Letters for the week of December 10-16, 2003 

Soulbeat will not be missed. Nick Van Exel is not a superstar. The prisons should not discriminate. Democracy is essential, but not pretty.

Page 2 of 2

Organizations that sanction the use of illegal violence as a means to achieve an end tend to attract criminal elements with little loyalty to the organization's political goals. According to Tully (p. 147), "Most of the young men who escaped [from the Darbar Sahib during Operation Blue Star] were either criminals or those left-wing extremists known as Naxalites." Those who escaped were seen to have betrayed their stated pledge to die fighting against what they viewed as Indian occupying forces. If the Sikh Youth of America (SYA) fails to disavow violence and crime, it too will do so at the expense of compromising its vision for Sikh self-determination.

To its credit, Sikhism's supreme authority, the Amritsar-based Akal Takht, has unequivocally condemned all gurdwara violence irrespective of its objective. The apex body's 1993 letter to the Fairfax Gurdwara in Virginia stated that anyone causing "any bodily harm to any individual directly or indirectly through someone else" would be considered a "sinner" (Sikh Identity: Continuity and Change, edited by Pashaura Singh and N. Gerald Barrier, 2001, New Delhi: Manohar, p. 372).
Puneet Singh Lamba, founder, The Sikh Times, Boston

Moneychangers in the temple
This is a really good article. Nothing but truth. I am a Sikh, too, and used to go to Fremont Gurdwara often and volunteer to teach computers to seniors, but I have stopped going there because of all these crooks. They have turned this sacred place into a business. I would like to publish this story in all the local Punjabi newspapers as well because that is what most Punjabi people read.
M.B., Fremont

"White Punks on Warner Bros., Feature, 11/5/03"

So much negativity
I manage the Hellcat Records label and work with Rancid every day, and I'm not affiliated with Warner Bros. I know the facts. Why didn't anyone contact me? Instead, the article by George Sanchez "took the low-road" and created a story from various outside sources (other publications), which made for poor journalism. This band has the right to be treated well. Maybe that approach isn't that "cool enough" for your writers?

Anybody can write negative -- that's easy. Are times so hard for your paper that you need to resort to taking potshots at musicians who have careers, inspire people, and have dedicated their lives to playing and creating music, just to move magazines?

The facts the paper presented were damning and negative. I disagree that the band's excellence is overshadowed by anything. I would suggest you get out to a Rancid show and see for yourself how exciting this band and their music are to the audience.

Rancid remains consistent in churning out the highest caliber of music, in the studio, on the records they make for themselves, in collaboration with other musicians, and onstage. Rancid and Tim Armstrong (owner of Hellcat) in particular have helped countless musicians and groups to have a life in music, notably, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (who just released their most successful record to date), Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards, the Transplants, US Bombs, F-Minus, Tiger Army, the Slackers, Nekromantix, Dropkick Murphys, HorrorPops, Hepcat, Roughnecks, and the Nerve Agents, to name a few.

With all the negativity and overbearing fear prevalent in the press these days, I would suggest you use your conscience and provide your readers with a better piece of journalism. If you disrespect someone, how can you expect anyone to respect you or your paper?

Brett Gurewitz is still involved with Rancid, and here is a statement from him:

"Rancid recently concluded a deal with Warner Bros. to enter into a joint venture with the band's Hellcat label for the release of Indestructible. Under the terms of the deal, Indestructible will be released on Hellcat with marketing, promotion, and distribution support coming from WB. The deal was entered into jointly by Rancid, Hellcat, Epitaph, and WB and does not affect any other Hellcat artist. 'I am very, very proud of the new record and our group decision to put it out on Hellcat jointly with Warner Bros.' commented Brett Gurewitz of Epitaph. 'I really think it's a great thing for everyone involved: Rancid, Hellcat, and Epitaph.'"
Chris LaSalle, Hellcat Records, Los Angeles

George Sanchez sought comment for his story from Warner Bros., Epitaph, Brett Gurewitz, and the members of Rancid. He relied on people's comments from other publications only when those people declined to speak to him -- which was usually the case.

"Wot's Cookin', Teff Guy?," On Food, 10/29

Spread the word
I am so glad to see that Finfiné is finally getting the publicity it deserves. No one knows about this place, and I have been trying to get people to go ever since it opened. Other than Red Sea off of 51st and Telegraph, there is no better Ethiopian restaurant than Finfiné in the Berkeley/North Oakland area. One will immediately see that this place is frequented by other Ethiopians, a dead giveaway that this place is GOOD and authentic. Don't miss out on some yummy Ethiopian food served by the friendliest people around! Then tell everyone else about it, because unfortunately not enough people know about it.
Wilda Wong, Berkeley

The Express would like to know what you resolve to do differently in 2004. Whether you plan to get in shape (or go to seed), teach yourself a new skill (or forget everything you learned in school), or be a better (worse?) person, we'd like to hear from you. Please send a brief description of your 2004 resolutions to ResolutionGuide@eastbayexpress.com or to Resolution Guide, East Bay Express, 1335 Stanford Ave., suite 100, Emeryville, CA 94608. All submissions must be received by January 7. We'll publish a selection of the best ones.

In our November 26 holiday calendar, we misidentified Bruno Kark, the creator of a ceramic vase.

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