Readers write: remember Afghanistan; help for homeless; parliamentary systems

Letters to the editor for the Oct. 5, 2015, weekly magazine

Reuters
Taliban fighters and residents are seen on top of a military vehicle in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Tuesday, a day after the Taliban took control of the city. Afghan forces backed by US air support battled Taliban fighters for control of the northern city on Tuesday.

Don’t forget about Afghanistan
Thank you for the Sept. 7 Monitor’s View “Taproot for Europe’s migrant crisis.” We need to remember that while Syria is experiencing a full-blown civil war, countries such as Afghanistan are still at the point where major hostilities could be avoided. Considering that the United States has been actively involved in Afghanistan for 14 years, it is shocking that security there has decreased to the point that frightened citizens are starting to join the exodus to Europe. I think of this as I hear of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan wrapping up its operations because of lack of funding. I hope the Monitor can help keep some focus on the problems in Afghanistan.
John Stettler
Dallas

Compassion for the homeless
Regarding the Sept. 21 People Making a Difference article about Erik de Buhr, who builds huts for homeless people: We need to stop marginalizing people who struggle. So many people live one paycheck away from homelessness. These are regular people who have fallen on hard times. They are the parents whose child sits with your child at lunch, the dad you see at the laundromat, and the mom struggling to wrangle her small children through the grocery store. As someone whose family has dealt with disability and homelessness, I can tell you that these people just need a little compassion, a little tolerance, and a little help.
Melissa French
Jaffrey, N.H.

Power of parliamentary systems
Regarding the Sept. 7 Briefing, “A new face for Britain’s Labour Party?”: One misunderstanding in the United States about British politics is that party discipline is very strict, from admission to party membership to assignment of candidacy to voting in Parliament. The system is nearly dictatorial during the term of the Parliament. For example, last year Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a plan for a new method of collecting taxes on a Wednesday, and the law came into force three days later.
Kirk W. Beach
Abergavenny, Wales

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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