Peace Contest 2010: readers respond

I am deeply grateful to the Monitor for the Peace 2010 contest and for printing the winning essays [April 22-26]. Whatever leads people to think about peace is worthwhile. War, like famine, is caused by a dearth of ideas. This contest engaged hundreds of people in the search for peaceful solutions and called forth a variety of positive approaches. Sylvia Simpson Royal Oak, Mich. The three essays which won were so moving that for the first time in a long while, I have felt hope for such a goal. We may have to endure a major tragedy to be ``shocked.'' As [Richard Lamm] pointed out, ``Man seems to have lost his capacity for shock.'' Thank you, and my students of political science also thank you! C. M. LaFia San Francisco

I was appalled by the selection of Governor Lamm's Peace 2010 essay as ``realistic and at least potentially feasible'' (your standards for selection). Underlying Governor Lamm's essay is the thinking that the sacrifice of millions of people will be necessary to impel us to deal with the nuclear weapons we have developed. This is irresponsible and allows people to be lulled into a false sense of security that somehow we will be saved when some future event occurs that will finally move us to act. Our survival depends on breaking this illusion. Ralph A. Wolff Oakland, Calif.

Peace 2010 was stimulating and useful, but I have been looking for a Christian solution which these articles, so far, have not displayed. Governor Lamm's article is based on fear. That is not sufficient; it doesn't challenge the hearts of men. G. H. Towle Amherst, Mass.

Economic, political, and religious reasons for war or peace were not analyzed. Interesting questions about the spread of nuclear weapons were ignored. Questions about the functioning of a self-contained ruling group such as the Soviet Communist Party weren't mentioned. Greg Williams San Francisco

Steven Horowitz's essay does not appear to be a serious attempt at portraying a realistic situation of the Middle East in the year 2010. It is too general and inaccurate.

In his four-point peace plan for the Middle East, the ensuing elections would result in the Palestinians of the occupied territories becoming directly associated with the state of Jordan. This would mean that the Jordanians would represent them in any talks with Israel. Such a relationship would be incompatible with Palestinian ideals of independence and hence would be rejected.

If this were not to be the case, then elections would result in a Jordanian-Palestinian entity on Jordanian territory, which in effect means the demise of the state of Jordan and in its place the birth of a Palestinian state. The Jordanians could never accept such a situation. Rahul Roy-Chaudhury Norfolk, England

Mr. Fehsenfeld was on the mark in calling peace ``conflict-management.'' Peace is settling disputes by ballots instead of bullets. For thousands of years humanity has learned that wherever there is government by law there can be peace. Herb Frank Medford, Ore.

With so much conflict in the world due to the mal-distribution of wealth, especially of land, even within developed nations, it is surprising that none of the essays indicated how this basic injustice would have been dealt with. As John Kenneth Galbraith observed, ``People of privilege would rather risk their total destruction than surrender any part of their material advantage.''

The peace process must work at the local level with the homeless, the hungry, and other needy people as well as at the top echelons of society, which so far in world history has proved to be a futile effort by itself.

There can be no world peace until justice (a word missing from the essays) prevails in every country. E. S. Capon Sandy Spring, Md.

Any peace proposal needs to be simple and practical enough to be understood and acted upon by Congress. The three winning essays hardly qualify. Those essays suggesting a massive cultural and people-to-people exchange do qualify. Such a program would have to involve people from all walks of life, not just college sophomores. The potential scale and effect of such are greatly underestimated and the cost greatly overestimated. Roy U. Jordan Emporia, Kan.

I was both encouraged and dismayed on reading some of the proposals in your Peace 2010 contest, particularly those on US-USSR exchanges. Encouraged because your essayists are optimists and believe that citizens can make a difference; dismayed because they are naive in their optimism and seem ignorant about Russian and Soviet history and culture. Yale Richmond Alexandria, Va.

I believe Jerome Pressman's proposal is a beginning in the right direction for an international peace. Only through exchange of people will such an accomplishment be possible. This point was brought home recently through a program at the University of Wisconsin (Stout) which involved 20 teachers from Scotland coming to the US to study selected aspects of our school system. These individuals were hosted by local people for two weeks. Our visitor observed during our breakfast at home, ``Americans are nothing like I had thought they were.'' We both inquired about her previous thoughts to learn that stereotypical thinking and our exported commercial television were the basis for this attitude. After the two weeks we were both aware that the difference between our lives is related primarily to what is on the surface. Kenneth G. Heintz Menomonie, Wis.

On the one hand, the Monitor is to be applauded for its peace initiative -- sponsoring the Peace 2010 contest. I attended the awards luncheon, and the winners' presentations were very fine.

On the other hand, as a black person and an advocate for civil rights and women's rights, I have to stress that selecting only white males as contest judges was the most un-peaceful thing the Monitor could do.

Peace begins with day-to-day living and actions. Our hopes for the world will never be realized if we are oblivious to the urgent needs around us. Mel King Boston

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