Letters for October 7, 2010

Ignorance breeds ignorance

Re “A right to read” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Popsmart, September 23):

Ignorance breeds ignorance, and that’s what I believe is the real reason behind people banning books. People make judgments about books without ever having read a single sentence, and then go on to spread their lies because of fear. They fear the unknown.

These books have life lessons to be learned. Yes, they contain questionable material that is definitely not suited for everyone, but that’s just a reflection of life. It needs to be up to the parents to decide for their children what they can and can’t read.

Of course, this scares me as well: I heard the other day of a woman who discourages her daughter from reading because she believes it is unhealthy to read. I was just glad to also hear that the daughter is rebellious in this instance. As sad as this situation is, it’s better that viewpoints like this affect as few children as possible.

I know fear and repression will never go away completely, but hopefully it can be mitigated through education and library programs.

Sarah Reed
Rancho Cordova

Not the best reference

Re “‘It’s a financial Groundhog Day’” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, September 23):

One point of observation: While you mention that Phil [Angelides] is a savvy guy, his reference to Groundhog Day is obscure to the general populace; perhaps in an attempt to be clever, the reference to a dated film is one in which many people will not understand the “pop culture” connection. In the role of his oversight into the dirty dealings of Wall Street, straight talk perhaps better serves the commissions findings.

Eric Richardson

No force involved

Re “My hijab” by Zahida Mehirdel (SN&R Essay, September 23):

First of all, a great thank you to [SN&R] for publishing this wonderful article. Hopefully this will shed some light on the misconception of why Muslim women wear hijab. I personally have been touched by this fantastic article. I think the writer has done a superb job covering all aspect of hijab stipulations.

One of the major misconceptions about the hijab (covering of the body except the face and hands) is that women are forced by their parents or by male family members, which is not true. I think she has described the secondary reasons very well, which is: Women must cover, so they will be evaluated for their intelligence and skills instead of looks and sexuality.

Riga Dawood

It’s a better party

Re “My hijab” by Zahida Mehirdel (SN&R Essay, September 23):

I’ve never been able to understand the prejudice against the hijab. It’s different from that other sign of female religious devotion—a nun’s habit—how, exactly? What about all the people advertising their beliefs with everything from jewelry to T-shirts? Believe me, it is a little unnerving, if not offensive, to see as I recently did a teenager wearing a T-shirt with a bloody hand nailed to a piece of wood, accompanied by a proclamation of having been “washed clean in blood.” Ick. How messy.

No, this prejudice is all about needing a particular group to scapegoat, and right now the acceptable people to hate seem to be immigrants, Muslims and gays.

Here’s a suggestion: A coalition of Mexican immigrants, Muslims and the GLBT community. Even if you don’t outnumber the yahoos, troglodytes and know-nothings on the other side, the food, music and decorations would be much better at your party.

Jan Kline

Pass the respect

Re “My hijab” by Zahida Mehirdel (SN&R Essay, September 23):

This was a truly enlightening piece. My utmost respect goes out to the writer as well as the publishers. Thanks for your attempts to make our world a better place by breaking the stereotypes and educating us.

Angela Green

Good reason for boycotts

Re “No matzo, no peace” by Lien Hoang (SN&R Frontlines, September 16):

The Sacramento Co-op member survey referenced in a September 16 SN&R article does not exist. In the article about the proposed human-rights-based Co-op boycott of Israeli goods, Len Feldman notes a study that allegedly showed 80 percent of surveyed Co-op owners opposed boycotts for political ends. The Co-op reports that, 10 years ago, it did a member survey, which included one item, “The Co-op should take a stand on political issues.” Fifty four percent disagreed, 23 percent were neutral and 23 percent agreed. No question about boycotts was reported.

In reality, whenever the Co-op decides not to carry particular products for specific reasons, it is boycotting those products. The Co-op’s merchandising policy states a commitment to products “that maintain the long-range health of the global community”; products that don’t support this commitment could reasonably be excluded from the Co-op’s shelves. Since upholding human rights is absolutely key to our global community’s health and well-being, the Co-op can and should boycott products on the basis of human-rights considerations.

Over 500 Co-op owners and shoppers have now asked the Co-op to stop carrying Israeli goods until Israel stops violating international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people. They are Jews, Christians, Muslims, members of other faiths and secular individuals.

Boycott and divestment were successful strategies in helping to end racist apartheid in South Africa. These nonviolent tools are being embraced by people around the world, including the Sacramento [Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions] Working Group (www.sacbds.org), to end Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid in Palestine. While our government continues to give Israel $3-plus billion a year, citizens are called to take effective action: Don’t buy Israeli goods and ask stores not to carry them. Don’t invest in Israeli companies or companies that support the occupation, and ask pension funds including [the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, College Retirement Equities Fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to divest from those companies.

Maggie Coulter