Letters for September 20, 2001
Respect for all
In view of the horrific events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, we encourage our campus community to come together both to grieve and to reflect upon the fundamental principles that guide our nation. As a group of faculty whose scholarship and teaching encompass cultures from most of the world’s regions, we wish to remind the campus community of the importance of both respect for cultural diversity and recognition of our common humanity and moral principles.
At such a time, it is important that we keep things in perspective, particularly as it is not known for sure who is behind the heinous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Given the widespread assumption that the sponsors are of Middle Eastern Muslim origin, we request that members of the campus community keep several things in mind.
First, our community includes both Muslim Americans and international students from the Middle East who are Muslims.
Second, individuals should not be condemned because they belong to a religious, national or ethnic group from which other members have acted in a contemptible way.
Third, Arab Americans and the vast majority of Arabs and their leaders internationally have denounced these acts as evil, brutal, unjustified and a contravention of Islamic teachings.
We owe it to ourselves, our democratic system and the freedoms that we cherish as Americans to respect the civil rights and human dignity of all of our fellow citizens and international guests.
Faculty of the International Studies Committee
California State University, Chico
How terrorism works
In the wake of the horror that came to us last week, there is a natural inclination to want to do something helpful. This very basic human need to do something good, unfortunately, often leads to aiding and abetting the enemy.
I am speaking now of our public officials, from schools to high government and even some major corporate managers. Reacting to our recent terrorism, their hastily and poorly conceived counter-measures are only adding to the ultimate cost of this terrorist attack. Consider that the very essence of effective terrorism depends on the disrupting of lives well beyond that initial attack. This is how terrorism works!
The California Highway Patrol reports increasing security to major bridges and adding more dignitary protection to our state officials at the Capitol. Many universities have completely shut down. Across the nation, airports are still being kept closed long after the attack, and many other support transport facilities are also shut down. This serves almost no purpose in terms of countering what has been done to us or meeting the threat of things yet to come. We may feel better for doing something, but in reality we are actually becoming unwitting accomplices to the terrorist act.
Let’s get smart. Let’s have the courage to move on with our lives.
Take a breath
Despite our anger and outrage at this horrible attack against our country and our people, we as a community must be extra careful that we don’t visit our anger and frustration on members of our community who may be of Arabic or Middle Eastern decent.
There are many young students at Chico State who are far away from their homes, their families and their countries. There are many longtime residents of Chico who have lived in our community in peace and honor. We must not allow hatred or racism to rear its ugly head in the wake of this tragedy. We must stand up for what’s right and make sure that we don’t condone any type of aggression against our neighbors. If we encounter such behavior, we must stand up against it as strongly as possible. We know Chico to be a great community and are convinced such ugliness will not be tolerated.
Homer and Loretta Metcalf
Let us pray
Agnostics and atheists have generally been treated with skepticism by the “God-fearing” majority in “our world.” It’s never been more obvious than now that the least dangerous people in our world are those who do the least bragging about being “close to God.” Those who believe in a form of democratic socialism with freedom of religion and without church/state dogma have never appeared to be more mainstream.
My disgust has now moved from the emotions of the terrible tragedies and crimes in New York City and Washington to the carte blanche power now being handed to Bush and Cheney. They, along with Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan and the Washington political establishment, have also been “barbarians who have killed innocent people” many times over many decades in many countries. Bush has all the excuses he needs now to give additional tax breaks, spend social security, take away civil rights, increase federal and local surveillance, bloat the Pentagon further and then blame a failed presidency on another brown boogie man.
Pray with Bush? Not me. Pray for the victims and families? Yes. Pray for the innocent citizens soon to be killed and maimed by Bush and Cheney? Yes. Pray for fair-minded international politics? Yes.
Imagine that a person’s entire family was murdered. Our justice system would not allow that person to take part in the investigation of the crime nor the punishment of the murderer. The reason for this is that the survivor wouldn’t use sound judgment because of their anguish and need for closure. In their grief, they might seek revenge and end up punishing the wrong people.
Likewise, we need to work with the United Nations and the World Court to bring these murderers to justice. Revenge is not an option domestically; it must not be an option internationally. An eye for an eye will make the world blind.
Where’s the profit?
One wonders if CN&R would have the courage to conduct a “Worst of Chico” poll.
Stephen T. Davis
Warning to moderates
I was both impressed and disturbed by Ron Angle’s Guest comment [“A call to all moderates,” Aug. 30].
As a self-professed “moderate” who can’t wait to sign the referendum to do away with Yamaguchi’s backdoor deal, and one who has been an active worker in local elections for more than 10 years, I appreciate Mr. Angle’s intent to motivate like-minded individuals for the upcoming elections. As an informed voter, however, I was appalled at some of the “facts,” insinuations and examples that he used. Rather than being honest, Mr. Angle chose to cloak his political rhetoric in an “us vs. them” style using moderates vs. conservatives, rather than what he really meant, Democrats vs. Republicans.
When you clear the rhetoric, Mr. Angle was really saying that judicial candidate Steve Benson and sheriff candidate Perry Reniff were Democrats and their opponents were Republicans. While this certainly may be true, the next leap in his argument is false. Because Mr. Reniff’s and Mr. Benson’s opponents were members of the Republican Party did not necessarily mean they were more conservative or more contaminated by “special-interest groups.” The only way to know the politics or trustworthiness of a candidate is to get to know him or her.
Don’t be fooled by Mr. Angle’s spin. If you want to vote a party ticket, that is your right. If you really want to know you are voting for the right person or ballot measure, then get to know the subject, issues and candidates.
David M. Howard