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Letters

March 22, 2007



The right kind of compassion – and justice – for illegal aliens

Regarding the March 16 article, "After New Bedford immigration raid, voices call for mercy and justice": Nearly all arrests cause some family disruption, so sob stories about children being split from parents are inappropriate.

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We rarely hear about the effect of arrests on children when the lawbreaker is a citizen. Any real distress is the fault of the parents for knowingly disobeying the law, not of police for doing their job.

And talk about "compassion" is wrong. Mexico, the home country of many illegal aliens, can afford to improve its citizens' lives, but corrupt elites prefer to have the poor emigrate illegally to America.

The most compassionate thing Americans could do for Mexicans would be to shut its southern border,which would force Mexico to enact basic economic and social reforms.
Brenda Walker
Berkeley, Calif.

We must right, not rewrite, the past

In response to the March 14 article, "To avoid 'us vs. them' in Balkans, rewrite history": There is quite a controversy brewing among the Greek-American community concerning the new Balkan history textbooks edited by Christina Koulouri.

The feeling among many in the Hellenic community worldwide is that Ms. Koulouri, under the guise of improving relations among the Balkan nations, presents a sugar-coated view of the region's troubled history.

It's all well and good to teach history in such a manner that students can appreciate the views of the other side. But not all views are equally valid, moral, and/or ethical. Should European Jews study the history of World War II with the intention of attempting to appreciate the views of the Nazis?

Greeks recognize horrific events in their history that these textbooks should neither ignore nor diminish, such as the Pontic Greek genocide after World War I (which is not recognized as a "genocide" in Turkey), the burning of Christian Smyrna by the Turkish Army in 1922, and the appalling 1955 Turkish Pogrom against ethnic Greeks. Is avoiding the ugly face of reality the proper approach for a study of history? Koulouri is seriously mistaken if she feels that she will bring about better relations among the Balkan nations by presenting history in such a way that these tragic incidents seem never to have happened.

It is important to study these events so we can make sure they never happen again.
Philip G. Vorgias
Troy, Mich.

Religion, politics mix in wartime Korea

I found the March 7 article, "How Korea embraced Christianity" to be fascinating and timely. I would like to add a bit more to the story regarding the possible sociopolitical reasons why Christianity succeeded in Korea more than in China or Japan.

In China and Japan, the threatening imperialistic powers came from the West, as did most Protestant missionaries. In contrast, in Korea the imperialists were not Westerners but the Japanese.

Therefore, while Chinese and Japanese nationalists identified Western missionaries as the threat, in Korea they were seen as a counterbalance to the Japanese and a great ally of Korean nationalism.

Indeed, from the early 1900s until World War II, Korean nationalism survived largely in the churches and schools started by the missionaries. Christianity came to be seen as much less "foreign" and more "Korean" – the opposite of what happened in other Asian societies.
Jim Ferry
Garner, N.C.

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