Readers write: What about the other wars?

Letters to the editor for the April 25 & May 22, 2022 weekly magazine. Readers underline the need for optimism and call attention to  war in Ethiopia. 

A vote for optimism 

The March 28 cover story, “The politics of pessimism,” explores why neither party in the United States is taking an optimistic approach to the future. 

President Joe Biden could begin to change today’s doom-and-gloom atmosphere by holding more regular public “Fireside Chats with Uncle Joe,” similar to his excellent town hall sessions prior to his election. These reassuring chats would address the specific concerns, on both sides of the political spectrum, concisely illustrated in the article.  

When there is societal turmoil, we need continual encouragement, information, and reassurance from strong, optimistic leaders, starting at the top. President Biden could bring more attention to how far we have come in specific areas, all the small and big steps already implemented, and give us more visible progress reports on projects in process.

In short, all the good things that are happening in the U.S. would be continually communicated to the American people. Good news leads us out of pessimism and inspires us.

Camille Dull
Lakewood, California

Can we cover Ethiopia too?

For the editors: I love what you are doing. After reading the April 11 column “A ‘pilot light’ of compassions awakens,” I came away with praise. But I also have a suggestion on the “other” war, the one in Ethiopia, which is not getting the attention it deserves.

I believe it was Boutros Boutros-Ghali, United Nations secretary-general from 1992 to 1996, who pointed out with dismay that the white man’s war in the Balkans was getting immense coverage and global attention, while the Black man’s war in Somalia was getting little attention. (I covered that war for the Monitor as a former Africa correspondent.) 

Today, the horrible war underway in Ethiopia is getting very little Monitor attention compared to Ukraine, yet some of the atrocities being committed there are – well, horrible. There are no clear good guys or bad guys in that war, and both sides have committed terrible acts. And yes, it’s hard to get reporters in there. But I hope we can achieve at least some additional attention to the war in Ethiopia.

Again, thanks for the great and expanding coverage, which does need someone there on the ground.

Bob Press
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

From the editor: Thank you for taking the time to share your concern. We are in the process of expanding our network of freelance reporters in Africa and hope to soon be in a position to cover the war in Ethiopia with the accuracy and credibility that comes from on-the-ground reporting. 

Resisting book bans

Thank you so very much for the April 11 article “Lawsuits and giveaways: A push against book bans.” Yes, please come back to this topic over and over. 

As a retired high school English teacher, I am heartened to see courageous students speaking to school boards, as well as administrators requesting access to sound literature in their classrooms and school libraries. 

I am presently reading “Maus” by Art Spiegelman to understand why this brilliant work of art would be banned by some school districts. To stifle learning by banning books is a huge disservice to students of any age. 

This Monitor story is wonderful! Thank you again.

Sandy Nicolson
Summerland, British Columbia

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