June 22: Miracle moment on Iran's streets

The brave action of the Iranians functions as a reminder that in our own countries, we too are united in ways we don't know.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Miracle moment on Iran's streets Sir, - Day by day, I've been closely following the Internet images of ordinary people crowding the streets of Iran because they touch my heart and make me know that in these days, around the world, we're all Iranian ("Mousavi says he's ready for 'martyrdom' as protesters demand end to regime's 'dictatorship,'" June 21). In all countries everywhere, every one of us is having our truest nature shown us by these grandmothers, daughters and sons who are out silently and peacefully walking the streets of Iran today to protest a betrayal that is so much bigger than just a stolen election - and exists in so many places besides Iran. Their brave action functions as a reminder that in our own countries, we too are united in ways we don't know but need to honor if democracy is to work. We exist not as separate voters with different agendas. At root, we care about more than just what we can get for ourselves. We have the capability and the need to live and connect with one another in a freedom that can tap our genius as a people and enable it to shine out through our small actions in ways that benefit the whole. The smallest of us are big in this way - though only at rare moments in history, and only in some locations, may this bigness rise visibly to the surface. Today, thanks to the Internet, all of us far and wide can benefit from one of these miracle moments that reveal us to be one body, wholly intelligent, unconquerable and free. Those who have given their lives in Iran these last days remind us of this. And, in so doing, they and the tens or hundreds of thousands out in the streets there today have put their country, religion and culture back on the map in our hearts, and made them stand tall. WILLIAM R. STIMSON National Chi Nan University Taichung, Taiwan Great opportunity... Sir, - As usual, Caroline Glick hit the nail squarely on the head in her brilliant "Israel's rare opportunity" (June 19), in which she pointed out what a beautiful opportunity the present situation in Iran offers us. We can capture the moral high ground by supporting the people of Iran, at zero cost. The Europeans, with their grubby financial fingers in the Iranian pot, are not going to risk alienating the current dictatorship; and Obama isn't going to abandon his pathetic policy of playing nicey-nicey with the mullahs. So here we have a golden opportunity to be "a light unto the nations." Let's go for it! STEPHEN COHEN Ma'aleh Adumim ...with just a wave of Israel's wand Sir, - Why can't we Israelis understand that the key to solving the crisis in Iran lies in our hands? The world tells us that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the core of all the problems in the Middle East, and that Israel is being obstructionist in the attempts to solve it. So what we need to do is to freeze settlement activity right now. Then the mullahs would immediately end their crackdown; the elections would be redone; the protests would cease; the killings would stop; and democracy would reign supreme in Iran! DAVID JACOBS Efrat Nothing learned Sir, - The relentless, right-wing nitpicking by columnists like Charles Krauthammer ("Obama surveys the world," June 15) and George F. Will, taking President Obama to task for not being more forceful regarding the situation in Iran, reminds me once again that the Republican opposition has learned nothing from our own election. People know we were lied into a war in Iraq, and are still paying dearly for that venture. If George W. Bush was the president, we'd likely be in yet another war. President Obama is trying his best to work out a diplomatic solution to the ongoing war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I believe the vast majority of Americans applaud his muted approach to events unfolding in Iran. The last thing we need is another disastrous "bring it on" action. We are just plain tired of the "shoot first, ask questions later" way that got us mired in Iran and Afghanistan to this day. How about bipartisan support for a peaceful resolution to these matters by way of diplomacy? It just might work in lieu of the gung-ho that has caused needless suffering and death on all sides. HERB STARK Massapequa Outrage at Haifa U. Sir, - There is something so inexplicable and so sickening about the situation surrounding Sheikh Raed Salah's lecture at Haifa University, it defies description. It goes without saying that Sheikh Salah's claims against Jews and Israel are pure incitement. They are false, outrageous and without foundation in reality. And the idea that Jewish students at a Jewish university in one of Israel's major cities could be forbidden to attend anyone's lecture, even the ugliest and most hate-filled, is appalling. If the shoe were on the other foot and Muslim students were forbidden to attend a Jewish lecturer's address, every human rights organization under the sun, including the United Nations, would come down on Israel like a ton of bricks. In permitting this outrage, Haifa University cast itself in the light of the talmudic saying "He who is kind to the cruel, will eventually be cruel to the kind" ("Civil liberties," Editorial, June 19). The sheikh and his incitement must be vigorously condemned. Doors must be closed to him, not opened. YONATAN SILVERMAN Tel Aviv Sir, - One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry over this championing of the right of a rabidly anti-Israel, Jew-hating sheikh to speak at Haifa University as a sign of Israel's commitment to free speech and democracy. Citing Salah's call to the assembled Arab students to become shahids as well as documenting his many hostile activities against the Jewish state, including riots he orchestrated against an archeological dig near the Temple Mount, your editorial noted: "Israel is the only country in this region that protects a speaker hostile not merely to this or that government policy, but to the legitimacy of the regime itself. Salah delivered his Haifa speech under the protective umbrella of Israel's police and courts as guardians of his civil liberties." As one astute Israeli politician recently declared: "Democracy does not mean suicide. SHIFRA HOFFMAN, Founder Victims of Arab Terror Int'l Jerusalem More than a pipe dream Sir, - In selecting examples to prove the problematics, as he sees them, of Binyamin Netanyahu's demilitarization proposal ("Too clever by half?" June 21), Stuart A. Cohen overlooked one unique example, that of Liechtenstein. Switzerland is entirely responsible for the defense of this tiny, demilitarized but autonomous state sandwiched between itself and Austria. Although this comparison may seem far-fetched today, it was not always so. After several turbulent centuries and wars (the last being the Austro-Prussian War), in 1866 Liechtenstein became an independent principality and, impoverished as it was, in 1868 disbanded its army. Today, demilitarized Liechtenstein has one of the world's highest standards of living. If the goal of a Palestinian state is truly the improvement of the quality of life and autonomy of its inhabitants, then demilitarization should not be an issue. Indeed, since this state would not need to fear its neighbors, demilitarization would be a financial advantage. Unique as the Switzerland-Liechtenstein situation is today, when considering its historical and political background, including the years of the Cold War, a similar Israel-Palestine arrangement is more than a "noble pipe dream." With sincere and honest goals on both sides, it could be a reality. GEORGE MOSCHYTZ Jerusalem Precipitous president Sir, - It is politically incorrect to criticize President Shimon Peres in any manner, shape or form. However, he has wrecked our political system by assuming the most political role a president has ever assumed ("As PM finalizes his landmark speech, Peres urges Palestinian state with provisional borders," June 12). By talking about the borders of a Palestinian state, by setting himself up as a supremely royal figure stating his political views to foreign governments, he totally undermines the way Israel's political parties function. President Peres has no right under our political system to speak to foreign agencies about what he deems the correct policies for Israel. If he has advice, it should be given privately to the prime minister. It is impossible to gauge how much damage Mr. Peres has done to the government of Israel. THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem Unfair labeling Sir, - "Yeshiva heads: Shorter hesder concession to weaker students" (June 17) was insulting to many religious Religious Zionist young men who are very committed to both Zionst principles and Torah Judaism. I know from personal experience that there are many former high school Religious Zionist yeshiva students who simply wish to invest in more practical army time. As well, many of these bright, committed young men are devoted learners of Torah, but not all of them enjoy the rigorous Gemara schedules which many hesder yeshivot have. They are not necessarily weaker students; they are good students who enjoy learning Torah. Our Sages taught that there are "70 faces to the Torah," and there should be more than one way to do the hesder program - which, it is common knowledge, helps produce Israel's most loyal soldiers and citizens. BARBARA BROWN Beit Shemesh CORRECTION "Pioneering a cure" (June 16) stated that Scots-born Karen Rosen lost her mother and sister to cancer. She did, indeed, lose her mother; and while her sisters received treatment due to the cancer gene, she did not lose a sister to the disease. The Post apologizes for the error.