Letter: `Strange Fruit'

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The Independent Online
YOUR LEADING article "NostradamUS" (4 July) missed the point about the American founding fathers' desire to build a country with "genuine respect for human freedom and dignity". This respect was not intended for the original inhabitants, who were ethnically cleansed from every tract of land the settlers wanted. Neither was it intended for the slaves - not surprisingly since some of the founding fathers were slave-owners. And when freedom was finally granted to the slaves, the bill for a kick-start into the American dream (Senate Bill 60, the "40 acres and a mule" bill) was vetoed by the president.

The lynchings Billie Holiday sang about so hauntingly in "Strange Fruit" did not take place in the 1830s but the 1930s. The freedom rides of the 1960s? Millions of Americans were still being denied the vote even then.

When we look at US foreign policy, we see the overthrowing of duly elected governments that the US didn't approve of and the propping up of unsavoury dictators who mouthed anti-communist rhetoric. No, the words written by the founding fathers were not noble, for they did not mean what at least some Americans now take them to mean.

EDMUND NANKIVELL

Hassocks, West Sussex

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