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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about traditional saris, US gun violence, National Parks preservation, and the Obama family's choice of dog.

August 6, 2008



Globalization dilutes India's rich garment tradition

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Regarding the July 30 article, "Indian weavers bow to market forces": My family has encouraged and supported traditional weavers in the eastern state of Orissa, which produces the most astonishing Ikat in the world. As in Varanasi, weavers are in an appalling state, opting for menial jobs and abandoning their traditional vocation. Much of this has to do with colonial cringing – an artifact of globalization, owing to which young women want to look Western, so they will wear cheap polyester and dreadfully made Western clothes instead of a sari. India has to recover its self-esteem and not lose its traditional arts and crafts – a colleague of mine said they should be declared a national resource!

Oopali Operajita
New Delhi

End mental acceptance of gun violence

Regarding the July 30 article, "Scapegoating at heart of shootings": How many shootings must we endure before we are brave enough to consider our own mentality and ask, "Why do we tolerate, even accept, so much gun violence?"

Here in Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech and the April 2007 shooting there, we say, "It could happen anywhere." This tragedy in Tennessee may be about mental health, hatred, poverty, politics, or religion. For sure it is about guns.

Until this country wearies of living with the obscenity of gun violence, comes to its senses, and enacts stricter legislation to better protect us, it can happen anywhere, and there will be few places we will truly feel safe. Shall we hire security guards, install metal detectors, set up emergency alert systems, issue concealed carry permits, and don our bulletproof vests so we can go to school, stores, or worship? Oh, freedom! Or, shall we dare to confront this nation's idolatrous and insane love of guns?

Catherine C. Snyder
Blacksburg, Va.

War makes other fiscal priorities moot

Regarding the July 30 article, "Can Iraq's new calm hold?": The United States has paid more than $200 million for the Sons of Iraq program. This is in addition to the billions we spend fighting the war.

Another July 30 article, "Will US pay to grow parks?" demonstrates a lack of commitment on the part of the Bush administration to protect our own cultural and natural legacy. Lands filled with priceless petroglyphs and fossilized wood are waiting to be sold to the National Park Service. But since the park service budget to acquire such lands has been slashed by 70 percent since 1999, they will remain unsold.

This controversial war is costing a lot more than just money. It costs lives. It costs prestige and, in too many cases, our ethics. It may also be costing us the preservation of our own heritage.

Randal Seech
San Clemente, Calif.

Obama should adopt a shelter dog

Regarding Joel M. Vance's July 30 Opinion piece, "Winning the pup-ular vote": If the Obama family really wants to lift their image by getting a dog, they should ignore the pleas of breeders and adopt one from the local animal shelter. Best Friends Animal Network has an online petition urging the Obama family to do just that.

Adopting from a local shelter, rather than buying a purebred, would do wonders for the potential president's image as someone who cares about the homeless pet situation in America. Those of us whose canine and feline companions have been rescued from certain death in shelters would thank him for his example.

Cynthia Astle
Dallas

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