Time To Invest
In the midst of the thugs who looted, robbed, maimed and killed during the rioting in Los Angeles stood a core group of disappointed, disillusioned, hopeless, ignored people. The time has come to sincerely attempt to turn hopelessness into hopefulness.
Former Rep. Parren Mitchell years ago proposed a type of economic food bank where contributions would be made to help those who want to help themselves, e.g., business persons and students, who would receive interest-free loans payable either in time or money.
We need people to contribute time and money, regardless of the amount, to help our brothers and sisters. Nothing returned, nothing gained.
The Real Crime
It is regrettable that the self-confessed "cynic," William Hughes, in his April 28 letter to the editor, has chosen to misdirect the emphasis from the dramatic and welcome emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.
Some of these emigres are beginning to live as Jews (for the first time) here in the United States, but many more are being absorbed in Israel in spite of enormous difficulties in that economically strapped society.
Contrary to Mr. Hughes' contention, however, these new Israelis are not making conditions worse for Arabs in the West Bank or Gaza. Few have chosen to settle there. Nor is Israel engaging in an "ongoing megacrime against humanity."
By making such an assertion against the only free and democratic nation in that area, Mr. Hughes demonstrates, at the very least, a basic misunderstanding of the area's recent history and the problems inherent in resolving a complex question of "disputed" territory.
The real "crime" is the failure of the Arab nations, even those engaged in the current negotiations, to end their state of war against Israel, a nation which is in that neighborhood to stay.
William H. Engleman
The writer is president of the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Learning from the Children
The irony of it was painful. On the stage were children, ages five through ten. All races were there, including my son, who is half Japanese. There were African American kids, Korean, a child who was born in Lebanon. White and Hispanic American.
They were performing at the Mt. Washington Elementary Welcoming Day for incoming kindergarten students and their parents.
The choir sang and the children from the current kindergarten class put on a skit about "Community Helpers" (police, fire-fighters, doctors, etc.).
And then they all joined in to sing about "being me . . . You be you and I'll be me." They sang about the people in the world being a rainbow and how beautiful that rainbow was.
While they were singing, the people of L.A., and other cities in America, had each other by the throat. The blue light of Rodney King's terrible night in the world's spotlight still played in the minds of all of us there watching those kids. Terrible questions crawled around my mind. What have we done to the world? Where does all the hate come from?
What is the legacy I am preparing for my children? Will we ever heal the festering sores that make life so painful for so many? My heart broke seeing all the innocence on that stage.
The collective futures of those innocents are being savaged by the lack of commitment and vision on the part of the leaders of this country. We need help, not more prisons. We need inspiration, not directions to the bunkers.
Help the schools. Help the poor. Inspire us to be better humans. Help us to live together by not encouraging us to think that we are each other's problems. End politics of race. Convince the people of this country that we are all, in fact, equal citizens before the law. Help to provide the chance for a decent life and work that is meaningful and ennobling.
PD Lead us away from the terrible darkness that haunts our streets.
The recent disturbing events in Los Angeles have brought to light an issue which is widely felt though neglected and unseen.
The verdict in the Rodney King trial was felt by many, including myself, to be a complete travesty of justice. The ensuing riots and looting in the name of "protest" caused more damage to the African American cause than anything in recent history.
To hear black leaders advocating that the riots were somehow justified by the verdict while the nation witnessed a white man being pulled from his truck and critically beaten is totally appalling.
The issue of double standards again starts to arise in the eyes of many whites. For an example, if whites had done the same to a black man in Los Angeles, or a movie titled "Black Men Can't Swim" were released, the black community would be up in arms.
By no means do I wish to have this letter misconstrued as hate. The tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads and Nazis abhor me as much as anything I've seen in the past couple of days.