Letters

In Saudi Arabia, abuse in religion's name

In your article "Saudis mount intense drive against terror" (May 29), you discuss the use of Muslim clerics to interrogate suspected terrorists. In its new report on Saudi Arabia, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), at www.uscirf.gov, examines how the Saudi government denies religious freedom by forcefully and almost completely limiting the public practice or expression of religion to one interpretation of Islam. The use of Muslim clerics to verbally "beat" prisoners is another example of how human rights are abused in the name of religion in Saudi Arabia.
Felice Gaer
Washington
USCIRF Chair

Rest for the weary at war

The story about military deaths caused by accidents because of human error ("Despite war's end, military deaths a growing concern," June 2) is troubling to me as a former soldier. The Pentagon keeps blaming accidents on human error - yes, it is human error - but what they are not saying is that a lot of them are due to sleep deprivation. My former unit alone was very undermanned and we all had to perform many duties, which led to little rest. I found myself falling asleep many times during my time in service. When you are tired and sleepy, you are very accident prone. If the Pentagon does something about that problem, accidents caused by human error will decline drastically.
Viktor Pavlovic
Chattanooga, Tenn.

The diversity behind the Latino label

Regarding your June 2 article "Advertisers slip into Spanish": The pundits will fail. The so-called Latinos or Hispanics - or whatever label one wishes to use - are not one people. They are a section of the population with different racial, religious, cultural, and political backgrounds. Any attempt to address them as one will not be fruitful commercially. In America there are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Central Americans, and Cubans - all very different from one another. In some cases, a certain animosity exists between them. The younger Americanized generations can't even speak Spanish fluently, and they settle for what is more of pidgin dialect.
Jake Perz
Fort Worth, Texas

Gauged by the bell

Regarding your May 29 article "Key to learning ABCs: catching enough Zs?": I am a seventh-grade teacher in a public-school system. Our school changed its start time from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. two years ago for the same reasons given in your article. Unfortunately, I have seen no positive results. We still have many students absent more than 10 times in a year. Students are failing to do homework at about the same rate, with the excuse that after-school activities cut into their time. Most of my students are not in favor of this late start time, and say they do not go to bed any earlier. While I understand that research shows it is biologically correct, I am not seeing those results in my students.
Jacqueline Phillips
St. Clair Shores, Mich.

It used to be the norm for classes to start at 9 a.m., at least during the 1940s and 1950s, when I attended public school. The change to earlier hours was based less on the needs of the students than on the convenience of their elders, parents, and school administrators. I am sure that many will find the new hours slightly disruptive, and, for a few, they may cause more serious difficulties. Accommodations should be made, but we must never forget that the mission of the schools is to help children learn. If a shift to later hours facilitates that process, score one for the wisdom of the "good old days."
Lisa Brodyaga
San Benito, Texas

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. 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 Letters.

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