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!
To the Editor:
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
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.
Peace a Full Page
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
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
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.
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