Arlene Distler

Will someone organize a huge march to protest this slaughter that is happening in front of our eyes?

In 2002, my partner, Marty, and I took a bus to Washington, D.C. to protest the looming war in Iraq. There was a huge turnout. But on the bus heading home we were all aches. A wake-up call - we are no longer young and able to do what needs doing.

"The young have to step up!" we felt like shouting. Maybe we did! At the time and for many years after, there seemed scant chance of that happening.

But now they - you, if you're young or youngish - have stepped up! The politicians wring their hands but seem incapable of actually doing anything, or taking the youth demographic seriously. Even, as it appears, if it means less chance of gaining enough votes to win the presidency.

I recently saw a wonderful film, Rustin, about the 1963 March on Washington organized by Bayard Rustin. I couldn't help thinking, If only someone would organize a march on Washington to protest our government's role in the catastrophe that is the Israel-Gaza war....

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Hold onto a loyal friend, but lose our soul?

I'm writing to express my frustration with President Biden and, in particular, his Israel policy, which seems to be "Israel, no matter what." While I agree that Hamas needs to be ousted as ruler of Gaza, that is something that can only be accomplished politically. It's been many years...

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Our Town is hurting

Our Town is hurting Our Town, full of playful spirit, friendly faces good hearts, is hurting. Young people taken from us suddenly, seeming without reason, a woman who chose to help the less fortunate taken from us brutally. The very trees seem to have lost their ability, their desire...

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These are the days we are going back to?

The Supreme Court decision that struck down Roe v. Wade has rightfully been a call to arms for women. It is outrageous that five all-too-human beings should be able to decide for all women what they can or can't do with their womanhood. To have to decide to abort a pregnancy is one of the most difficult and painful decisions a woman could make. Society is right, as most have judged, to have compassion for those having to make such...

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An immodest proposal for peace

As a longtime admirer of Russian culture and as someone whose ancestors came to this country from Ukraine, I have found myself putting in a lot of time watching, reading, and thinking about the war now raging there. Russian President Vladimir Putin may have deeply held beliefs that Ukraine should be his, but his supposed rationale to the world, and perhaps an underlying goad to his actions, has been his beef about NATO. Thomas Friedman had a column in The...

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We need Balint’s skill in managing disagreement without alienation

When I first heard of Becca Balint, it was because we were on opposite sides of an issue. The issue was whether or not to build affordable individual homes on land that led down a wooded hillside to cemeteries off of South Main Street. Byron Stookey, longtime head of Brattleboro Area Affordable Housing, was leading the charge for a small development. I supported this project, but it was the most conflicted decision I've ever had to make. I had spent...

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Show of a lifetime

On Saturday, May 29, a new show - a particularly important one - goes up at Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts. “Jackie Abrams: 45 Years of Making” brings together basketry from the Brattleboro artist's many series over her lifetime, from the traditional basketry of her early years to works in her “Precarious Shelters” series - more symbols of those shapes that hold our lives, as baskets hold our objects. Over the past 45 years, Abrams has collaborated with glass artist Josh Bernbaum...

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A sense of foreboding

What a perfect time for Toni Ortner's book, Daybook III: Morning Is Long Since Gone, to come out! This third “daybook” is comprised of a series of imaginings and musings - maybe dreams, maybe reveries, maybe memories - interspersed with 14 illustrations by Ortner's collaborator, Linda Rubinstein. A very short chapter might be prompted by world news of the past, present, future. Sometimes there is an exploration of personal insights based on these dreams or imaginings. These short “set pieces”

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