Readers write: History of China, Middle East players, feminizing of words, small feature, big impact

Letters to the editor for the Aug. 13, 2018 weekly magazine.

Vahid Salemi/AP
People cross Jomhouri-e-Eslami (Islamic Republic) St. in downtown Tehran, Iran on July 30, 2018.

History of China

Regarding the May 17 Books review “ ‘Our Story’ offers a graphic glimpse of a China that no longer exists” (CSMonitor.com): Thank you for this article. It seems so valuable. I have taught in Xi’an and have many friends who are from mainland China, but I know so little about that history and sociology. “Our Story” will be a valuable window on the past. I appreciate the way the book is reviewed and summarized. I am anxious to read it and will send this review to my Chinese friends. We have so much to learn about fortitude and courage from these survivors.

William Kilgour

Madison, Wis.

Middle East players

Regarding the May 25 Monitor Daily story “How new US stance is being heard in Tehran”: The Middle East has many players, and as the scene plays out, motives and possibilities may change. This brief outline of how this has happened with Iran, the United States, and Israel is helpful.

Virginia Stopfel

Beverly, Mass.

Feminizing of words

The June 4 “In a Word” column, “When words get ‘girl cooties,’ ” caught my attention because of my four grandchildren. Their names are Eli, Harper, Reese, and Pearce. Can you tell if they are girls or boys, based on their names?

Cynthia Johnson

Grayson, Ga.

Small feature, big impact

The June 1 Monitor Daily article “Sand dunes on Pluto drive scientists to reframe some ‘knowns’ ” was fascinating. I had no idea that a rather small feature like dunes on Pluto could be so important in the scheme of things. Planetary scientists are very interesting.

Dodie Reed

South Beach, Ore.

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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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.