does not deserve his salary, or at least that KERA may go under due to lack of funds that have been "misspent" on the aforesaid salary. Yet in the same article Rozen says that Meyer's trip to Taipei is funded by a Fulbright, which is an academic grant.

The number of hours Meyer works was not included. Nor was the fact that he teaches film at the University of Texas at Dallas in his spare time. And while we're on the subject, how much does the head of WFAA-TV Channel 8 make a year? What about the owners of local radio stations that are huge, like Q102?

I would think it's a lot harder to run a station (television or radio) that's funded by the public. The fact that the format for KERA changed without warning has nothing to do with Meyer's salary, nor does his trip to Taipei. Perhaps an editorial should have been written rather than a "news" article including acerbic statements such as "...a switch that was cloaked in secrecy worthy of a CIA plot, and sprung on listeners with no warning."

Lori Eaton

Palestinian dispute
Referring to Miriam Rozen's story ["Charity gall," July 11], I have one comment: Early on in her rambling story she mentions Amar Emeera's appearance at the St. Luke's church service as most disturbing, and says that people in the congregation gave "appropriate sighs of sympathy." Well, the fruits of Zionist terrorism certainly are difficult to look at, aren't they?

Cyndy Boyd

Miriam Rozen's story was more an example of poor journalism than anything new about "controversial" organizations providing humanitarian relief in the Middle East.

With suspicious omissions, inaccurate information, and a questionable motive, Rozen chose to focus not on the fact that both the Holy Land Foundation and the Palestine Children's Relief Fund were helping victims of Israeli state terrorism, but that we had the "gall" to bring children [to Dallas] and honor them publicly at a fund-raising event.

Such work explains why the Dallas Observer is a free magazine. The price accurately reflects the quality of journalism found inside.

Some of Rozen's more glaring omissions include what triple-amputee Nizar [El-Barky] told her twice in clear English: The doll he picked up, which "had been booby-trapped with a small bomb," fell from an Israeli helicopter. Perhaps omitting this detail was an honest mistake. After all, the purpose of this article was to discredit (again) the HLF.

Booby-trapped dolls tearing limbs from innocent Palestinian children will only reveal to the reader that there are many faces of terror in the Middle East, not the least of which is the Israeli government.

Concerning Amar [Emeera], the burned boy, Rozen never accurately conveyed his story, which is that he was terribly burned, and lost two brothers, from a bomb thrown by an Israeli settler. Had Amar been an Israeli child and the bomber an Arab, I doubt very much she would have explained the incident away as "why a boy must suffer so when adults war."

Having provided Rozen free access to interview these children, giving her all the information she requested, and providing her much follow-up time, I am disappointed--but not surprised--that she would use the plight of these children to further the effort in Dallas to discredit the HLF. Obviously, she lacks the ability that people like the Reverend [Derrick] Harkins and Thomas Muhammad have in seeing these children not as "Arabs," but rather as suffering children, and the fund-raising event not for "Palestinian causes," but rather a relief effort for a human cause. Such forms of racism do not belong in any publication, even the Observer.

Rozen writes: "The Israeli government contends that the HLF leaders have links with Hamas." Is this the same Israeli government that recently slaughtered 100 women and children at Qana? The same Israeli government which has the notorious, should-be war criminal Ariel Sharon in its cabinet? The same Israeli government which employs torture against civilians, deports people without trial, destroys suspect's homes without trial, employs collective punishment, and ignores international law, United Nations resolutions, and basic human-rights standards in the occupied territories and south Lebanon? The Israeli government is hardly an objective source, and certainly not one that can dare to call another a "terrorist."

Unless, of course, hypocrisy is an acceptable standard for journalism.
The real gall of this article was to twist the humanitarian efforts of the HLF and PCRF into a scheming, money-grubbing effort on our part. The PCRF, Rozen wrote, would "pocket" 40 percent of the "take," as if we had just completed a drug deal with the HLF. The fact is, PCRF has dozens of other injured children in need of medical care not available to them in the Middle East. We have already arranged treatment for many of these children because the event in Dallas enabled us to cover the costs. The HLF, meanwhile, can better supply its clinics in Gaza, where many sick refugees get expert medical care for free. This is hardly "pocketing the take," and shows the reader the true intention of this article.

For the record, as Rozen failed to get correct despite many interviews, Hassan Mardini's English was learned in school in Lebanon, not "while he has been in the United States for surgeries." As we told her, Hassan just arrived for the first time in the United States and it was for an artificial leg, not surgery. Furthermore, I did not "send Mardini to Los Angeles for an artificial leg" last year, as Rozen could see. How much credibility do we give a journalist who fails to see that one of the injured boys she is writing about is missing a leg?

Any 10-year-old child in Gaza can tell you that it was not "the gold-domed mosque in Jerusalem where a Jewish Zealot massacred numerous Palestinians while they prayed." That was the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. In October 1990, Israeli soldiers massacred dozens of Palestinians at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a minor historical detail, no doubt, but another indication that Rozen's skills are in defamation, not accurate journalism.

The PCRF and HLF are working hard to help heal the wounds of war and occupation in the Middle East. It is not our pleasure to bring kids like Amar to be seen publicly, but the purpose was to raise funds so that the many other children like him, who are awaiting medical treatment, can get help. It would be a much greater benefit to humanity and her profession if Rozen and the Observer would focus on the political forces that sent settlers into the West Bank to burn Amar beyond recognition, instead of trying to discredit those of us who are trying to help heal the wounds of Israeli state terror.

Steve Sosebee
Palestine Children's Relief Fund
Kent, Ohio

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