Nonprofits rocked, but still rolling

Regarding "Charities, still reeling, try some new tacks" (Work & Money, Aug. 5): Thank you for the article explaining what nonprofit organizations are doing to weather the economicstorm. Many people still do not realize what we bring to the economy and society in goods and services as well as goodwill. All that you say about uneven or inadequate planning for the bear marketis true. Most of us in nonprofits live from annual campaign to annual campaign!

However, so much of what we take for granted as Americans, the positive things that shape our national identity, are provided and reinforced daily by the independent sector.

Nonprofits keep people in jobs when others are laying off. We employ paid professionals and train volunteers to deliver top drawer services to people who could not possibly pay. I don't mince words – to donors, I say, "Give now, or pay later!"

Suffice it to say, I love my work because we do the jobs that government and even churches cannot or will not do, especially when times are hard.
Naima Major
Director of Development

Literacy Action, Inc.

Taiwan's balancing act

In response to your article "Taiwan president pushes further towards independence" (Aug. 5), I feel that Taiwan's position on the matter could use some clarification.

First, as the democratically elected leader of the Republic of China on Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian has the constitutional duty to remind the world that the people he represents are sovereign, that the Republic of China is a sovereign state, and that the People's Republic of China has not for one day exercised any control over the island of Taiwan. President Chen was stating that reality. It is as simple as that.

Second, it is important to realize that the policy of Taiwan toward China remains unchanged, and that Taiwan will continue to work toward improving relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. This includes the important announcements that President Chen made in his May 20, 2000, inaugural speech: So long as China has no intention of using military force against Taiwan, he would not declare an independent Republic of Taiwan, or change the name of the country from the Republic of China. It is the expressed desire of President Chen that both sides should adhere to the principles of goodwill, reconciliation, active cooperation, and permanent peace, while at the same time respecting the free choice of their respective peoples.
Frank Wang
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

The freedom to learn

Your editorial "Learning about Islam" (Aug. 15), exemplifies the reason that I read the Monitor. You teach your readers to gather information and make decisions on their own.

I have regularly wondered why people are so afraid of having incoming freshmen and transfer students read a book about Islam. I feel slighted that my entire public school curriculum included not even one mention of the Arab culture or of Islam. This is a whole segment of society that most Americans know very little about. So, when the news media prints paranoid propaganda like "Islam is evil" and "the Koran is full of violence," people who have not been educated otherwise readily believe this.

People simply must start educating themselves. Perhaps a good question some religious folks should be asking themselves is, if my faith is so strong why am I so afraid of learning something about Islam?
Andrea Scarbrough-Moussaoui
Montgomery Village, Md.

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