Liberia needs global support, but first, it should help itself

I was intrigued by the title of Emira Woods's Jan. 17 Opinion piece, "Can Africa's first woman president get Liberia back on track?" I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Woods's expectations for what the US, and, by extension, the international community can do for Liberia.

However, Woods presented an entirely one-sided, somewhat cynical piece by her failure to answer whether Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf can get Liberia on track, and by the lack of any proposals on how to do this.

We Liberians must expect that the world community will require simultaneous concrete and good-faith actions from us, which will display our readiness to be fully accountable for our present circumstances. Our own efforts to improve Liberia would show that we unconditionally accept responsibility for our circumstances and are willing to exercise a new sense of transparency and truly serious commitment to shaping our own destiny. Sadly, anything short of this will be a recipe for further failures and disaster.

The visit of Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, the Chinese foreign minister, and other African leaders, while symbolic, was not a mere photo-op. It was a show of goodwill and a strong signal that when we begin to get our own house in order, our friends and partners will be with us every step on the long and difficult road to recovery.
Eric Freeman
Snellville, Ga.

Movie manners aren't the only problem

The Jan. 13 article, "Movie manners - an endangered species," hit home with me. I despise going to the movies, even though many films should be seen on big screens. I, too, had a pat phrase I used on talkers: "You're not in your living room; please don't talk." Today, it doesn't stop any chatter. I've watched R-rated films where parents brought talkative toddlers and dark films where viewers text messaged each other. I've embarrassed my kids by seeking managers to eject loud, obnoxious moviegoers.

We established rules with our children long ago, and they insist on those rules with their movie mates today: No talking during the movie, keep your feet down, take off any hats, and shut off the phone. When people around them get to be too loud or obnoxious, they also ask for refunds of their tickets and any concessions.

A local chain is now barring grade schoolers from any "R" feature. I know that when I go to those theaters all I will have to contend with is the jabbering adults.
Laurelyn Bergfeld
Burbank, Calif.

If the film industry really wants to know why attendance and profits are falling, they should read the Jan. 13 article. I'd like to add two more reasons why going to the movies can be unpleasant - as if noisy, rude people aren't reason enough to avoid a theater.

Reason No. 2: filth and stickiness, attributable to said rude people and poor maintenance. Reason No. 3: intolerable volume. The soundtrack in movie theaters literally hurts my ears. I wear a set of ear plugs when I go to the theater, and partly because of this, I don't go often. My father has lost much of his hearing, and the superhigh volume just makes his hearing aids shriek, and that hurts his ears. Even my 13-year-old left a showing of King Kong to stuff his ears with tissue against the sonic assault.

We live in a very small town with a historic two-screen theater. The movies are still too loud, but the place is clean, and the man who runs it knows the moms of the kids who misbehave. But if I can't see it at the Trinity Theater, then I'll wait for the DVD.
Kathleen Dias
Weaverville, Calif.

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