In India, running loses its stigma of eccentricity

I was amused by the March 17 article "Forget spandex, it's saris for Bangalore joggers." Both the athletic outfits and the group orientation of jogging in India seem strange to Westerners, but not to Indians. The concept of running as a form of outdoor exercise is alien.

Take my experience in Jaipur about 25 years ago. Jogging very early in the morning, I realized that the awakened sidewalk sleepers were staring, but not at me - they were staring behind me. Through sleepy eyes, they were trying to make out the mad dog or perhaps man with a knife, or whatever it was that I was running away from.

In the India of a half-century ago, where a square meal was (and still is) a status symbol, simply running was, at best, highly eccentric. You preserved energy, you didn't spend it carelessly,

Last year, I jogged in Jaipur again. There were no stares this time. Instead, in the crisp, early morning light of winter, I had to fight my way through a throng of sari-clad girls and blanket-draped men. There was one whole family jogging in unison. One of them had a container from which he passed out breakfast tidbits; the rest munched while jogging. Everyone was having a good time.

Isn't that what jogging is supposed to be all about?
Mohammed Fazel
Tucson, Ariz.

Don't fall for tobacco smoke and mirrors

As the Monitor observes, Philip Morris's offer to take over one of the largest Indonesian tobacco corporations exemplifies a trend by Big Tobacco, which has "sought to penetrate world tobacco markets since the 1980s" ("Tobacco's Growing Global Road," March 17 editorial). This trend is a deliberate, irresponsible, and dangerous growth strategy.

As people in many wealthy countries have increasingly rejected Philip Morris/Altria's aggressive promotion of its deadly products with images like the Marlborough Man, the tobacco giant has turned to developing countries to addict new customers.

Philip Morris/Altria does not simply aim to control the Indonesian tobacco market, but rather to expand it.

This growth translates to earnings for Wall Street and a health crisis for developing countries. If current trends continue, experts estimate that tobacco could claim one billion lives this century, with a large majority of those deaths occurring in the southern hemisphere.

That's why countries of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific, and Caribbean Islands led the way in developing the Global Tobacco Treaty, which became international law last month. This treaty will save millions of lives and change the way that the tobacco industry operates.

The Bush administration signed the treaty, but has not yet submitted it to the Senate for ratification.

We urge people to call their senators and encourage them to support ratification of the Global Tobacco Treaty.
Kathryn Mulvey
Executive director, Corporate Accountability International

Sexual slavery is not servitude

Regarding the March 23 article "Rare success against trafficking," I take issue with your use of the terms trafficking and servitude. It's slavery. Mrs. Khunthea was a slave trader who tried to sell these women as sex slaves.

The men who are being sold for labor are not being sold into "servitude." They are being sold into slavery.

Let's avoid unnecessary euphemisms. Tell it like it is. Slavery. Period.
Jim Miller

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