published Monday, November 8th, 2010

Letters to the Editors

U.S. strategy with Mideast flawed

Your editorial of Nov. 3, "A provocation in the Middle East," is absolutely shocking and reveals a great deal about the reasons why the American approach to dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is failing.

How can you describe Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad's attempt to remodel Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem as a provocation? These are Palestinian schools, in a Palestinian city that has been illegally annexed by Israel. The world community, including the U.S. government, does not recognize the legality of the occupation of East Jerusalem in June 1967 or its illegal annexation by Israel. Therefore this is not what you call "disputed territory."

What the Israelis have done is illegal and totally unacceptable regardless of how many times Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeats his claim to the city. Furthermore, these schools have been left for the Palestinian Authority to take care of after the Oslo Agreements of 1994. Israel does not fund them.

If you want to talk about provocation, how about the continuing illegal confiscation of Palestinian land and the building and expansion of illegal Jewish settlement in the city and elsewhere within the occupied West Bank? This practice goes on unimpeded despite President Obama's protestations as well as protestations by the EU and other members of the international community. As you indicate in your editorial, Israel has embarked on "construction on more than 600 homes."

Yes it is vitally important to finally resolve this tragic conflict. Your editorial should analyze the facts clearly and recommend to President Obama that he should make it clear to Netanyahu that settlement construction must stop and Israel must engage in the peace process and stop flaunting international law and the will of the world community. Otherwise the billions of dollars in U.S. economic and military aid to Israel will stop and the U.S. will no longer give Israel a carte blanche to do what it wants in the region. There is no other way.

FOUAD MOUGHRABI

Professor of political science, UTC



Midori's visit enriches city

In response to a letter dated Oct. 21, I feel some clarification is necessary.

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Association and CSO Youth Orchestras were the recent recipients of the Orchestra Residencies Program from Midori, world-renowned violinist. Only two youth orchestras and their affiliated adult orchestra nationwide are selected for this honor each year.

One of Midori's requirements was to present the program in its entirety to the concert audiences because she didn't want them to assume that a patron had donated a large sum of money to pay her regular fee. Midori requested that specific points be mentioned, including the very competitive application process, how Chattanooga was selected, and the mission of the ORP.

She wanted the audience to know that her goal is to establish the youth orchestra as a presence in the community. Her goal was accomplished with a magnificent concert performed by Midori and the incredibly talented students of the CSO Youth Orchestras attended by a large, enthusiastic audience.

The CSO and CSOYO will always be grateful for Midori's invaluable gift to our community. Bravo to Midori for generously sharing her time and talent to encourage young musicians as well as professional musicians!

LINDA THOMPSON

Chattanooga Symphony & Opera youth orchestras board president



Prohibiting prayer blunts free speech

You may have heard but a group of so-called "free thinkers" from Wisconsin have made a big deal over people praying over the loud speaker at a football game at Soddy-Daisy.

They exclaim that it is a violation of the First Amendment.

From what I've heard, the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

It would be a violation of the First Amendment by not letting people pray over a football game. Yet, Jim Scales, the superintendent of Hamilton County schools, lets them have what they want.

I personally think those "free thinkers" should mind their own business and stay out of Tennessee. What say do they have in Tennessee at all anyway?

Maybe it's just more reason for them to whine about Christianity and fear God. After all, it's not hurting those Wisconsin people. Congress should have known about the violation, too, before banning prayer at football games.

CORDELL ROBERTS

Ringgold, Ga.



Strong's killing highlights crisis

Again, the sensibilities of law-abiding, life-loving people have been shocked into disbelief. Sadly though, it's a hard reality when details of the death of a young mother, scream at the public, for want of outrage.

This latest blunt force, stabbing murder happened in the Highway 58 area. My point is, regardless of the area, the question begged: What's going on, what's happening?

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't make public reference to a particular ethnic group; however, these circumstances mentioned are not normal. Therefore, I'm directing my thoughts and opinions to my black fellow citizens.

Since the beginning of this year, the number of murders among our own is astronomical; I've lost count, even though I'm stunned to think each of those mainly young lives were precious. It is daily, a shameful thought, the majority of these murders have been committed by young black men. We're bankrupting ourselves morally, spiritually and physically because we are our own perpetrators and our own victims.

With the murder of the Rev. David Strong, the pain of all of us was duly noted; however, his death should have been our heads-up to start the rage within our ranks, (whatever it takes), to purity our hearts and stop this shame!

THE REV. ANDREW FRIERSON JR.



Cooperation works downtown

Teamwork between school patrol and park enforcement was great during the Riverbend and Pops on the River.

So we say a special thanks to Suzette Carpenter and T.J. Morris for a job well done.

ALMA CARTER



Knowles deserves thanks for service

Bill Knowles has been my trusted friend for over 60 years. We both attended Central High School, served in the National Guard, and for several years we have attended the same church and Bible study class. He has always been the same consistent public servant, committed personal friend, and faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. His professional and personal life are beyond reproach.

He should be congratulated for his years of public service, the cost-saving effectiveness with which he operates the Hamilton County Clerk's offices, and the efficient and polite way his staff treats the public.

I count it an honor to call Bill Knowles my personal friend.

GLEN H. JONES

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deltenney said...

Cordell Roberts has made an excellent point in defense of freedom of religion -- as opposed to freedom from religion. The Wisconsin Group has a negative agenda against constitutional issues and should be ashamed of themselves;but of course, they are not, they want publicity and veneration -- surely our students can see the purposes behind this invasion of personal freedom. Good luck to the Soddy-Daisy prayer group! I support them totally!

November 8, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.
librul said...

As a member and long time supporter of Freedom From Religion Foundation, and a resident of Hamilton County, I wish to tell Mr. Cordell Roberts and deltenney that freeing one's mind from the burden of dogma and the prejudices it nourishes is liberating in ways they will, apparently, never experience.

Sad.

Religion represents the ultimate invasion of personal freedom. The proclivity of the religious, particularly protestant evangelicals, to attempt to force their mindset upon people who do not wish to be exposed to it, thus violating their rights, gives the lie to all their talk of denied "rights". Somehow, in their warped world, they have special rights which subjugate everyone else's.

Sorry, Cordell. You are simply mistaken. You have the right to worship privately as you wish, NOT the right to use public facilities to force your beliefs on others.

November 8, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.
Plato said...

Dr. Moughrabi makes some great points on the situation in the Mideast.

Under the Bush administration's "Road Map To Peace" that Israel signed, they agreed not to extend new settlements. Unfortunately they failed to honor that agreement. Dr. Moughrabi suggests that the Obama administration intensify pressure on Israel to stop the illegal settlements which are preventing peace negotiations from transpiring. Actually he did try this early on and some in the media soon suggested that he may be "anti-Israel". I think he therefore had to take a step back for political reasons.

I personally think Prime Minister Netanyahu views the settlements as a security buffer zone and therefore would like to protect them. I think that is unfortunate. I think both the Israelis and Palestinians would be the huge beneficiaries of a solid, verifiable treaty with boarders that don't look like a Chinese jig saw puzzle. Hopefully that light will come on for everyone someday.

November 8, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.
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