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Everybody's Column

>Both sides share blame for Middle East fighting

Any cease-fire between the Israelis and Palestinians is to be welcomed with relief. On this everyone can agree with The News editorial, "Israel again offers peace." But for anyone seeking peace, this editorial is misleading in two ways. It takes sides by pointing only to Palestinian misdeeds as an obstacle to peace, and not Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer comes with conditions that Palestinians are unlikely to be able to agree to. So it is misleading to suggest that the Israeli offer is made in good faith. Nonetheless, any offer is better than none.

It is also misleading to suggest that Israel's leaders have good intentions while Palestinian politicians "prefer conflict." This insistence on Israeli good intentions is detached from the reality, although no more so than describing Israeli, Palestinian or other Middle Eastern leaders as entirely evil. Honest optimism about peace would acknowledge the petty political aims and crimes on all sides.

The United States has too much at stake in the Middle East for us to base our judgment on misleading accounts.

Aaron Lercher
Buffalo

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>Column on Thanksgiving was refreshingly candid

Having read much about Native American spirituality and culture, I was deeply moved by Ross Runfola's My View on Thanksgiving. It's about time someone had the courage to express the truth about the Thanksgiving holiday and our nation's role in the genocide of one of the most noble and spiritual cultures that ever graced the earth. The News should be commended as well for printing it.

It is extremely difficult in America today to express a point of view that runs counter to "accepted" traditional thinking. There are a great many Americans who fiercely hold on to the false illusion that our nation is without flaw.

When things do go wrong, we blame someone else or the individual. We treat symptoms rather than examine our society and culture as a whole and actually treat the disease. The first step in curing a disease is realizing you have it. In that sense, Runfola's piece provides a sobering diagnosis and a potential tonic.

John Tilert
Hamburg

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>Return of wallet was a pleasant surprise

My faith in human nature is restored. On the evening of Nov. 29, I shopped at Target on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. The next morning, I realized my wallet was missing. I had it when I checked out, so I must have dropped it in the parking lot. I called Target hoping it had been turned in. But since it is the holiday shopping season, I didn't really believe anyone would turn it in, because I had just stopped at the ATM. Fortunately, it had been turned in with everything intact -- money, credit cards, etc. This will be the Christmas gift I cherish most. There are angels among us.

Sue Meiler
West Seneca

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>It's wonderful to read good news about teens

In this world of negativity, where teenagers sometimes are seen in a bad light, it was refreshing to read the article in the Dec. 5 News, "Frontier teams also class act" -- about scholarship, sportsmanship, championships and cheerleading champions. Congratulations to the students, the adults and the community that supports their efforts!

Ilona Klein
Blasdell

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>Albright-Knox decision to auction art is unwise

I keep hearing that the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has to sell its antiquities in order to be able to keep up with the escalating cost of art. The sale of these pieces will increase the endowment, and give the gallery more money, but not necessarily more wisdom.

The gallery possesses more than 6,500 works of art. Within these are contemporary art pieces that have been acquired in the last 60 years, yet many of these pieces have never been shown. In other words, these works haven't been worth seeing and the money spent on them has been wasted.

That can't be said about the antiquities collection, since it's been valued at $15 million and will be worth even more in the future. The director thinks that Buffalo won't miss a $15 million collection. Are we supposed to think that this is a wise choice?

The gallery has plenty of money -- if it's spent wisely -- to collect the art it wants. Every director before Louis Grachos had been able to live within his means. This argument is mostly framed as an either/or choice, but it's not. We can have new art and live with the old, but can we live with Grachos?

Ben Perrone

Buffalo

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>Deaccessioning will strengthen art gallery

The deaccessioning by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery of about 200 pieces of its almost 7,000 works of art is a necessity for the gallery to maintain its prominence in collecting modern and contemporary art.

Even though the financial support of the gallery's 36 board members during the last decade has increased by great multiples, our community is struggling to find the resources to support the gallery's activities, programs and art acquisitions. This is true not only for the Albright-Knox, but for most other cultural institutions in Western New York.

Deaccessioning -- or removing and selling artworks from the collection -- is a regular and accepted practice at major museums across the nation, and we are strictly following the guidelines set by the Association of Art Museum Directors.

The proceeds received from the deaccessioning will be placed in the gallery's permanent endowment. The principal will earn interest and only the interest on these proceeds may be used for such acquisitions.

Therefore, not only will the deaccessioning plan permit the gallery to continue to compete in the marketplace for the future Jackson Pollocks, it will also ensure that future board members and administrations have adequate funding to do so.

Gerald S. Lippes
Chairman, Finance Committee
Albright-Knox Art Gallery

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>Citizens must protest plan to close hospitals

I live in South Buffalo, between Mercy Hospital and the former Our Lady of Victory Hospital, which was closed several years ago and made into a living facility. That leaves Mercy Hospital as the closest medical facility for this area. Now there is talk of closing Millard Fillmore and St. Joseph hospitals. What are people going to do when they need medical help?

Our political leaders are absolutely of no help. They promise us the world, but don't deliver. We must do what is necessary. We must have the courage to protest and let our feelings be known. Our political leaders are nothing but talk. Let's not be like them.

Tom Fox
Buffalo

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