Readers Write: Afghan women eager to learn; 'We the people' have other solutions

Letters to the Editor for the December 30, 2013 weekly magazine:

I teach English to female students in Kandahar over Skype. These delightful women are not brainwashed but rather eager to learn – and they take great personal risks to do so.

Frequently, when 'we the people' ask ourselves, 'What's the root problem?,' we come up with very different solutions from those offered by policymakers in Washington.

Afghan women eager to learn

Regarding Samina Ahmed's Nov. 25 commentary, "Save Afghan women from a bad peace deal": As a senior on a pension, I spend $10 (Canadian) a month for an Afghan woman to learn English through the volunteer-run Canadian International Learning Foundation (www.canilf.org). The group provides education and support for education in Afghanistan and other areas of the world affected by conflict and poverty.

I also spend two hours a week on Skype teaching English to female students in Kandahar. I have been doing this for four years, and I can tell you that these delightful women are not brainwashed but rather eager to learn – and they take great personal risks to do so.

I hope that readers will consider adopting an Afghan student as well.

Barbara Murphy-Bridge

St. Peter's, Nova Scotia

'We the people' have other solutions

Regarding Steven Kull's Dec. 9 commentary, "How 'we the people' can help end gridlock in Washington": Citizen Cabinets that would provide a representative survey of constituents' views on issues to their representatives in Congress sound like an excellent approach to communicating with Congress.

However, one sentence in particular seems too limiting: "Citizen Cabinet members would be briefed on current issues before Congress and presented policy options and arguments for and against each one, and then make their recommendations."

For true participation citizens should be given a "none of the above" option to pick from when offering their views on issues. This would give them the opportunity to come up with valid alternatives to those policy positions offered.

Frequently, when "we the people" ask ourselves, "What's the root problem?," we come up with very different solutions from those offered by policymakers in Washington.

Art Gardner

Goleta, Calif.

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