Letters to the editor

Misdiagnosis

To assert that terrorism is a direct byproduct of poverty as Lyndsay Thompson did in “Saving the next generation”(Nov. 14, p. 6) is a misdiagnosis of the problem.

According to UN statistics, over a billion people around the world live in similar and often worse conditions than the Palestinians described in Ms. Thompson’s article with regards to access to clean water and education, but refrain from committing acts of terrorism. In fact, Palestinians have more graduate degrees per capita than any other people in the Middle East.

Palestinian terror is not the byproduct of a people who Ms. Thompson deemed as poor and susceptible to “inevitable inbreeding” incapable of refraining from violent aggression, but rather the result of a calculated and premeditated ‘nationalist’ effort. In essence, the Intifada II is a war for Palestinian independence and for some more militant factions a war to destroy another nation of refugees, Israel.

Ms. Thompson’s plea for greater NGO involvement, though bound to post-colonial paternalistic imagery might offer a partial remedy, but relies entirely on the intentions of those controlling the money. As long as terrorism is seen as a mean to bring about a Palestinian nationhood, NGO efforts remain compromised.

Internationalizing a conflict, screaming ‘victim’ at one moment and throwing bombs at another and rendering yourself incapable of accountability will result neither in peace, nor prosperity. Rather, putting down arms, taking responsibility for your actions, talking directly with your enemy and finding space for compromise and coexistence will pave the path to peace and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians. It is clear that Ms. Thompson is neither Jewish, nor Palestinian as she stated in her article and though her intentions are good, her diagnosis is patronizing and miscalculated.

Ms. Thompson should look to Jewish and Muslim George Washington University students whom made a good first step in heralding a new era of peace by unveiling “otherness” at the interfaith Iftar dinner for ideas to save the next generation.

-Marc Grossman
Graduate School of Education & Human Development

Generalizing Christians

I was very disappointed to see the cartoon in last Monday’s edition of the Hatchet, “The church presents its stance on international politics” (Nov. 11, p.4). It typifies what I believe is an increasing ignorance of and disrespect for the Christian faith in the media, in the midst of a well-deserved, growing cognizance and tolerance of other religions on the part of the same news media.

I honestly don’t see what the Holy Spirit (the third part of the Christian concept of God), a guided missile, and the term “Holy Shit” have to do with one another, except for the fact that the words “spirit” and “shit” are homonyms in the very loosest sense. If it was supposed to be clever play on words, it really wasn’t.

Further, the use of the generic term “the church” is an incredibly broad term, which serves only to confuse and to caricature. Christianity is too often characterized as being a singular church, most often in the popular culture portrayed as being controlled by the Pope. In fact, while most adherents to the Christian religion are united in a few core beliefs, there is a wide array of both belief and practice, as evidenced by the large numbers of different kinds of churches (called denominations). To characterize them all as being of one mind on any issue is misleading and unfair.

In the case of the current looming conflict, many Christian denominations have taken sides, some in support of President Bush’s proposed Iraq policy and some opposed. The National Council of Churches, which represents 36 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, recently sent a letter to President Bush urging him to “stop the rush to war.” Additionally, many Catholic bishops have issued similar protests and calls for a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue. My point is not to support or oppose a particular view on the Iraq question, but only to state that a wide variety of opinions exist amongst Christians.

-Jay Boyles
senior

Half the story

Shockingly, you reported the apology I made for my outburst at the SA Townhall. Not surprisingly, you did not report the events that led up to my outburst, the antagonism and belligerence that was shown by the student whose question I was attempting to answer.

This is precisely why there is so much animosity between the Hatchet, students and the SA. Perhaps if you were more responsible in your reporting, students would not harbor such resentment and members of the SA could be free to work for students rather than constantly having to respond to the inaccuracies and half-stories that you print. The student asked a very good question – why isn’t the SA focusing on issues that affect students’ everyday, such as housing and food problems? Each time I attempted to answer him, he would cut me off. It was impossible to get two words out before he would interrupt. With the hostility that the student was showing, I was easily provoked, and said some things that I admitted were wrong and for which I apologized. That does not excuse it or justify it, but it helps to know that I was not alone in my dismay over his behavior. It is a shame that the Hatchet takes pleasure in fueling the fires of rancor and distrust.

-Blake Elizabeth Newmark
Columbian College SA Graduate Senator

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