Perspectives on WTO coverage

I am simply appalled at the articles you carried this past week concerning the WTO: "At Seattle trade extravaganza, realpageantry is in the streets" (Dec.1), "No halting the trade juggernaut?" (Dec. 2), and"Amid tear gas, all globalization's foes emerge" (Dec. 3).

These articles missed the extraordinary significance of the whole event. The Monitor simply reported the view of the fringe elements represented, including out-of-context quotes from a few elected officials. You fell to the low of the low, picking up sensationalist fragments of sound bites.You wrongly polarized this end-of the-century event and in so doing lost the very substance of what took place.

Last week Seattle became one of the largest learning forumsI have ever witnessed.For those who paid attention to what was really going on around the city - and took their cameras off the few turtles and violent outbursts, there was a wealth of value to report on.

To equate the 35,000-plus demonstrators as globalphobics istotally off the mark, given the hundreds of farmers, thousands of Washington citizens, and 1,500 NGOs who came from around the world.

Katherine Collis Issaquah, Wash.

The article "No halting the trade juggernaut?" (Dec. 2), contained the following statement: "Beneath the tear gas and nightstick imagery lurks a fundamental question: In the end, will any of it make a difference?"

This statement is misleading. The real imagery is of broken store windows, looted stores, and highly restrained police action.

The tear gas and nightsticks only came out after the city government lost control of the streets and rioting was in progress

Robert Wheeldon Seattle

"No halting the trade juggernaut?" labeled the protesters in Seattle as being "antitrade." The author joins the vast majority of politicians and pundits who overuse the technique of false dilemma to narrow the frame of an issue, pretending that third and fourth alternatives don't exist.

I am anti-WTO. By the author's logic, this makes me antitrade, and probably isolationist as well. But I am not "antitrade," nor am I isolationist. I am anti-WTO because it is a secret, undemocratic organization that has the power to invalidate national laws and has shown a disturbing and enthusiastic tendency to do just that, especially in the areas of human rights, environmental protection, and exploitation of laborers.

The failure of the WTO and the "science" of economics is that it gratuitously neglects to count the number of eight-year-olds working 12 hours a day in sweatshops and the number of figures lost in the crusade to produce $150 running shoes, or even the number of downsized Americans currently sleeping in the streets. Most of us are not antitrade. We are simply demanding that human costs, and financial ones, be factored into the equation. We are against "free trade" as it is currently defined. What we want to see is fair trade.

Kenneth Yarosevich Bellows Falls, Vt.

Down to the wire

The article by Douglas Looney about the Colorado-Nebraska game was right on the mark. I really enjoy his work and look forward to each installment.

I must confess, though, that I must have been one of countless thousands who had to walk away from the TV when it was time for Jeremy Aldrich to kick the winning field goal. I have not been on such an emotional roller coaster in quite some time as I was during that game. Kudos to Mr. Looney for capturing that moment.

Gerard Burgos Denver

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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