Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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November 19, 2008 - MidWeek
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Crusades are over

I am not in the habit of responding to every misinformed letter-to-the-editor in MidWeek, but the letters from Ms. Janet Jackson and Mr. Dennis Darnell, regarding Don Chapman’s Nov. 5 column are so filled with prejudice and vitriol that I felt compelled to write.

If we do not help to get out the facts about Islam, we will never be able to win the Global War on Terrorism, which depends significantly on winning the hearts and minds of the Islamic world at large. To Ms. Jackson, and others who may harbor similar feelings: There is nothing wrong with admiring Muslims in general. In fact, the inverse is true - there is everything right with admiring their culture including, but not limited to, art, architecture and poetry. There are a number of rich and diverse Islamic cultures that span from Western Africa to East Asia, encompassing about one-fifth of the world’s population. We are not at war with one-fifth of the world’s people. We are at war with a fractionally small subset of that population who has tried to subvert the Islamic religion for their own selfish purposes.


 

To Mr. Darnell, and others of the same mind: We may not agree with the tenets of Islam, but it is a fool who tries to judge whose God is the one, true God when Islam traces its roots to Judaism, and Muslims believe that Muslims, Christians and Jews are all “children of Abraham.” Muslims believe there is but one God - they differ, however, from Jews and Christians in that they believe Mohammad was the last and most relevant prophet of God.

I have served three combat tours in the Middle East since 9/11 - in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan - and I can speak from experience about the many Muslims that I came into contact with. I can assure MidWeek readers that I am not “naïve about their true motives” as, at times, my life depended upon the friendship and trust of Muslims who are clearly on our side and against the terrorists. Yes, a small number of Islamic insurgents fired rockets and bullets at me in an attempt to take the life of an American. However, the vast majority of Muslims I have met are pious, honest and generous, and want nothing more than to raise their families in a safe and peaceful environment. Like Mr. Chapman, there are many Muslims that I admire greatly, and there are many whom I am honored to count among my friends.

Moreover, we must embrace Muslim-Americans (like the ones in Texas described in Mr. Chapman’s column) as the Americans they are instead of stereotyping them as something “other.”

Christians and Muslims fought the last battle of the Crusades seven centuries ago. Isn’t it about time we moved into a 21st Century relationship of mutual respect and understanding? I fear we will not make significant inroads into winning Islamic hearts and minds until more Americans decide to learn the facts instead of spreading demagoguery.

Lt. Col. Charles J. Anthony
Hawaii Air National Guard

Public Affairs Officer

Terrible coverage

I concur with Bob Jones, the local TV election coverage on Nov. 4 stunk! There was a time when I looked forward with excited anticipation to the election results on local television as I did the Super Bowl or the World Series. With the exception of Dan Boylan’s commentary, everything else was a total “zero” on a scale of 1 to 10. I was constantly irritated by the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, and even that did not say much of anything. This was the worst coverage I have seen in a lifetime of following politics.

Robert Martin
Waialae

Toon for Toot

Of all the commentary that followed Barack Obama’s historic election as president, none gave me chickenskin or put tears in my eyes as did Roy Chang’s editorial cartoon showing Obama being embraced by his late “Toot.” It’s just beautiful.

Regina Washington
Aiea

GOP illogic

While attempting to rally conservatives, Rick Hamada inadvertently demonstrates an illogic that is disturbingly characteristic of the GOP.

On one hand, Mr. Hamada lists less government intrusion as a core value of conservatives. In the very next paragraph, however, he cites the passage of California’s gay marriage ban as evidence that conservatism is still a robust force. Less intrusion permits legislating morals?

Mr. Hamada either fails to see the inconsistency evident here or chooses to ignore it. If the former, he is thoughtless. If the latter, worse, he is a hypocrite.

Todd Shelly
Hawaii Kai


Picture perfect

I’ve known Keith Haugen over the years as a musician in Waikiki, but had no idea he’s accomplished so much in journalism, politics and as a teacher. His review of the book of 50 years of Star-Bulletin photos was terrific, as was the selection of photos MidWeek published. They brought back a lot of memories for me too. I’m buying the book.

Arthur Gomes
Honolulu

Shane’s good advice

What a great cover story - and photos - on World Series hero Shane Victorino. There are many reasons for local folks to admire this Maui boy, but mostly because he plays the game the way it is supposed to be played - with hustle and joy. We have so many talented youth baseball players in Hawaii, and hopefully they will take Shane’s advice to heart - it’s all about hard work and persistence.

Randall Yogi
Pearl City

Victorino: role model

Shane Victorino’s baseball accomplishments are wonderful, but above all he is a role model for Island youth because he is hosting a charity golf tournament to raise funds for Alzheimer’s, in honor of his late grandmother.

Alice Lee
Honolulu

Voting success

Mahalo to all who made Hawaii’s 2008 elections successful.

Thank you to more than 3,500 volunteer election officials who tirelessly processed tens of thousands of absentee ballots; who timely opened 339 polling places across the state; who served as observers for the public to preserve the integrity of the voting process to assure the security of all ballots and voting equipment and the accuracy of the ballot counting processes; and who audited the ballots and poll books on Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.

Thank you to all those people whose day started at 3 a.m. and ended 15 hours later, for a stipend of $85.

Thank you to each county clerk and each clerk’s staff in the state who planned, met frequently and worked hard at the elections to assure honesty and fairness during the Primary and General Elections.

Special thank you to the staff of the Office of Elections who worked tirelessly planning, training, monitoring and working so hard to bring Hawaii a successful election despite the criticism and pessimism among some that it could not be done.

Finally, but by no means least, thank you to the hundreds of thousands of voters who took time away from busy schedules to participate in the democratic process.

To those who did not participate and to the critics of our elections, I invite you to become involved and join us in the 2010 elections and to share responsibility in the democratic process - consider running for office, working for the candidate of your choice or volunteering to work on election days. But most of all, consider voting. Your vote will be counted, and it does make a difference.

Kevin Cronin
State of Hawaii Chief

Election Officer

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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