Letters to the Editor

Readers write about religious leaders in Annapolis, punishments for pornography, and saving orcas and salmon.

Religious leaders were needed in Annapolis

In response to the Nov. 27 article, "As Israelis, Palestinians head to Annapolis, Syrians sign up": I think there has been a lot of excitement about the Annapolis peace conference. There seem to have been some major players there who were not present in the past. Hence, it is already seen as a success and result-oriented.

However, there are some fundamentals that are missing, as they have been in previous meetings (Madrid, Oslo, Camp David).

One issue is that world leaders fail to understand that the heart of this conflict is religious – not secular. The land is in demand, not for its economic or materialistic value but its religious historical value.

Yet we did not see any religious leaders present. We have secular leaders from various faiths trying to reach peace. Now one may have asked: Who to invite when there are such differing opinions and diversity of views?

World leaders need to reach a just and lasting peace.

By rushing to try to find solutions to a conflict, we need to keep in mind that failure has the potential to cause loss of hope for many generations.

There must be proposals by academics, religious scholars, and secular leaders to bring this historic conflict to some resolution.

Naveed Sami
Birmingham, Ala.

Do punishments help the victim?

Regarding the Nov. 26 Opinion piece: "In child pornography, fight harder": We have many problems in our society – drug abuse, gang violence, hate crimes, child porn, and prostitution. In each case, the proposed solution is the same: stricter laws and harsher punishments.

Every time that solution is implemented, the results are the same. We get to pat ourselves on the back, feeling good because we've "done something," and ignore the fact that the problem itself remains the same or even gets worse.

We are a nation of quick fixes and instant gratification, a society that resists change, and the idea of making fundamental changes in the way our society thinks is repulsive to many of us.

You cannot solve a problem without altering the conditions that created the problem. Until we wake up to this fact, we're simply going to stay on the hamster wheel and try the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

So go ahead, make the sentences longer, make people register.

Then we will have succeeded, once again, in making ourselves feel good about having "done something."

But it will not succeed in protecting the children.

Brad Waugaman
Jamaica, Vt.

Protect the orca and salmon

In regard to the Nov. 28 article, "Clean energy vs whales: How to choose?" It doesn't have to be an either/or choice.

Researchers of the orca, who called for removal of the four lower Snake River dams, did so because it will benefit endangered orcas in Puget Sound. But it will also benefit the people of the Pacific Northwest by restoring another icon of the region: the wild salmon.

Removing four dams that produce a small amount of our region's power (less than 5 percent) and replacing it with conservation and renewable power will bring benefits to communities throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho that once depended on abundant salmon for their way of life.

If we aren't willing to consider removing just these four outdated dams, of more than 200 dams in the Columbia River Basin, are we willing to write off the unique population of these orcas that depends on salmon to survive?

Jeff Hogan

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. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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