Letters to the Editor: Feb. 2009

To the Editor,

I want to compliment you on an excellent Dec.-Jan. issue of the Vienna Review. Articles well reseached. Translations of quotes from German, well done (I know how hard that is!). The authors have insight on the Austrian scene; tough nuts to crack!

Also very interesting info on [Friedrich] Torberg in your article in the new section, The Vienna Review of Books. Didn’t know about his U.S. activities.  Bad news!


Prof. Harry Kuhner



To the Editor,

Watching the inauguration of Barack Obama, all I can feel is pride. I am not sure just what I have a right to be so proud of, but I am bursting with it.

I am proud of my country.  No place else in the world could a man with so many strikes against him, rise to where Obama is today.  For that matter, at no other time in our history could he have done it here.

I am proud of him for facing so much adversity and rising above it the way he has.  I am proud of his strength and his gentleness.  I am proud of his beautiful family.

I am proud and amazed the way he has taken hold of the reins so quickly.  The way he has instilled such excitement and optimism at this time of dire economic circumstances.  The way he has already made his non partisan politics felt.  How, without humiliating himself, he has demonstrated respect for the congress as a whole and the opposition in particular by making a point of walking into the capital, without fanfare, and visiting, informally, with members and leaders alike.  It has been a long time since the congress has felt it had the respect of the president that he has already showed them.

And I am proud beyond measure of the way our country has been able to swing so radically from right to left without violence.

I really cannot well rationalize all my feeling. I guess that’s the difference between feelings and thoughts.  Feelings don’t have to be rationalized.

In the shower the next morning it came to me why I feel so proud: for years I have been ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated by how my white brothers and sisters (brothers more than sisters) have treated our black brothers and sisters.

I am old enough to remember Jackie Robinson. I remember the “Whites only” water fountains, I remember the cross burning in our front yard in Montgomery Alabama because my father had had the temerity to speak out in defense of black share croppers, I remember my Yankee mother being slapped by my father’s mother for being kind to her black maid. I remember my red neck uncle and his red neck sons, his sister’s (my aunt’s) embarrassed apologies for his (their) behavior.

And on and on.  The struggle isn’t over yet, but we have made one heck of a leap forward.  And I am proud.

William Frye

Albany, New York

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