Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Russia's failing democracy, Al Qaeda in Lebanon, censorship in Venezuela, two types of creationism, and the merits of quiet time.

In Russia: plenty of goods, no freedom

In response to the May 17 Opinion piece, "A plea to save Russia from an enemy within," by Vladimir Ryzhkov: This is one of the most incisive and well-written pieces to appear in print about Russia today – however sad it may be that the Russian people's once-vibrant hopes for democracy are now shattered.

Mr. Ryzhkov astutely wrote that freedom and civil rights have been pawned in return for economic growth and personal income. All nations would do well to take note of this trend, which is not merely Russian.

The West might also do well to be as honest as Ryzhkov in examining its failed opportunity: We rushed into Russia with considerable funds for developing a rich, new market when what was needed was a faithfulness to furthering the Russian people's dream for democracy.

Jeannie Ferber
Cofounder, Access to Ideas
Alton, N.H.

The US helped Al Qaeda in Lebanon

In response to the May 24 article, "Is Lebanon facing a 'new breed' of Al Qaeda?": This story, which analyzes the Islamic militant group Fatah al-Islam, makes no mention of veteran journalist Seymour Hersh's allegations that the US and Saudi Arabia have supported groups such as this as a counterweight to Hizbullah.

Until we actually begin to analyze real US policy and actions in the region (as opposed to declared policy), we will never get near to explaining what is happening in Lebanon or elsewhere in the Middle East.

David Sketchley
Seville, Spain

Censorship merited in Venezuela?

In response to the May 24 article, "Rising censorship among oil powers": Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez believes that Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) supported a failed plot to overthrow him in 2002, and now the Venezuelan government has allowed RCTV's license to lapse.

But imagine if The New York Times supported a coup against the US president. Don't you think there would be some response by the president? This comparison should have been made. Some news agencies didn't even mention the possible connection between RCTV and the overthrow plot.

Carlos Townsend
Fountain Valley, Calif.

Not all creationists are alike

In response to the May 24 article, "Natural history, Bible-style": When the article describes creationists as believing that God created the Earth and all its creatures between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago, it is actually describing just one type of creationist.

There are two creationist ideologies – young earth and old earth. Old-earth creationists are more flexible than their young-earth counterparts. They acknowledge that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Alex Yang
Statesboro, Ga.

For answers, look into quiet time

In response to Jane Glasser's May 22 Opinion piece, "Saving time from timesaving devices": In one of my chosen quiet times, I was thrilled to read this article! This has been a soapbox dissertation of mine for the past few years. As a working mother of four, a church and community volunteer, and a generally curious person, it has taken divine intervention to pull off these quiet times. But my world has been better for it.

May we each enjoy some daily silence, and we may just discover the solutions for which we've been searching.

Nancy Mayer Allan
La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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