Letters to the editor

Readers write about legitimizing terrorism, the falling dollar, medical tourism, 'eve-teasing,' and French heritage in the US.

Don't legitimize terrorism as a 'holy war'

In response to the Sept. 4 article, "Lebanon's jihadi threat," I am writing to ask that the Monitor and other newspapers start using accurate terminology when referring to terrorists, specifically those who do it in the name of Islam.

They call themselves mujahideen (holy warriors) involved in jihad (holy war) against all kafirs (infidels). In reality, they are mufsiduun (evildoers, sinners, and corrupters) and munafiquun (hypocrites) who wage irhab (terrorism) and hirabah (unholy, forbidden war against society).

Why should we use the terminology that the terrorists themselves have chosen, when it is not the truth? In so doing, we lend an air of legitimacy to their claims – an implied acceptance of their cause by using the same words.

For example, if a man murders an innocent person intentionally, claiming to have done the will of God, the media would certainly not use the headline "Man performs holy act" to refer to the event.

He is a murderer, having committed a brutal act against another person, and the media would report it as such. Let's not be afraid to start calling a spade a spade.

Norm Millsap Jr.
Stockton, Mo.

Falling dollar means falling net worth

In response to the Aug. 31 article, "Historic fall in home prices," it states that "net worth is falling for millions of families as a result" of declining home prices.

One factor not mentioned is the fall in value of the US dollar, which affects the real value of everything in the United States.

I'm not educated and most certainly not an economist. However there is one thing I understand. The dollar's value is that it is backed by the US government, and by the trust, here and abroad, placed in that government.

As trust in the various policies of our government decreases, so does the real value of the dollar. There will soon come a tipping point where the dollar's value will be affected suddenly. I have no idea how this will happen, but I think the effects will match or exceed those of the Great Depression. I wonder if we are as close to national bankruptcy as I suspect.

Jose Lopez-de-Zaldo
Miami Beach, Fla.

Medical tourism: Know before you go

Regarding the Aug. 2 article, Americans go south for plastic surgery," I was disappointed by the article, finding it did little to prepare consumers for the risks and realities of plastic surgery outside the United States.

Consumers need to remember that plastic surgery is real surgery and they should research more than price alone.

Patients can decrease their risks by learning as much as possible – about their doctors, the facilities and how post-operative issues are managed – before making a decision.

Vacation activities are not compatible with a safe recovery, and a long return airline flight can increase the risk of complications.

Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are often called on to help patients deal with postoperative "medical tourism" complications.

Complications produce compromised results, prolonged recovery time, and "added costs" that can include a patient's health.

I urge prospective patients to take the time to learn as much about the risks of plastic surgery in foreign countries as the benefits and make sure their plastic surgery is safe plastic surgery.

Walter Erhardt Jr.
Albany, Ga.

Chair, Public Education Committee, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Nothing funny about 'eve-teasing'

The Aug. 23 article "Fighting harassment on India's streets" about "eve-teasing" was right to point out the fallacy that is still widely believed in India, that women who receive harassment have usually done something to deserve it, such as wearing the wrong thing, or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was recently the victim of a vile comment by a South Asian telemarketer who called my parents' home when I happened to be there to answer.

It is hard to understand how upsetting such harassment is if you have not experienced it yourself. In my case, I was physically shaking after I had hung up on the man and couldn't stop thinking about the incident for a number of days.

Nobody can tell me that I was immodestly dressed or made the mistake of being somewhere I shouldn't have been, and I truly felt that the young man who called that day said what he said entirely for his own kicks.

To be sure, the fight for due respect is an arduous task, but it is one that Indian women have no choice but to wage.

Sophia Purekal
Seattle

French heritage still alive in Louisiana

Regarding the Sept. 4 book review, "George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette: revolutionary friends": While I enjoyed the review on "For Liberty and Glory," I take issue with the claim that the 250th anniversary of Lafayette's birth is "unlikely to be much noted in the US."

That may be generally true, but Louisiana is taking part in a commemoration throughout the year. The city of Lafayette is planning a variety of events (www.lafayettela.gov/Presidents/MarquisDeLaFayette.asp), and New Orleans recently hosted the French naval ship La Fayette in honor of his birthday and the Allied D-Day landing in France.

The Monitor should take note that Louisiana is doing its part to honor our French heritage and the importance of French leaders throughout American history.

Camille Conaway
Baton Rouge, La.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, 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. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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 OpEd.

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