Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Padilla case and empowering young girls in Malawi

Padilla case shows US must uphold due process in war

The Aug. 15 editorial, "A verdict on Padilla – and the US," admirably points out the problematic use of torture and shifty legal tactics in the prosecution of suspected terrorists. Certainly the US must cling to its civic virtues. Does the Monitor actually believe that the principal agenda of the terrorists – and suicide terrorists in particular – is to seek an end to these civic virtues?

Evidence systematically collected by the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism seems to indicate that other motivations are at work, such as the presence of foreign armies in what the suicide terrorists consider their homelands. What evidence is there to prove that the terrorists in fact hate us for our freedoms, or is this something simply taken for granted in an effort to comprehend all the evil the terrorists have wrought?

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Robert Decker
Palm Springs, Calif.

Thank you for publishing the well-documented Aug. 14 article, "US put detainee in a 'twilight zone.'" That they broke a citizen of the US who had been deprived of his basic constitutional rights, not the least of which was habeas corpus, indicates that the US has established a precedent for the arbitrary ill-treatment of all US citizens. What have we gained by this breaking of a potential perpetrator of a terrorist crime?

The changes in status undergone by Padilla from enemy combatant to criminal suspect were based solely upon adverse court judgments and thereby show the weakness of the government's initial accusations. The people of the US have a right to know and understand, and your article has done a good deal to provide that understanding.

Tony Litwinko
Glendale, Calif.

Empowering young girls in Malawi

The Aug. 14 article, "For Malawi girls, high school is only the first hurdle," poignantly addresses the secondary school attainment for Malawian girls and provides insight into their myriad challenges.

The Monitor readers' unsolicited acts of generosity are truly remarkable. These initial acts of generosity have helped launch an independent organization that is dedicated to empowering scholars and to improving conditions for all girls in Malawi through advocacy for safer and more affordable education. The Monitor coverage has provided the opportunity to further understand the complexities of life in the village of Bowa, and has helped the Advancement of Girls Education Fund (AGE) to fulfill our goal of cultural exchange and learning.

The article captures some perceptions that Malawian girls and women have about education. Indeed, some do not know specifically how secondary education will help them, as their experience is usually related to the lack of education and the exclusion that accompanies illiteracy. Matilda is the first of our girls who will sit for her secondary school completion exams this year. As she prepares for her exams, AGE is arranging counseling activities for her, so that she will have guidance as she explores her options as a secondary school graduate. AGE works with each of our girls in this way, meeting with them many times during the school year to provide not only financial support, but also mentoring, assertiveness training, and moral support so that they have the best possible chance to succeed. These activities are critical, given the tremendous obstacles that our scholars confront as they break new ground for all girls in their communities.

Monica Liang Aguirre

Executive Director

Advancement of Girls Education Scholarship Fund

Medford, Mass.

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