Letters: ‘Chiraq’ opposition small minded, petty

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Filmmaker Spike Lee spoke at a news conference in May in Chicago. Flanked by parents holding photographs of the children they’ve lost to gun violence in Chicago, Lee defended his choice to make a movie about the city with the Iraq-inspired title “Chiraq.” Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media.

The refusal by Alderman David Moore (17th) to issue a permit for an annual St. Sabina block party, “if Spike Lee had anything to do with it” is petty, bureaucratic, self-serving and wrong. I agree with Father Pfleger: Permits be damned! The block party will go on as it always has.

Idon’t know the mothers Moore spoke to but Purpose Over Pain mothers support the title. Purpose Over Pain is a group of parents who’ve lost children to gun violence.

As a mother who has lost a son to the gun violence in the Chicagoland area, I initially had reservations about the title of Spike Lee’s movie, Chiraq. I was concerned that the title would reflect negatively on my son and all the victims of the murderous onslaught in Chicago and its suburbs (my son, Thomas Lee, was murdered in Harvey, Ill. in August 2008).

But can anyone reasonably deny that Chicago is a war zone? Since 1989, nearly 17,000 people have been murdered in the city limits alone. And if someone wants to come here (even if they are from New York) and make a movie that brings national and international attention to the slaughter known as CHICAGO, well then no matter what the title, that can only be a good thing.

Alderman Moore denies permits to an annual church block party. Alderman Burns wants to deny tax credits because the title of the movie casts negative images of Chicago, which he thinks will result in a loss of tourism and other revenues. Really! By opposing Chiraq, these politicians only reveal their small-minded, do nothing concern for the “image” of their little turfs. What they should be concerned with isthe unsolved murders and halting the violence. Meanwhile, the reality of the Chicago Holocaust goes on about them. How’s that for a title: Cholocaust?

Marsha Lee

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com (Please include the name of your neighborhood or suburb, and a phone number for verification.)

The blindfolds of impartiality

Many of us prefer an alternate universe to the real one of hard knocks and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It is so much more copacetic to believe that our public school teachers care more about their juvenile charges than union demands, parents their kids than convenience, politicians their campaign promises than re-election. Would that it were so and, sometimes, it is. But, boys and girls, not all judges don the blindfold of impartiality and some, very few as it turns out, pervert the very justice embodied by the judicial robe they wear.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin has gone the extra mile to assure that both sides in the case involving former Speaker Denny Hastert are comfortable with his presence on the bench. Good for him and good for us.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio

A highway sign that really saves lives

In Illinois we have electric signs on many of our expressways and tollways that keep track of the numberof highway fatalities in the current year. I think fatalities might be reduced if those signs told us howmany of those killed were NOT WEARING SEATBELTS.

While recently traveling through Missouri I noticed a highway sign that said “73 percent of teens killed in trafficaccidents were not wearing seatbelts.”

This type of information would save lives.

Jim Hogan, Palos Hills


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