May 2, 2004
Dear Mayor Cieslewicz:
You ask rhetorically, “At the end of the day, who cares whether Madison has a sister-city relationship with Rafah?” Well, the people and municipality of Rafah care, and some people in Madison do too.
I sympathize with your desire to focus on the problems at home, such as Allied Drive, but people’s interests and needs are as varied as themselves. And besides,
a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
By putting parochial blinders on and saying Palestine is not Madison’s business, you play into the the hands of censors like Steve Morrison, who would have prevented Ali Abunimah from speaking at MATC if they had let him. See “Wisconsin Bookstore’s Fight for Free Speech”, http://news.bookweb.org/freeexpression/1981.html.
I don’t want to take any more of your time, but if you’d like to discuss this issue further, or give more weight to phone calls or letters than e-mails, I’d be happy to follow up.