LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reagan, not Obama, deserves Spielberg award

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I recently read that “Schindler’s List” director Steven Spielberg plans to honor President Obama for the president’s work in human rights. This will take place at a planned May 7 event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mr. Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, an organization Mr. Spielberg founded to chronicle video and audiotapes of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocidal events of the 20th century.

“President Obama’s commitment to democracy and human rights has long been felt,” Mr. Spielberg said recently in advance of his planned May honoring of the president. Are we talking about the same Barack Obama who fiercely campaigned in 2008 that if he were calling the shots, the United States “wouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the first place”?

How can these liberals honor Mr. Obama for championing human rights when he openly states that even in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world, he would have allowed a mass-murdering, torture-chamber-operating tyrant to continue with business as usual?

Moreover, in the spring of 2009, even when he was already president and could have made an impact, Mr. Obama did nothing to support the Iranian people who were protesting against their oppressive government. The protesters were ultimately violently dispersed.

I have a suggestion for Mr. Spielberg. Instead of honoring a “leader” who is a complete fraud on the issue for which he is being honored, bestow the honor in memoriam on a real president who did make a global difference in human rights: Ronald Reagan.

In the 1980s, when most of Hollywood had joined the “nuclear freeze or fry” chorus, the Reagan administration accomplished the unthinkable in less than a decade. It facilitated the tearing down of the Iron Curtain and rang the chimes of freedom in formerly oppressed Eastern Europe and Asia.

As I see it, if Mr. Spielberg's Shoah Foundation wants to be intellectually honest on the issue of human rights, it should do a video tribute of Reagan’s finest hour. This came when, in the late spring of 1988, Reagan and wife Nancy triumphantly walked hand-in-hand through the Kremlin courtyard amid the adulation of the Russian people. This was truly a moment in history that just a few years earlier no one could have foreseen.

It’s about time Reagan got his just accolades from the Hollywood community.

EUGENE DUNN

Medford, N.Y.

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