Readers Write: A day Japan and South Korea can share; Palestinians' daily struggles

Letters to the Editor for the May 19, 2014 weekly magazine:

I suggest Oct. 23, 1950 as the day South Korea and Japan can jointly commemorate as equals. On that day, a South Korean warship, overhauled by Japanese shipbuilders, was commissioned.

The 'big-ticket questions, such as Palestinian sovereignty, claims to Jerusalem, and the "right of return" ' are very relevant to the day-to-day lives of Palestinians.

A day Japan and South Korea can share

In their April 7 commentary, “Japan and South Korea: Don’t let history dictate the future,” Brad Glosserman and Scott Snyder call for establishing “a day for the two countries to jointly commemorate the history of the 20th century ... with an event that allows both nations to recall history as equals.” 

I suggest that this day should be Oct. 23, 1950. On that date, the Republic of South Korea frigate Duman (PF-61) was commissioned in Yokosuka, Japan, after the warship had been maintained and overhauled by Japanese shipyard workers.

The shipyard in Yokosuka and the Duman had histories that involved many of the stresses of the 20th century. On that day, however, the officers and crew from the Republic of Korea came “as equals” to a Japanese shipyard to take possession of, and then commission, the warship into the ROK Navy. Equally, the Japanese workers rose above a century of antagonism and worked diligently to prepare the ROKS Duman for service. Japan and Korea had become equal and friendly democratic neighbors.

John W. Cooper

San Antonio

Big questions affect Palestinians daily

Regarding the May 5 commentary “To work, Mideast peace must first address daily concerns,” by Matthew Longo, Daphna Canetti, and Nancy Hite-Rubin: The lived aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are indeed the core of the conflict, and ending Israel’s occupation and settlement projects in the illegally occupied territories should most certainly be a priority. However the “big-ticket questions, such as Palestinian sovereignty, claims to Jerusalem, and the ‘right of return’ of displaced Palestinians” are also very relevant to the day-to-day lives of Palestinians.

A just and lasting peace based on full respect for international law, universal human rights, and golden rule thinking shapes two separate sovereign states. Religion should be a personal, private choice for individuals and their families, not a state-funded dictate determining who gets freedom, job opportunities, and subsidized housing. As Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote: “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home....” 

Anne Selden Annab

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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