Water bottles at Riverfest
While it is slightly concerning that Riverfest officials are banning reusable water bottles at the site of the event, I partially understand. The threat of alcohol or other liquids being brought into Riverfest is arguably high. Until officials reorganized for a meeting and came to the conclusion that sealed water bottles brought from outside the event were permitted, I was of the opinion that reusable water bottles should be allowed within the perimeter. It made more sense to give everyone a chance to stay hydrated without spending $2 on a water bottle inside the event. However, now that sealed water bottles are allowed inside, officials have made it clear that their primary reason for prohibiting reusable and unsealed water bottles is to avoid the risk of public intoxication within the confines of the event, and not to apply pressure for patrons to spend more money at the event just because they need water.
Jack Thornberry, Wichita
Six-Day War anniversary
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June 5 marks 50 years since the Six-Day War, and five decades of Israeli occupation for the West Bank and Gaza. For the Palestinians, this means a third generation living under military law, with arbitrary arrests and without independent courts. Israeli soldiers can invade your home in the middle of the night. It means passing armed checkpoints on the way to school, work or the hospital and experiencing collective punishments such as curfews, road blocks and house demolitions. Seeing more and more land taken to build settlements for Jewish Israelis, while nonviolent resistance can get you maimed or killed. It means settlers having swimming pools and watered lawns while your village water dwindles, and risking settler violence while harvesting olives.
Although Palestinians have been able to vote in recent years, their politicians have no real power and are subject to the whims of occupation. The Palestinian Authority has not real sovereignty, does not control borders, security, water resources, or economic parameters. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza 10 years ago, but has maintained a strict embargo on the tiny territory and has launched extensive bombing campaigns on the population.
U.S. military aid to Israel helps support the continued occupation. The recent presidential visit to Israel made clear that this would continue, and it appears that the administration is not serious about listening to the Palestinians’ concerns. As residents of Wichita and Kansas, it is urgent for us to reach out to the Palestinians and support their struggle by educating ourselves, by showing our opposition to businesses that benefit from occupation, and by urging our politicians to speak against repressive Israeli policies.
Rannfrid Thelle, Wichita
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