Regretful remembrances of hazing

Regarding your editorial "Time to End Hazing" (March 8): As a college student in the 1980s I saw first hand the degrading impositions upperclassmen inflicted on new students in our dorm. My experience went from being appalled by this behavior to eventually participating in it.

I bought into the implications and innuendos that if I didn't embrace the "brotherhood" I'd be an outcast. It shames me that I didn't exhibit more moral character by standing up to this humiliating behavior. My repulsion to hazing subsided due to what I mistakenly justified as an attempt at self-preservation in a hostile environment.

Some would complain that "outsiders" never understood that hazing served as a foundation for "bonding." There were a lot of good dorm activities such as community volunteer work, talent shows, career networking, intra-mural athletics, and so on that provided a solid, unforgettable sense of brotherhood. I'll always be grateful for the times when someone took me aside to offer a word of encouragement or mentor me in some academic pursuit. Hazing was not needed. It was a tolerance of the lowest common denominator instead of striving in unison and harmony to work as a team.

Tom Hundley Seattle

An Eritrean woman's perspective

In response to Tony Hickey's March 13 letter "Eritrea uses war - and women warriors - as policy": He ought to be ashamed of himself for echoing Ethiopian propaganda as facts. As an Eritrean woman, I especially resent his pretensions in speaking on behalf of Eritrean women. We Eritrean women were proud of the role we played in the liberation of our land, and we are equally proud today to partake of the defense of our motherland. If our brothers and husbands are dying in defense of our national survival, why shouldn't we stand beside them? I suppose this reality of Eritrean women's determination is a bitter pill to swallow for defenders of Ethiopia.

If Mr. Hickey is genuinely concerned about the welfare of women, he only has to look in the city of Addis Ababa where he lives, and tell readers how Ethiopian women languish under abject poverty and utter dehumanization. Instead, he chose to serve as a mouthpiece for the dictators in Ethiopia whose sole objective is the annihilation of the Eritrean people.

Rahwa Ghiorghis Baltimore

Control media not guns

We do not have a problem with guns in this country. What we have is a media problem. The media has blown this issue way out of proportion. The invention of individual guns was a primary cause of the breakdown of the feudal system and to the development of individual rights. Loss of guns for the individual will inevitably lead to loss of individual rights. Increasing conflict in the US is due to the increasing population competing for limited resources.

David C. Lanning Fairbanks, Alaska

Discipline on-the-phone drivers

Regarding your March 3 article "States, cities crack down on driving while dialing": Cellular phones can cause an abundant amount of accidents when used while driving. However, there are many advantages in having a cellular phone. It would be ridiculous to make laws against the use of cell phones in cars.

I would suggest educating drivers to practice proper safety measures while driving and using cellphones such as pulling over to the side of the road when using a hand-held phone. A careless driver on the phone should be pulled over by a traffic officer and punished by already existing laws.

Jordan Workman Wheaton, Ill.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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