Letters to the Editor

Readers write about insuring children, Tunisian freedom of the press, and the support system for AIDS orphans.

Young Americans at war vs. insuring US kids

In response to the Oct. 1 article, "Why Bush resists child health bill": It's incredibly sad and strange that this administration is so eager and willing to send our young people off to fight and die in another country's war, but unwilling to supply health insurance for the kids of America. Do they realize that by ensuring that our kids stay healthy, they grow even more people to ship off to the war? Where else do they think they're going to come up with enough people to help fight for our own country when it's needed? Why are they willing to spend billions of dollars on an unnecessary war, but not a fraction of that for America's children? It makes you think.

Patricia Arline Murphy
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Tunisian official claims press freedom

Regarding the Sept. 11 article, "Tunisia's tiny free-speech steps": It not only downplays but also ignores the achievements accomplished by Tunisia in the field of freedom of speech. Freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, is a tangible reality in Tunisia – a country strongly committed to a progressive process aiming at further anchoring democracy and promoting human rights.

In line with this unwavering commitment, over 250 national weeklies and dailies are currently published. Ninety percent of these publications are run by private media groups and editorially independent. They frequently deal with daring topics and highly sensitive issues. No subject is considered taboo any longer. Furthermore, about 1,000 foreign newspapers and magazines are available for the Tunisian readership.

Moreover, the media landscape in Tunisia has been further fostered by the launching of private TV and radio stations to put an end to the monopoly exerted by the state on the media. Also, since 2005, members from the opposition parties and civil society have joined the Tunisian Higher Communication Council to enhance the spirit of dialogue, freedom, and pluralistic democracy. This resulted in the organization of talk shows, broadcast live on a weekly basis, dealing with reforms, democracy, freedom, tolerance, and many other social and economic issues. Also, all nine opposition parties do have further channels to express freely all their political opinions, mainly through printed and audiovisual media as well as political venues.

Taoufik Chebbi
Washington

Press counselor, Embassy of Tunisia

Support needed to raise AIDS orphans

Many thanks to the Monitor for the series "Africa's AIDS orphans," which draws attention to the plight of these orphans and the families who so courageously stretch themselves to care for these children. Whenever possible, orphans must be kept with their families and communities to ensure the social fabric of societies remains intact.

Orphanages should be a temporary, last-resort solution. Estimates from UNAIDS project 15.7 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa by 2010. Additional expenses for taking in an orphaned child heavily tax families already struggling with poverty. The international community must ensure that family members who care for the majority of orphans in the developing world have the resources and support needed to raise these children: day care, schools, clinics, and community centers, as well as income-generating skills. Children want to be in families, and these kids need the foundation that only a family and a community can provide, to give them the best shot at succeeding.

Jennifer Delaney
Washington

Executive director, Global Action for Children

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 to OpEd.

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