Fri, Sep 14, 2001 - Page 12 News List

Letters:

Kennedy misses the mark

Some time ago your columnist Brian Kennedy wrote a surreal column attacking the burning of ghost money because of the fire risk involved. At the time I attributed his dereliction of duty and gross contempt of a deeply-felt religious practice of Taiwanese people to a fit of pique.

But his column ("`Soft talk, big stick' the only policy," Sept. 13, page 8) confirms my suspicions and seriously compromises Kennedy's claim to human rights advocacy.

Apart from the ludicrousness of quoting that classic anti-establishment figure, Malcolm X, in rhetorically framing future US-sanctioned violence in response to this week's events Kennedy dares to salute Israel for its conduct in recent years, conduct which has included the legalized torture of criminal suspects. He also regards that state as "an example well worth following" in dealing with security matters. This is a recipe for unending catastrophe. What's next, Brian? A pat on the back and a bouquet for Ariel Sharon?

Suicidal terrorists are fueled by righteous indignation and their belief in pursuing a cause to death is the reason why they are so profoundly dangerous. The weapons they can now carry are microscopic, and can cause human damage in numbers exponentially greater than that experienced in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

So, without understanding the complexity of world conflict, without noting the enduring lack of interest of Americans in the conduct of their government overseas and without cooperation from most Islamic and Arab states, it is hard to see how any amount of future US government chest-thumping will prevent these and future terrorists from doing this all over again.

Averting future tragedy on a colossal scale requires wisdom at every level, not just that relating to intelligence collection and dropping smart bombs. As we enter a new era of insecurity and sorrow, Kennedy would do well to read the admirably sober Taipei Times editorial accompanying his article and try to transcend sloganeering and name-dropping.

Martin Williams

Taipei

We must fight hatred

The horrific terrorist attacks in the US are a poignant warning to human civilization. What is the aim of civilization? If we are guided by hatred, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for our exploration of civilization. I was shocked, like others. Do we have enough modern tools to eliminate hatred and improve the lives of all humans?

The US is not alone in its tragic encounter. The elites all over the world should together think up a way to handle our real enemy: hatred. Terrorists have become the cheap, horrific alternative to atomic weapons.

Ni Kuojung

Hsinchu City

No `old immigrants'

I read Taitzer Wang's (王泰澤) article ("Statehood status still unresolved," Sept. 7, page 12) with great interest.

However, I'd like to point out his use of the misleading terms "old and new immigrants." There can be only new immigrants, not old ones. The offspring of new immigrants are all natives, just as my parents are new immigrants from Taiwan but I am a native-born American. I am not an immigrant in any normal sense of the word. It has been my understanding that the Aboriginals and those who were born in Taiwan are all native Taiwanese, and only those who were born in China and later came to Taiwan are immigrants.

Tessa Hildebrand

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