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POV: Friends and Acquaintances and Borders Defined

Point Of View: Friends and Acquaintances and Borders Defined

By Barbara Sumner Burstyn

After taking time out to finish her first novel, Bathing Naked, Barbara Sumner Burstyn couldn’t resist returning to print to reply to this letter from an LA based American acquaintance.


A quote to consider: “Naturally the common people don’t want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich-Marshall at the Nuremberg Trials after WWII.


Email To Barb: – Hi Barbara, With regard to the Goring [sic] quote you emailed me (see above) while I'm with you in spirit, I'm for blowing Sadam off the face of the earth. I hate the motherfucker. All you had to see were those babies gassed in the streets. Enjoy sitting on the fence or reliving the Age of Aquarius, whatever. But you too will have to pick a side sooner or later. Me, I'm with the Jews, the Americans, and the Brits. The Brits! Me with the Brits? Yikes! TW.


Barb Responds: Dear TW, I think it's the vast amounts of fluoride you guys consume; in your water, in your processed food, even in your 'fresh' vegetables - it's numbed your brains, saturating the collective cognitive abilities of otherwise intelligent Americans in a Prozac-like haze - where your free-will is no more, where you believe in the religion of gross generalizations, where questioning is considered unpatriotic (and god forbid criticizing) where you can say you 'hate' someone - an entire race without looking at yourself, at your own countries crimes against humanity, where being a 'stupid white man' is applauded.

And where the twisting of language is never questioned. This is the key issue really – the use of manipulated language to manipulate. It started small with things like Starbucks calling a small coffee a 'grande' and it taken you all the way to a weapon of mass destruction called a Patriot - which sounds all very patriotic until you look at as Bertrand Russel did when he said ‘patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.’ - and on to such things as an almost impermeable border control labeled 'Operation Liberty Shield.'

‘Liberty’ - I’m sure the word resonates with you as it does with most Americans. It’s a big part of the American psyche but indulge me for a moment and try thinking of liberty as Benjamin Franklin did when he said: ‘They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’

Just look into the eyes of your leader, the eyes of the worlds biggest word twister - ever notice how dead they are. And remind me – just how did that plane over Pennsylvania fall out of the sky? And why didn't they tell you the truth about that and I'm picking the chemical weapons that are sure to come - will be released sooner than later – while all the world is watching (live from the glitzy showbiz set in Qatar created by Hollywood set designer George Allison) and the front guard are all suited up (hey no causalities) but where, in fact, will the chemical weapons be coming from - perhaps from the same people who lit ALL the oil well fires last time round i.e. not the owners of those wells. 'Oh the lies, the lies,' as Mr Smith in Lost in Space used to say.

And T, you think you're with the Jews - think again - this war will inflame that ancient conflict beyond anything we've ever seen. You think the Jews are so cozy with the 'non-Semite' – just turn your back for a while and they’ll have that finely media-tuned hatred of yours focused our way - betcha!

What kind of intellectual fox hole are you hiding in T? Do you really believe (in your heart) that being for this war is being for the human rights of the people of Iraq?, that your country is at war with Iraq because of gassed babies or any of Sadam’s other atrocities against his own people?

The truth is T being for this war is actually being for environment destroying SUV's, being for this war is being for the environmental atrocities now being committed in your name in the Gulf, it’s being for controlling the food chain with internal subsidies and external tariffs, it’s for giving aid with one hand while tying the receivers in self perpetuating helpless knots with the other (mind you the UN isn’t without fault here). But mostly being for this war is being for PAX Americana or as the Project for the New American Century’ said in September 2000: being for this war is believing the state of the world demands “American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations,”

But perhaps there is good in all this - perhaps - just for a season or two your young people, students, those not already totally consumed by consumerism may start talking about more than their Nike's and cell phones. Ours certainly are. It's a small hope.

So you see T I’m not sitting on the fence and I’m most certainly not with you in spirit. But it does seem strange that in your rejection of Goering’s quote you consider yourself to be with me in spirit while clearly sitting on the opposite side of my fence – or am I twisting the language too much for you?

Oh and those little kids gassed in the streets that has so upset you – sadly you'll be seeing a lot more them - courtesy of your support - not to mention the birth defects for decades to come – but then maybe you could sponsor one through World Vision – that should ease your pain.

By the way Hitler wasn't planning to fluoridate the worlds water to make stronger teeth. But you won't find information on that subject pre-packaged for your viewing pleasure on CNN - you might have to investigate that for yourself.

Best, Barb


Copyright (c) Barbara Sumner Burstyn 2003.

Send comments to Barbara Sumner Burstyn at: or

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