Our Daily Bread should resist the quest for 'gated...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 04, 1998

Our Daily Bread should resist the quest for 'gated downtown'

It is not surprising to learn that the Baltimore business community, guided by the Downtown Partnership, wants Our Daily Bread's soup kitchen moved from its location adjacent to the Basilica of the Assumption.

Increasingly, poor people are not welcome in Baltimore. Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III tells us that public housing is not for the poorest of the poor. City Councilman Martin O'Malley presses hard for zero-tolerance laws, a smoke-screen for locking up the poor and ridding the downtown of people who don't fit in. And soon will come community court, where the indigent will be forced to plead guilty or rot in jail until trial.

Everything is centered on so-called development. Each day we learn of yet another restaurant or chain attraction opening for our tourists' pleasure. This, we are told, is Baltimore.

If it were possible, the Downtown Partnership would build a wall around downtown attractions -- a gated downtown.

Cardinal William H. Keeler, Catholic Charities and all those associated with Our Daily Bread should not buckle to the Downtown Partnership. They should resist. And they should call upon all the religious communities to stand with them.

What happens daily at Our Daily Bread kitchen is as important as the Eucharist celebrated daily at the Basilica.

Each person who sits at the soup kitchen table is nothing less than God in the stranger's guise. The poor person is a visible sign of what greed and the lust for power is doing to all of us in Baltimore.

Brendan Walsh

Baltimore

Don't ignore the terrorism to Palestinians in the past

I write in response to the letter "Israelis move slowly because of painful past" and the article "Sowing Seeds of Anger," by Sam Husseini, both May 31. The letter states that "the core of the Palestinian problem has been sadly overlooked." It goes on to lament cowardly acts of violence committed by the Arab terrorists.

The writer seems oblivious to the terrorism committed by the Haganah, the Stern Gang and the activities of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. After all, the Jews, without justification, usurped Palestinian lands and dwellings.

The U.S. government, overly influenced by the wealthy and the Israeli lobby, seems to overlook the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization is struggling against great odds to regain property that was taken from them illegally. The Balfour Declaration (of 1917) stipulated that the civil and religious rights of the existing Palestinians should not be prejudiced.

Charles C. Worthington

Royal Oak

Forgive poor nations of debt that stifles their economies

More than two weeks have passed since President Clinton attended the Group of Eight summit in England. The Sun and most of the world's media gave little coverage to a major news story: 70,000 people gathered in England to attempt to persuade G-8 leaders to cancel the immense debt owed by the world's most impoverished countries.

Many African, Latin American and Asian countries carry so much debt that economic development is stifled and scarce resources are diverted from health care, education and other needed programs to make debt-service payments.

The biblical tradition calls for a "Jubilee" year, when slaves are set free and debts canceled. There is a worldwide movement (Jubilee 2000) to advocate this cause. Jubilee 2000/USA calls for a debt cancellation process:

In situations where countries burdened with high levels of human need and environmental distress are unable to meet the basic needs of their people.

To benefit ordinary people and facilitate their national and local economies.

That is not conditioned on policy reforms that perpetuate or deepen poverty or environmental degradation.

That acknowledges responsibility by lenders and borrowers and action to recover resources diverted to corrupt regimes, institutions and individuals.

That monitors international monetary flows and prevents recurring destructive cycles of indebtedness.

Edward Sommerfeldt

Baltimore

Warning labels on cigars would not stop teen-agers

In your recent article "Cigar threat gets notice" (May 27), Alec Klein points out that Surgeon General David Satcher is "especially worried about the rise in smoking among children." With the article's main thrust on the possibility of warning labels on cigars, I found myself wondering what warning labels would do to deter teen-agers from smoking cigars.

Is the government truly that oblivious to children that they believe warning labels could deter cigar or even cigarette smoking? Does Dr. Satcher want to wash his hands of the issue so much that he feels it necessary to try to tell the American public that warning labels would deter teen-age cigar smoking?

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