Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

COMPASSION FOR REFUGEES

To TheNew York Times, Aug. 29, 2016

Re "Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl" (column, Aug. 25):

My thanks to Nicholas Kristof for recalling the desperation of European Jews in the years just preceding World War II, and the frustration of the Americans who tried to get their relatives out of Europe before it was too late.

I have vivid memories of my father making one phone call after another in his attempts to obtain a visa for his elderly aunt and two cousins who were stranded in France after fleeing their home in Austria. Most of his efforts ended in frustration. His aunt died in Auschwitz.

The fact that the United States is again allowing in only a trickle of refugees was made especially painful recently when my Canadian nephew, my father's grandson, wrote to me from his home in Newfoundland describing the challenges and satisfaction he and his neighbors were experiencing in welcoming several Syrian families into their community. I am ashamed that my own country lacks similar compassion and generosity.

Rachelle Marshall, Mill Valley, CA

THE HUMANITY OF REFUGEES

To the Missoulian, Aug. 25, 2016

Thank you, Mayor John Engen, for your thoughts on welcoming refugees to Missoula, MT (Aug. 19).

This spring, we had the good fortune to work at the Diavatta Refugee Camp outside of Thessaloniki, Greece. The camp housed approximately 2,300 people-families from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The families were there en route to Europe, or so they hoped, but this was after many European countries had closed borders, so their lives were in limbo.

One family we met escaped from Mosul, Iraq, a place [where] the U.S. spent countless days and lives back in 2004, and the city is under siege again, with ISIS fighting for control. They were happy to have escaped terrifying circumstances, but uncertain as to their future.

These are people just like us, who only want what is best: for their families to be free, unafraid and happy. The angry rhetoric from our fellow community members is disheartening to say the least. Even though the U.S. has our share of problems, it remains a place where people can live freely, without fearing for their lives.

Please, before you judge, get to know these people and look at their story.

Sue and Tim Furey, Missoula, MT

INTERVENTION ALONE WILL NOT WORK IN SYRIA

To The New York Times, Aug. 20, 2016

Syria after five years of civil war (the Lebanese civil war lasted 15 years) is in such horrible shape that one must sympathize with Nicholas Kristof's cry that something must be done. But "something must be done" is bad counsel in foreign affairs. The record of American (and British) military intervention in the Middle East is dismal. Any proposal for intervention should be subject to three rigorous tests: Is it legal? Will it be effective? What are the likely long-term political consequences? Mr. Kristof's call for "American leadership" is not enough.

There is one thing that President Obama could try for-a deal with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cut the supply of weapons to both sides. It wouldn't stop the war, but it would reduce the death rate. Libya is under an international arms embargo, and the death rate there is a fraction of the rate in Syria or Iraq. Of course, it would be a hard sell to the generals and the arms companies.

Oliver Miles, Oxford, England. The writer was British ambassador to Libya in 1984 and is editor of the Arab Digest newsletter.

"WAR DOGS": WHO PROFITS FROM PERPETUAL WAR?

To The Oregonian, Aug. 25, 2016

My wife and I saw the new movie "War Dogs" last night, and we were both struck with the same sad irony.

Almost all politicians claim that we just don't have enough money to fund health care, education, federal land management, our crumbling infrastructure and a host of other needs that would benefit this and future generations of this country. …

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