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Free to Shop

To the Editor:

Exactly what is all the fuss about this Crossgates Mall “disruptive behavior” thing that I’ve been reading about of late [Newsfront, March 13]?

I live in Manhattan and I only wish that I could find a well-paying job and a rent-controlled apartment up north so that I could move to Albany and shop at Crossgates.

What some of you antiwar, left-leaning pinkos are demonstrating about, like the right to wear what you want, and refusing to give up some of your rights so that you can feel more secure while shopping in peace, seems pretty petty, and not that bad a trade-off for the privilege of patronizing Crossgates, which, to me, seems like a private-property nirvana.

My neighborhood (Can you say “Hell’s Kitchen,” or worse, “Clinton,” kids?) has no mega shopping mall, WalMart, Price Chopper supercenter, Home Depot, Target or you-can-get-anything-you-want-under-one-roof-type establishment to service my every need.

No, I have to trek from shop to the next to procure my stuff. And that can be a daunting task.

First of all, there’s my newsstand guy. He’s from Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or one of those other Stans, and I don’t even think he can read English, yet he’s selling me my paper. My grocery store has only one white person working there, and he’s the manager. All the rest of them are of one minority or another, and are always speaking some foreign tongue, Spanish mainly (they’re probably making fun of me while I’m helping to pay their wages). The guy who cuts my hair is Italian. My local pub is filled with what I suspect are IRA terrorists. The produce market is run by Koreans. And I buy my baked goods not at a bakery. No, that would be too simple and American. Here it’s called a patisserie. That’s French by the way, and you know what a pain in the derriere the French can be.

Yes, I already know what you’re thinking, no freedom fries and freedom toast served here. Not like I’ll bet they have at Crossgates. I’ve been to Crossgates and it’s something to behold, almost akin to viewing the ancient pyramids. You upstaters take so much for granted. What a pleasure it is to shop in a year-round, climate-controlled environment, surrounded by people that look like me. A truly all-American, patriotic feeling wells up inside of me when I’m at Crossgates. No riff-raff, panhandlers and homeless types who’d rather beg for money then clean themselves up and get a job. Sure, a few kids have that punky, hiphop (I hate that hiphop stuff) look, but time will pass, and very soon they’ll adopt more conservative state-worker attire.

Let me tell you something. With the honorable President Bush No. 2 and his illustrious team of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Ashcroft, Ridge, et al., leading us on this glorious crusade, I’m sure they’d be so proud of the patriotic way the Crossgates poobahs have conducted themselves. After all, isn’t the reason a quarter of a million troops are massed on the Iraqi border (Iran, North Korea, you’re next) is to preserve, protect and defend the right of Crossgates to exist?

May God bless them all. And keep your powder—hopefully bought at Crossgates—dry.

Dennis Dzamba
New York City

Then, More Killing

To the Editor:

While Shawn Stone’s article on the survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda adequately described that tragedy [“Out of Africa’s Killing Fields,” Feb. 27], it did not tell the rest of the story. After the Rwandan Patriotic Front gained control of that country, it invaded another country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1998. More than 3 million people have died since then, most of whom are innocent Congolese who had never seen a Hutu or Tutsi before the Rwandan army arrived to carry out the same kind of atrocities that had occurred in their own country.

It is curious that what happened in 1994 in Rwanda has gotten so much press in this country, but what has happened since 1998 in the Congo has gotten so little, even though at least three times as many people have been killed in the Congo, and the dying continues, now mostly from starvation. Perhaps it has something to do with the corporate backing of this invasion, well-documented by the U.N., which has reaped extraordinary profits in diamonds, coltan, gold, etc., for several American and European companies.

I do not begrudge the suffering experienced by Ms. Mukeshimana, but I feel I must speak for so many Congolese who have died as the result of the plundering of their country, including at least nine people in my wife’s family, and I invite you to write a story on that sometime.

Jeff Keller
Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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