Views in brief
Stealing our home from us
IN RESPONSE to "The truth about mortgage relief": Thank you very much for being honest. This is what we had figured all along.
We've had a mortgage with IndyMac since August 1997--not by our choosing, I might add. We just got put with them.
My wife and I lost our jobs three years ago, but even while being laid off, we managed to make our payments. Afraid that our overdraft on our checking account might not be enough to cover our mortgage payments during extremely tight weeks, we sent a few payments with money orders. We both now have very good stable jobs and have been making our payments well ahead of time for a year now.
On February 14, 2013, our January payment was returned to us with a letter telling us to send over $8,000 to IndyMac in Kalamazoo, Mich., for "past due" payments. We are not behind!
IndyMac would know that we have our cleared checks from our personal account, but those money orders are another matter. I have only been able to locate one of those onion-skin-thin carbon money order receipts. Unless I can find the rest of them, I guess we are sunk.
I have called every day for the past two weeks to IndyMac, and can't get the same person twice. They are short and rude with me and tell me I have to pay the $8,000, and possibly additional fees, or they will begin to foreclose. When I call again the next day, they have no record that I have ever called them.
We don't live in a mansion, this is just a small family home--OUR HOME--and I'll be darned if I'm going to let some rich idiot yank it out from under us to profit from it. I am filing a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, writing my state attorney general, as well as the California attorney general, my state congressman, and anyone else that I can think of to cause another stink for IndyMac.
We can make our payments, WE HAVE MADE OUR PAYMENTS. What are they doing?! HOW can they do it?
San and Judy Cole, Asheville, N.C.
Syria's rebels and imperialism
IN RESPONSE to "Prospects for Syria's revolution": Naisse brings up two points I would like to comment on. The first is his easy dismissal of the anti-imperialists who don't side with the Syrian rebel forces. This represents what I see as a refusal to see how imperialism is working in this instance.
At the same time, he points out that most of the aid from the West headed for the rebels is going to the Muslim Brotherhood, who are using it to shore up their position among the Syrian people. The Brotherhood are proving that they are willing collaborators with the imperialists in Egypt and elsewhere.
The fact that imperialist money is going to them does not show that the anti-imperialists referred to above are wrong about their assumptions regarding the nature of some of the rebel forces. However, it does show that these anti-imperialists are locked into a dichotomized worldview that does not see the revolutionary third way Naisse seems to be championing.
Similarly, there are those on the left who support the rebel forces without differentiating among those forces. These forces are the mirror image of the anti-imperialists who oppose the rebellion.
Ron Jacobs, Burlington, Vt.
Where are independent Palestinian films?
IN RESPONSE to "Cinematic Intifada": First, this is a great and important film! I loved it. But this shows the urgent need for possibilities for film production on the West bank.
We have a lot of Palestinian filmmakers that end up with Israeli producers. The Greenhouse Film Center takes the credit as usual. The problem, as I see it, is that Five Broken Cameras actually is an Israeli film. It is Emad Burnat's story (and some of his photos as well), but the rest is controlled outside Bilín. This is a Greenhouse project.
So what is Greenhouse, you might wonder? The Greenhouse project is run by an Israeli organization, the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and Television (NFCT). The NFCT was founded in 1993 by the Israeli Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport with the assistance of the Israel Film Council.
I quote from the Israel Film Center's website: "A remarkable first for the Israeli film industry: Two local films were named Thursday among the five documentaries nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar. The two are Five Broken Cameras and The Gatekeepers....Both films were produced with help from international funds, but also with significant support from the Israeli government."
The fact is that before a filmmaker can receive funding from the Israeli government, she/he must sign a statement agreeing not to place into question the Jewish character of the state of Israel. That means, in short, that no Israeli-funded film may criticize Zionism fundamentally. Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi at the very least must have agreed to this.
My aim is not to attack Guy Davidi. He is a skilled filmmaker and seems to be a great person. This is not about Guy Davidi personally. My main concern as a person living on the West bank and being married to a Palestinian filmmaker is that there are few possibilities for West Bank Palestinians to produce their own films.
This film is partly funded by the Israeli government. The Israeli occupation not only steals the Palestinians' land, it is also stealing the Palestinian stories, producing them as Israeli films and--by the end--winning film prizes. When will we have pure Palestinian film funds to be able to produce independent Palestinian films? I wonder where is the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Culture, and where does the money going to the PA end up? Not for financing Palestinian films, that's for sure.
I know that you need an international producer in order to get good funding for your film. But you can do it in many different ways. Emad Burnat could have chosen to cooperate with a Palestinian filmmaker or a foreign (not Israeli) filmmaker if he felt he did not have the possibility to do the film on his own.
I'm not moralizing over Emad's decision. I'm just saying that he had a choice, and chose the Jewish Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi, probably because he trusted that Guy had been working in solidarity with the village and was active in Anarchists Against the Wall.
Then Guy had a choice how to finance the project. Many Palestinian filmmakers and International filmmakers that work in solidarity with Palestine refuse to be financed and produced by Israeli production companies and founds. Guy choose to be funded and produced by Israeli entities like "Greenhouse," the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and Television and Israeli TV, besides the international funds he got.
These are choices made along the process from idea to completed film, and I still found it slightly problematic.
Marco Espvall, Ramallah, West Bank, Occupied Palestine
Sexual assault and college profits
IN RESPONSE to "Persecuting the victim": I fully support Landen Gambill's struggle against the persecution of the University of North Carolina.
There is a pretense that universities are places of higher learning and then, which would follow, places which would support such things as women's rights. But universities are corporations at heart these days. They want to deny reports of sexual violence against women because it might hurt their bottom line. It might reflect badly on their image, which might lose "customers" (future students) for them.
So, fight on, Landen...and win; your struggle is the struggle of us all.
Christine Craig, Agawam, Mass.
Fighting for port drivers' rights
IN RESPONSE to "Union victory for port drivers": I am with your fight 100 percent. I too drive trucks at the Port of New Orleans for P&O Ports and Ceres Gulf. I am hoping we can bring the same fight to the southern ports and start a union among all the drivers in the intermodal port system.
We need what you all are doing on the West Coast to extend to all ports in the southern regions. Let's unite all drivers to stand together and stop letting these brokers dictate what we should be getting paid. This need to stop now.
Wayne Jermain Robinson, Lutcher, La.