Serge Berdugo's Jan. 9 Opinion piece, "Morocco: a model of Muslim-Jewish ties," actually brought tears to my eyes. I'd never heard of a place where people of differing faiths, ethnicities, and traditions have such pride in their country, in their communities, and most important, in one another.
My frustration at the brutal and merciless treatment with which many of this world's citizens are treating each other has increasingly saddened me. I was very close to losing my faith in human beings, which is a very lonely and desolate place to be. However, Morocco has restored it.
Just knowing that there is a pocket of good, honest people in this world who want peace, prosperity, and respect not only for themselves, but also for their neighbors, has brought hope back into my heart – the hope that what Morocco stands for can be preserved and perhaps one day universally admired and replicated.
Regarding Serge Berdugo's Jan. 9 Opinion piece: Why do Jews and Muslims coexist in Morocco? Because they are civilized. That is, they are not fearful that one will be subordinate to the other. They are secure in their beliefs and respect the beliefs of others as is evidenced in their long history of coexistence. It seems obvious that religious extremists who resort to diabolical tactics are lacking in security within themselves and their religion.
The Jan. 16 book review, "How debate team became cool," evaluates "Cross-X" by Joe Miller, a book about resurrecting debate in a crumbling urban school as a way for students to better themselves. Debate is a powerful teaching tool that can train the mind to function well in the real world.
As a former debate professor, it is good to see attention being drawn to the positives of constructive argument – as opposed to the emotional argument that often gets noticed in a world driven by lyrics and sound bites.
Debate is a sport offering the hope of rescue to schools, neighborhoods, and especially the minds of the TV-iPod generation.
Who knows what debate can do? In the courtroom, debate skills once rescued a poor man named Abraham Lincoln. These skills propelled him from the dirt floor of a lean-to onto the polished floors of Congress and the White House. The same ticket can offer hope to today's restless generation.
Regarding the Dec. 28 article, "Grass-roots push for a 'low carbon diet' k": According to some researchers, the earth can sensibly sustain a well-fed and economically viable population of about 1 billion people. There are more than 5 billion more people than that on the planet now. How much carbon dioxide would be eliminated by controlling human population growth, instead of looking for another short-term technological fix?
Ronald A. Scheurer
Regarding the Dec. 21 article, "Railroad boom hits environmental 'not in my backyard' snags": The railroads need to use the land that they abandoned years ago. There are vast areas in the inner city where abandoned switch yards lie as well as mile after mile of bike and hiking trails that are essentially railroads gone to waste.
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