Letters to the Editor 

Mad about Marcel

Let me begin by pointing out how your paper is actually read by Arab-Americans — especially since the number of Arab-Americans in the metro Detroit area is more than 300,000.

That said, I would like to point out this preview about Marcel Khalifé that appeared in your paper (Night and Day, Metro Times, April 4):

You don't need a genie or a magic lamp to enjoy Arabian nights in Detroit. All you need is an open ear and imagination. Sponsored by the Arab American National Museum, the Max M. Fisher Music Center welcomes Kristjan Järvi's Absolute Ensemble with Marcel Khalifé. The ensemble's Arabian Nights production is a musical excursion that marries classical music, jazz and traditional Middle-Eastern sounds for an exotic soundscape. Plus ... you won't have to worry about getting sand in your crack. Everyone wins.

What I find offensive about this review is that, not only did the writer fail to mention any substantial information on Marcel Khalifé, but she also continued with her "Aladdin" theme to say that "you won't have to worry about getting sand in your crack."

Some basic research would help you write about him better. I saw Marcel Khalifé perform at the Orchestra Hall and — let me tell you — I did not feel any "sand in my crack." Instead, the voice and music of this great Arab composer and musician spoke directly to my soul as it does to many other people here in the United States and abroad.

I am just tired of these low-class, stereotypical comments. Next time an Arab performer is here in the metro Detroit area, please put away the "Aladdin" theme and write something a little more meaningful and with respect to the Arab-American community.

By the way, Marcel comes from Lebanon and Lebanon has mostly mountainous terrain with the exception of the narrow coastline and the Beqaa Valley, so Marcel did not bring any sand with him. —Lana Rahme, Ferndale

 

Right on Shine

Once again, I think to myself, Jack Lessenberry can be my spokesman. His column on Neal Shine ("Remembering newspapers," Metro Times, April 11), with whom I worked in the '70s and early '80s, characterized the man with respect and insight.

I started at the Free Press when Knight Newspapers was still run by real newspaper people, and got to experience the last of one of the great newsrooms in the country — thanks in huge part to Neal Shine.

It's been a while since I paid much attention to Detroit's dailies except for what's reported about them. The state of newspapers is very sad on local and global levels. — Diane Taylor, Royal Oak

 

Library blues

I know that there is big news going on in the world and in Detroit, but please indulge me for a moment and turn your attention to a semi-rural community in the southwest corner of Oakland County. Lyon Township is a sprawling, semi-rural bedroom community with a population of roughly 13,000 residents. Lyon Township deserves your attention because of one unfortunate fact: Due to shrinking revenues coming into the township coffers, the residents have been told they have to pass a small millage to support the Lyon Township Public Library or the library will close in December 2007. This is the second time the library has approached the public for salvation in the last year. The first time, last November, the millage was shot down due to a successful campaign by a very vocal group that wants to use the library closure as political leverage to take over township board seats in the next election. To them, closing the library is just collateral damage.

The library has a devoted following that is working feverishly to get the word out about what is at stake on May 8, but there is a benign lack of interest by the rest of the township residents. I sit in absolute disbelief that the public library has become so devalued in our community that not enough voters seem to care enough about its existence to bother to come to the polls. We have heard it all, from "we don't need the library now that we have the Internet" to "I never use it so why should I pay for it" to "We have a library?" There is also a pervasive belief that we can just sponge off the libraries of other communities, which is not the case. Many Michigan public libraries are restricting use to their own residents and that certainly would be the case in this area. There is no free ride!

No matter how hard we campaign, we just can't seem to reach the hearts of the voters. How do we generate the interest of our community? Where is the sense of urgency about losing the only cultural entity in our township? How do we motivate the average resident to make the effort to vote? Most importantly: Where is the outrage that our library could close? —Pam Quackenbush, New Hudson

 

Cross over bridge

Thank you for your article "Uncovered Bridge" (Metro Times, March 7). Before I read your article, I honestly had no idea who owned the Ambassador Bridge. As you indicate, it is owned by Matty Moroun. And it was built in 1929. I heartily agree with you that the bridge shouldn't stay without protection. For reasons that are beyond my power to understand, the government almost never shows any concern over Matty's dealings or about the security of the bridge.

Moroun should let the government inspect the bridge. I believe that the Canadian or American government should regulate the bridge, order inspection and set tolls. In the end, I agree with Jack that Moroun should be kept on a very short leash. —Sara Alkhader, Dearborn

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to letters@metrotimes.com. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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