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If War StartsEditor: As an avid readEr...


If War Starts

Editor: As an avid readEr of editorial sections, I am compelled to write and commend your "Perspective" section of Nov. 18. It contained three outstanding articles on the numerous problems and implications we could face if war starts in the Middle East.

I was especially impressed and depressed by the article entitled, "U.S. doesn't want to lose, but it may not want to win either." It thoroughly convinced me that if we win, we will lose ' just like Korea and Vietnam, only much worse.

It won't happen, but I would hope everyone inside the Capital Beltway would read this article from President Bush on down. It's time to start wheeling and dealing. What are a few oil wells and a Gulf outlet to the obscenely rich Kuwaitis?

Another article mentioned that this situation was Iraq's third visit to Kuwait since 1961. Does our State Department ever know what's going on and what to do, whether it be Korea, Vietnam, Panama or Iraq?

R. P. Hacking. Shaler Township, Pa.

AIDS Alert

Editor: Your front-page article, "Hopkins to alert patients of doctor who died of AIDS," is a disappointing example of sensationalistic journalism.

By preying upon the fears of the public using a banner headlineyour treatment of this issue is more likely to produce hysteria than to inform and educate the public. AIDS is an illness which already is misunderstood by the public. It takes very little to make the problem worse.

The risk that a patient may contract HIV from an infected surgeon may not be zero, but it is much smaller than other risks that patients face in hospitals (hepatitis, negligence, etc.). The possibility that HIV can be transmitted from a health-care worker to a patient is reason to recommend that preventive and protective measures be followed by a worker with any transmissible illness.

The hospital's use of the press to sound this alarm raises serious questions about its real motivations. The same public health concerns could have been addressed by the institution in a more discrete and professional manner.

The Sun, as a responsible paper, must resist the temptation to publish stories in a sensationalistic way. It does the public no good and may cause losts of harm.

'Patricia Aoun, M.D. Glen Arm.

Oldest Building?

Editor: The Nov. 12 Sunday Sun described the Third Haven Friends' Meetinghouse (1682-84) in Easton as "Maryland's oldest-known building."

There are several buildings or parts of buildings older than Third Haven Meetinghouse. Examples include the noted Resurrection Manorhouse in St. Mary's County, the brick-burning contract of 1652-53 of which is printed in the Archives of Maryland.

'H. Chandlee Forman. Easton.

Truth in Northern Ireland

Editor: Frank Somerville's concern for truth in Northern Ireland (Perspective, Nov. 25) is admirable. He believes the papal appointment of Archbishop Cahal Daly as Primate of Ireland is an enlightened and hopeful one. He also believes that Bernadette Devlin McAliskey's characterization of Daly as a "conservative, right-wing theologian who is devoid of compassion" is a "half-truth born of ignorance."

Unfortunately, Mr. Somerville was not present when Ms. McAlisky spoke in Baltimore on Nov. 9. When Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker, sponsored her talk, we did so because we too were concerned with truth.

Over the past 25 years no one in Northern Ireland has been a more outspoken seeker of truth and justice than she. She has been paying for it, too. She has survived an assassination attempt, spent time in jail and shares the daily harassment of Nationalists/Catholics.

Baltimoreans should also be clear (Mr. Somerville was not) that Ms. McAliskey is not a member of Sinn Fein or the Irish Republican Army and does not consider herself a member of the institutional church. She believes, as many Irish people do, that the Irish hierarchy has betrayed the poor and accepts the status quo.

The struggle in Northern Ireland is not theological. Protestants/Unionists and Catholic/Nationalists are not arguing about papal infallibility or the virgin birth. The struggle is about housing (the worst in Western Europe). It is about jobs (Catholics are 2 1/2 times more likely to be unemployed than Protestants and this is not accidental).

The struggle is about forced immigration (Ireland's greatest export is not things, but her own people). And it is about freedom of speech and the rights of all candidates and officials to be heard (Sinn Fein members like Gerry Adams are censored by the government and not permitted visas to travel to the U.S.).

Bernadette McAliskey spoke about these realities and about British justice. Mr. Somerville dismissed her as a "firebrand," but he failed to mention more of the truth she spoke.

In reality, the Catholic/Nationalist areas are great big internment camps. The British army and the RUC (local police) operate as one unit and they maintain constant control of these areas. British justice involves "Diplock Courts" where there are no juries and the accused has no right to face the accuser. People can be "lifted" off the streets and held incommunicado for seven days.

At Viva House we are firmly committed to nonviolence and justice. In order to achieve a nonviolent resolution of the Northern Ireland war the truth must be told. Mr. Somerville did not do that.

Brendan Walsh. Baltimore.

The writer is co-founder of Viva House/Baltimore Catholic worker.

Fire Hunter

Editor: Your Nov. 22 news item about Baltimore's school system is shocking and dangerous.

What is it Richard C. Hunter, school superintendent, finds optimistic? Teaching kids that "One of the wonderful things about being a member of a minority group is you understand the world is not fair, and people don't give you an equal chance"?

He should be ashamed.

He should have been sent back to where he came from (he was on a leave of absence when he was hired). If we're stuck with him because of a contract, pay him off and get someone capable.

Small. Baltimore.

Bitter Pill

Editor: Maryland Budget Secretary Charles Benton said that when health-care providers were told of the reductions in services to Medicaid patients, prescriptions, kidney disease treatments and home-health care services, it was "a bitter pill for them to swallow".

I can't help wondering how the former recipients of these vital services felt when they heard the news. Outrageous.

Irene Morganstein. Baltimore.

Groups Help the Needy

Editor: The Sunday Sun's State of Giving insert was hardly comprehensive.

One blatant omission was the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baltimore, which last year provided $500,831 in emergency financial aid and $123,143 in emergency food to local families in need, making it a leading provider of these services in Fells Point.

The Beans and Bread meal program, which last year served a daily meal to more than 40,000 of Baltimore's hungry and homeless, was also left out of the report.

John J. Schiavone. Baltimore.

Editor: The recent State of Giving report was especially interesting and certainly well done. The information should be XTC highly beneficial.

I noted that Holy Family House, which is a transitional shelter in Harford County, was not included in the comprehensive list of volunteer agencies. It was established by the Episcopal congregations of the county and is the only shelter in the county which accommodates families of one or two parents and their children.

Since it started in early 1989, this non-profit organization has housed 10 families for periods of one to three months, thus giving them time to locate more permanent quarters. Holy Family House has no restrictions as to race or creed.

William L. Stone.


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