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Liberty Weekend

July 13, 1986

"Celebration of Liberty"? I can only assume that the photographer who aimed the camera and The Times editor who chose the pictures to accompany the July 5 article on the Statue of Liberty "Armada" were ignorant of the terrible irony produced by the juxtaposition of the Chilean Tall Ship Esmerelda with the American symbol of freedom and justice for all. What else could account for the 8 x 13 photograph at the top of Page 9?

According to Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, the Esmerelda was used to torture victims in the course of the violent overthrow of the duly elected democratic government of Salvador Allende. It was highly inappropriate for such a ship to participate in ceremonies that celebrate the overthrow of tyranny. It was especially inappropriate since the current government of Chile continues to practice torture and to deny its people the democracy they desire.

As a professor of Greek and Latin literature, I devote much time to analyzing symbols of freedom and tyranny in what are considered to be the classics of Western democratic culture. My students, I hope, learn to appreciate not only the aesthetic quality of these works but also the continuing importance of the issues at their core: justice, democracy, and principled action. I am, therefore, sickened at the thought that one of our own monuments, symbol of the USA's supposed devotion to these very ideals, has been contaminated by a symbol of slavery, dictatorship, and torture.

KATHERINE C. KING

Venice

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