Letters

Holiday Wishes
Thank you, Mr. Szatmary, for your insightful comments regarding Houston-area theater this Christmas season [Theater, "Playing the Season," by Peter Szatmary, December 8]. We at the AD Players were delighted to read your affirmation of our company as a theater with a stated purpose. We consider it our highest responsibility to ensure that each of our productions reflects that purpose. As Abraham Lincoln once noted, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." So while we may not agree with every critic, on every point, regarding every specific production, we can be sure that our mission remains consistent every time we take the stage.

Thanks again, Mr. Szatmary, for recognizing the AD Players not just for our production, but for our purpose. As for our Christmas wish, we hope that you would continue to hold Houston-area theater (including the AD Players) accountable to be purposeful as well as entertaining.

Marijane Vandivier
Director of Media Marketing
AD Players
Houston

Don't Trash the Irish
I am outraged and deeply offended by Jim Sherman's review of the Wolfe Tones concert [Live Shots, December 1] in which he claims that the national sport of the Irish is "killing your neighbor over which church you're too hung over to attend." This ignorant and hateful statement is a classic example of anti-Irish racism.

Britain's long-standing acts of violence, genocide and torture as documented and condemned by such groups as Amnesty International and the United Nations against the Irish people is a terrible injustice. I find it very telling indeed that you would label the victims of Britain's long-standing oppression and racism as stereotypical drunks and brawlers.

January 1995 will mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Ireland's "Great Hunger" period of 1845-50, in which the British methodically starved to death some two million Irish men, women and children -- and cast as many more out to sea to die hidden from the eyes of the world aboard "coffin ships." And while Britain murdered the Irish -- while they committed this horrible act of genocide -- the British bigots of the day portrayed the Irish people exactly as you have today -- as fighting, wild savages.

Irish people were viewed as little more than wild beasts that were to be slaughtered. Your racist statements have again damaged race relations as well as furthered anti-Irish bigotry. Therefore, as an Irish community leader in Houston, I will be calling for a boycott of your publication and its sponsors, as well as bringing your racist views of the Irish to other Irish groups in America and abroad.

It is no longer socially acceptable to debase the Irish and their victimization.

Vincent O'Brien
The Blackwater Theater Company
Houston

Ditto
The music review by Jim Sherman on the Wolfe Tones in "Live Shots" in your December 1-7, 1994 edition was as racist and bigoted a piece of ignorant trash as I have ever seen.

Sherman's reference to the "national sport of that beautiful land, which is killing your neighbors over which church you're too hung over to attend" was outrageous, and showed a gross misunderstanding of the situation in the north of Ireland. In addition, it showed a complete lack of respect for the more than 44 million Irish Americans in the United States (three million of whom reside in Texas), a group which, among its many accomplishments, has given this country 11 presidents.

Would Mr. Sherman use, or would his editor allow the use of, such blatantly demeaning terms as "lazy, shiftless, stupid and greedy" about any other ethnic group? I think not.

Obviously, Mr. Sherman does not know that per capita alcohol consumption in Ireland is the second lowest in Europe. That means the Dutch, Spanish, Italians, Greek, Germans and others all drink more per person annually than the Irish.

Obviously, Mr. Sherman does not know that the situation in the north of Ireland is about economics and human rights rather than religion.

Obviously, Mr. Sherman does not know that Amnesty International and the Helsinki Human Rights Commission have condemned the British use of its occupation forces in the north of Ireland.

Obviously, Mr. Sherman does not know that our own government has expressed grave concern over the violation of human rights in the north of Ireland and has expressed dismay that the British occupiers are using tactics the Allies condemned the Nazis for in World War II.

Closer to home, Mr. Sherman forgets how many Irish fought and died for Texas freedom at the Alamo and during the Texas revolution. Ironically, Sam Houston, founding president of the Republic of Texas, was of Irish descent, his family originally from County Tyrone in the north of Ireland.

Would Mr. Sherman say they were "too hung over" to achieve what they did? Would he accept the designation of "rebel" or "terrorist" for Sam Houston, Davy Crockett (also of Irish descent) or the heroes of the Alamo (12 positively identified as Irish, many more potentially Irish)? What about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and others, all of whom took up arms to fight for their rights as free men? Are the Irish deserved of any less?

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