IMF, World Bank deserved the wrath of D.C.'s protesters...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 24, 2000

IMF, World Bank deserved the wrath of D.C.'s protesters

The Sun's editorial "The wrong way to exercise a right" (April 14) was quite correct in reminding protesters at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings that their rights end where they seek to deny or impede the rights of others.

However, The Sun veered overboard when it began scolding about the "tone of these demonstrators" and the "absolute certainty of the simplicity to which they reduce complex economic matters."

At this point, the editorial became a petulant tract from a presumed "authority figure" who knows best -- as if the protestors, many of them wizened adults, have little comprehension of the issues.

In fact, although I don't agree with all the protest agendas, I will aver they are right about much of the economics. I say this having lived 20 years in a country (Barbados) which was subject at various times to IMF intrusions and impositions.

The people's buying power was reduced multi-fold, to a point where they couldn't even afford basics, and certain elite interests prospered at their expense.

Barbados' sister island of Trinidad is still suffering from a series of IMF-dictated currency devaluations, which have deflated Trinidad and Tobago dollar to one-sixth the value of the U.S. dollar.

The moral of the story is it's much too easy to preach and sermonize when one hasn't directly experienced the travails of people who've suffered from these transnational operations and banks.

If the editors of The Sun, and other corporate-owned media empires, are not prepared to listen, and prefer to lament nonconformity to the neo-liberal agenda, we can't be surprised if the possibility for future harmony vanishes.

And if the people were more allowed to participate in power -- instead of forced to be mere spectators, I am sure there would be fewer of these protests.

Philip A. Stahl

Columbia

I laughed at KAL's April 18 editorial cartoon, in which "Average Joe" fails to understand the IMF-World Bank protesters' complaints.

I laughed because The Sun itself failed to report information that would have given "Average Joe" any insight into the protests.

Dozens of groups helped organize the protests, including Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth and the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, Mobilization for Global Justice and Global Exchange.

All of these organizations could have articulated the protestors' grievances and demands. Why didn't The Sun choose to interview anyone from these organizations?

"Average Joe" had to read the alternative press or watch C-Span's coverage of the rally and press conferences to hear detailed, valid complaints against these two regressive and harmful institutions.

It is a shame "Average Joe" could not depend on The Sun or the mainstream media to do the same.

Russel Kujan

Catonsville

Detained youths confront long odds

I hope Dan Rodricks follows up on the 15-year-old boy ordered to a group home by juvenile court ("At 15, boy is in court, adrift, in need of plan," April 12).

Unfortunately too many youth go to understaffed and overcrowded detention facilities to wait for a bed in a group home.

In 1999, their average wait was more than two months. This is dead time in filthy cells without services.

Once the boy gets to a group home the time spent in detention will not count toward his six-month sentence.

And when he gets out, after-care will not be available. If he is lucky this young man may see his case worker once a month.

State documents show that the recidivism rate for youth is 78 percent. That means that 8 out of 10 youth are re-arrested after spending time in places like group homes and other facilities.

These seem like pretty incredible odds against this adolescent.

A community supervision program may have been the better choice for him and for society.

Heather A. Ford

Baltimore

The writer is director of the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition.

Gun restrictions don't limit freedom . . .

Del. Carmen Amedori argued that Maryland's gun bill rations a God-given right and bargains away liberties and justice for all ("Ballyhooed gun bill is a shameful hoax," April 16).

I don't remember where God gave Ms. Amedori or anyone else the right to own a gun.

She also stated that: "We the people of this once `Free State' lost."

As a life-long resident of Maryland, I don't believe that a bill that might make a gun safer and might save a child's life has cost me any of my freedom.

W. Donald Bell

Baltimore

. . . but will they really keep kids safe?

Michael Olesker's column "Gun law is a step in the right direction" (April 13) confirms my opinion that it is the media, not as Mr. Olesker suggests the National Rifle Association, that mislead the public.

Mr. Olesker's supposition that integral gun locks might protect a child from being killed by a handgun is misguided at best.

An integral lock only encourages an irresponsible gun owner to keep a loaded gun in the house -- the logic being a "locked" handgun is "safe."

This could not be further from the truth.

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