Letters to the Editor

Readers write about a youth program in Kenya, justice for Palestinians, and new art.

Youth program gives Kenyans hope in time of need

Regarding the Dec. 26 article, "Looking for hope instead of an exit in Kenyan slum": This article about the Kibera Community Youth Program (KCYP) in Kenya had me smiling from ear to ear. I am the head of its international advisory board, so it was doubly delightful and uplifting to see such a wonderful story about their work.

The timing could not have been better for another reason. Because of the controversial election, Kibera has been the scene of some of the worst violence the country has seen in years.

KCYP members are trying to distribute food to near-starving residents. They are also using the arts and their good offices to do outreach related to peace and tolerance.

This article not only shines a well-deserved spotlight on their work, but it will also alert people to ways they can help KCYP expand its work to address this emergency and the longer-term ramifications of recent events in Kenya.

The need for bridge-building among various ethnic groups, training in alternative forms of conflict resolution, income-generation projects, and an increase in development opportunities for young people – often identified as perpetrators of the current mayhem – is clear.

KCYP, as the article points out, is uniquely qualified to be of vital service in this regard.

Janet Feldman
Barrington, R.I.

Chair of the advisory board, KCYP

Justice needed for the Palestinians

In response to George Moffett's Jan. 9 Opinion piece, "In the Middle East, no time to spare": If Israel is on "borrowed time" as Dr. Moffett's article contends, then they have only borrowed it from themselves.

The American people have been lied to and misled for 60-plus years as to the real nature of the conflict.

Without justice for the people of Palestine, there will never be peace in the region.

Sarah Smith Redmond
Rochester Hills, Mich.

New art must be profound to people

In response to Carol Strickland's three-part series on Western art today: Ms. Strickland put into words something I have believed for a long time.

Too much extreme art is exhibited. Either it is shockingly dehumanizing or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, boringly cerebral. A good work should grab us, but not for the wrong reasons.

As Strickland said, this art is not aimed at the "whole man." It does not communicate "ideas and emotions to the heart, mind, and spirit."

This imbalance precludes such work from being profound to the majority of people, who cannot relate to it.

There is, of course, a consumer for every type of art, because aesthetic needs variation. Art in the broadest sense could be considered life lived at the highest level. Some would say that their highest form of art is an excellent soccer game; others would say it is a Rembrandt.

All artistic expression exhibits common elements including rhythm, color, value, balance, unity, and beauty. These terms have slightly different connotations in each medium.

Artistic expression does change with the times. But when art institutions focus attention on the extreme forms, implying that the edgiest art is the most advanced, they are liable to mistake fad and promotion for real content.

In so doing, they miss their obligation to feed the whole person – heart, soul, and mind.

Edith Bergstrom
Atherton, Calif.

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 pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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