Readers Write

Can Israel learn from Gandhi?

David D. Newsom's Dec. 5 opinion piece, "Imagine a peaceful wave of humanity in Israel," suggests that a nonviolent Palestinian peace march in the manner of Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. may be the only possibility for eventual peace in Palestine/Israel.

He has written a fair appraisal of the possible Israeli response to such an undertaking, which could, indeed, be as brutal as it was to the nonviolent Beit Sahour tax resistance a decade ago.

Rather than put the onus on the Palestinians to again try nonviolence and therefore risk further human sacrifice, it would be more in keeping with Gandhi's philosophy for the Israelis to choose the way of nonviolence in Palestine.

Taking this path would earn them the respect of the world.

Donna Joss Sterling, Mass.

Learning begins at home

Regarding your interview with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (" ... and supporters, naysayers need to think creatively," Dec. 19): You can throw all the money you want at schools, but you will not improve the results.

By the time students enter school their perception of learning has already been imprinted in their mores, and these habits are very hard to change.

Vouchers or any other plan will not work until the parents change their idea of what schools are for, and prepare students for school. Only addressing the source of the problem will change the problem.

Having been an instructor in the Navy, I know how hard it is to teach a person who does not have the drive to learn. Having two daughters who teach kindergarten and first grade, I hear of this problem all the time.

Hank Heard Sonora, Calif.

Teenage wrestling a fantasy

Regarding your Dec. 19 article "Savage 'fun' with body slams and barbed wire" about backyard wrestling leagues for teenagers: These wannabe wrestlers need to know that those steroid-heroes from the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) would not stand a chance with real martial-arts pros.

In reality those wrestling leagues, along with Hollywood fantasy, will only place these kids in a life-threatening situation if they're ever faced with a real fight.

Altino Mario Guedes-Pinto Houston

Who says boys have it easier?

As the father of one daughter and three sons ranging in age from 30 to 17, I read with great interest your Dec. 15 article "Results are in - and boys (still) win." I was disappointed in the tone of the article which seemed to indicate that the lives of boys and men are much easier than that of girls and women.

While it is certainly still true that many doors open more easily for men, it does not necessarily follow that "boys and men in general have an easier time of it in this world" as Kim Gandy, executive vice president of the National Organization for Women, said.

For example, statistics show that men and boys are much more likely to be the victims of violence, to be in jail or on parole, and to take their own lives.

Boys and men also experience prejudice if they choose nontraditional professions. The current movie, "Billy Elliot," is a good reminder of that.

And finally, the persistent fact that women on average live longer than men seems to me to be very convincing evidence that life is not easier for men.

Douglas Wade Alexandria, Va.

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