- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

In defense of Joyce

Stefan Sullivan picks up on some critical remarks by Irish author Roddy Doyle about James Joyce (“Literary wake for Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’?” Show, Friday). The British press, which is usually anti-Irish in much of its coverage of Ireland, was glad to print Mr. Doyle’s remarks and stir up a literary firestorm critical of Joyce. Mr. Doyle in subsequent remarks said that his talk on Joyce at a New York seminar was mostly favorable, recognizing Joyce as one of the world’s great writers. The press picked up his few critical remarks and blew them out of proportion, he said.

My own response to Mr. Sullivan is the following:

• American literary scholars in 1998 voted “Ulysses” the No. 1 novel of the 20th century.

• Time magazine in 1998 declared Joyce the most influential writer of the 20th century.

• More books have been written about Joyce than about any other writer. (He recently surpassed William Shakespeare in this category.)

• Bloomsday, the public reading of Joyce’s “Ulysses,” takes place in 40 countries every June 16. Joyce is the only writer whose major work is treated on this scale.

Mr. Sullivan would like to have a “wake” for Joyce and “Ulysses.” That is his opinion, and he is welcome to it. However, to quote another writer, Mark Twain, in defense of Joyce, I say, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”



Capital James Joyce Club


‘Feet of clay’ on Herzog?

Kenneth Tomlinson’s column titled “Breaking up the radio team” (Commentary, Friday) touches on one of the more disappointing events to have occurred in our local sports community during recent times. With all the celebratory hoopla attending the return of coach Joe Gibbs, this is the one shadow that has decidedly cast a pall over the coming season. Indeed, I believe that one has to return to the loss of the Washington Senators to find a similar tragic event.

However, in his otherwise insightful analysis of the matter, Mr. Tomlinson fails to touch on the saddest and most unfortunate aspect in my view. And that is the very surprising failure of Frank Herzog’s former broadcasting colleagues, our beloved Hall of Fame members Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff, to stand tall by Mr. Herzog’s side. Why have they failed to draw a line in the sand and say to WJFK and its conglomerate owners that when it comes to “Sam, Sonny and Frank,” it is “all for one and one for all”? Whatever happened to loyalty, fidelity and courage on behalf of one’s comrade? Has that too fallen prey to the almighty dollar? Sam and Sonny only have feet of clay? Please — say it ain’t so.

I have never enjoyed the Redskins’ coverage on WJFK as much as I did on WMAL for lots of reasons, and I still regret that that change ever took place. And as a result of this latest disappointment, I hope that other Skins fans will join me in now abandoning WJFK this season and simply settle for television coverage. At least we won’t have to juggle the radio anymore in trying to pull in that elusive WJFK signal.

Simply put, losing Frank Herzog’s great voice during the Redskins’ promising rebirth this season will be hard to endure, but losing Sonny and Sam as my all-around stalwart heroes will be just as tough.

Mr. Tomlinson resignedly states that “nobody can figure what we can do to right this wrong.” I can, but it would require that both Sam and Sonny prove that they are worthy of being my heroes once again.



Make the right choices on Russia

We were quite taken aback by your editorial “The Russian bear and its former territories” (March 5), which seems to apologize for some Russian policies toward its neighbors.

By “former territories,” The Washington Times would relegate the Baltics to a Russian sphere of influence. It bears repeating that the Baltic states were restored independence in 1991. The countries were illegally occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, something that was never recognized by the United States. Russia refuses to this day to recognize the illegality of these Soviet actions.

Fortunately, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be joining NATO by the end of this month and the European Union on May 1. The countries have worked hard to join the West and deserve to be part of the trans-Atlantic alliance, even though the price can be heavy. The first Baltic soldier to sacrifice his life, an Estonian, died in a bomb blast in Baghdad at the end of February. The Baltics are expected to “behave,” according to higher international standards. Should we not have the same expectations of Russia? Or do we look the other way?

It would be counterproductive to suggest that the United States “refrain from vilifying Russia for pursuing its interests.” What happens when Russian interests conflict with the interests of other independent countries in the region? Or U.S. interests?

Sen. John McCain’s straight talk should be commended. In Riga, Latvia, he recently expressed his concerns about democracy slipping in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Many opposition leaders from the latter two countries were witness to that message. Both Belarus and Ukraine have critical elections this year, which could make or break authoritarianism there.

There is a clear choice between Western-style democracy and systems more sinister. Russia, too, faces this choice.



Lithuanian American Council Inc.

and Joint Baltic American National Committee Inc.


Working toward reconciliation in Cyprus

Notwithstanding our objection to incorrect and misleading terms such as “the Turkish invasion” (as opposed to intervention) and “the cumbersome Turkish minority” (as opposed to equal partner), I commend Andrew Borowiec for his objective and incisive article on Cyprus (“Unification talks ‘deadlocked,’” World, Friday). The statement, attributed to diplomats and area specialists, that “the biggest stumbling block in Cyprus is the residual hostility of the two ethnic groups, and the opening of the barricades to allow free travel has not attenuated the difference” is a correct assessment of the present situation.

It is interesting to note that in the current negotiations, the United Nations is proposing to raise the number of its peacekeeping forces in Cyprus fivefold to 7,000 in the event of a settlement, which can only signal an expectation of serious incidents. The Turkish Cypriot side proposes to address this issue by raising the number of the police on each side, resolving the property issue on a global basis and maintaining credible deterrents.

Thus, although the physical barricades in Cyprus may have opened as a result of the initiativeoftheTurkish Cypriot side last April, true reconciliation in the island can only come about with the removal of the mental and psychological barriers.



Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


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