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Father Knows Best?

To the Editor:

As someone who has been through the Columbia County Family Court hellhole from about 1989 to 1997, I can empathize with George Ihlenburg [“Courting Disaster,” March 20].

It took a long time for me, too, to actualize the unimaginable while in a protracted state of fight or flight. To stand absolutely alone against one of the most father-hating, child-defiling states in the Union: New York!

Once Mr. Ihlenburg has stopped “fighting,” which at the point of exhaustion, he will, the reality of his situation will appear. He will come to understand that the years he has spent away from his children were not wasted by the state. In Plato’s Republic, it is the time for “cleaning the canvas.” A time for replacing the child’s fond memory with fear and mistrust for an otherwise object of affection and safety.

At one point in my fight, after my money was all squandered on do-nothing lawyers, I actually took out an ad in Metroland for a pro bono attorney. The very idea was laughable, explained my last do-nothing lawyer, who said he saw a copy of my ad on the wall at the Rensselaer County Bar Association.

My child today is a 16-year-old girl, whom I have not seen since May 30, 1993. She has been raised to fear and hate me and the rest of her family, by the state of New York.

If I could offer a word of encouragement to Mr. Ihlenburg, it would be this: It isn’t you, it’s tyranny!

Michael A. Brennan

To the Editor:

My name is Christine Ihlenburg and I am 31 years old. I am George Ihlenburg’s oldest daughter. Given the recent publicity he has created regarding my family, I feel compelled to speak publicly.

Throughout my life I’ve watched my father paint a picture that suits his needs, but that does not reflect the reality of who he is and what he’s done.

This is not the first time that he has presented a new, improved, and reformed self, nor is it the first time he’s played himself as the victim of a system. The reality is this is a man who has done real harm from which my siblings and I are working very hard to recover.

I choose not to have a relationship with my father; I only wish my younger sisters and brother had the same choice.

This is not the first time I have been placed in this position; I only hope it will be the last.

The decision to write this letter did not come lightly. I value my privacy, but I’m afraid that so long as my father’s side of the story is the only one being told, my younger siblings’ well-being is at risk.

I urge people to think, and not to judge so hastily. My siblings and I are the victims here, not my father.

Christine J. Ihlenburg

Give Peace a Full Page

To the Editor:

I am deeply disappointed by Metroland’s scant coverage of the antiwar demonstrations that took place in Albany on March 20. I am also disappointed that you would limit the coverage to a small captioned photograph on page 11 [Newsfront, March 27]. Having been present at three actions that day (at the Capitol, the interim march, and at the Federal Building), I am sure that the total number of participants exceeded the 400 alluded to by Metroland. It is common practice for the mainstream media to marginalize the peace movement by underestimating crowd sizes or by burying stories about it. I expect better from “The Capital Region’s Alternative Newsweekly.”

The march that went up Madison Avenue from the Capitol, across Lark Street, then down Clinton Avenue, passed right by Metroland’s office near the corner of Lark and Central. It was large, loud, well-organized, and passionate. Unfortunately, no one at 4 Central Ave. was paying much attention that afternoon. Thursday may be the day your newsweekly hits the streets, and therefore not a regular work day, but it was also the day a lot of local citizens hit the streets to protest the war. I think it was worth at least a full-page article—with or without photographs.

There’s a widespread movement in the nation for real democracy and economic justice. The Iraq war is only one horrible symptom of what’s wrong with America. This movement is active and strong throughout the Capital Region. I wish you would put more effort into covering events like this in your own community. There’s a war going on, folks, and your neighbors are speaking out!

Daniel Kelly

Editor’s Reply:

While we appreciate feedback on our coverage of the war, we are stunned to find ourselves accused of marginalizing the peace movement. Metroland has been publishing cautionary stories about the looming war with Iraq since last summer, including exclusive interviews with former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, reports on blueprints for the war that predated 9/11, and stories on the oil and other benefits that would flow to the Bush administration’s friends. And we have followed the local and national peace movements since the war in Afghanistan, publishing several recent stories on marches in Albany, New York City and Washington, as well as a cover story critiquing the mainstream media’s tendency to downplay the strength of the movement. Finally, we recently initiated a new section called The War Report to accommodate additional weekly coverage of the war and its consequences. With so many stories and photos of war and protest in our pages each week, we try to vary the coverage so that readers do not feel that they are seeing the same thing issue after issue. Any given protest may receive more or less coverage than any other for this reason. And until the war ends, we assume that dissent will continue—and that we will continue to cover it.

In the absence of “official” estimates, our reporter rough-guessed that there were 400 protesters in the crowd—more than the Times Union’s estimate. As for the folks at 4 Central Ave., it’s true that March 20 was not a regular workday—because many of us were at the protest.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: 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

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