Letters to the editor: 1/29

Letters to the editor: 1/29

Fresh eyes needed
My heart grieves for Izzedin Abuleish. The loss of his three dear daughters and other family members when an Israeli shell hit their home is nearly too painful to bear (“Jewish opponents to war speak out at JCC,” Jan. 22).
I was present the night before when Dr. Abuleish, who has devoted his life to peace work, spoke from Gaza to 125 members of the Jewish community by speakerphone about his fears for his family. Along with many others, I was shocked and stunned to find out the next day that his worst fears had been realized.
I sent news of this tragedy to my friends in the Muslim/Jewish Discussion Group that a number of people in the Pittsburgh area participate in. One of my Muslim friends wrote back and said, “It is a sad commentary on us humans”.
Yes, it is a sad commentary on all of us. No matter which “side” we are on, a better way needs to be found because killing innocent children and
traumatizing families is intolerable.
As a starting point, I would like to see all of us reaching out with a helping hand to Palestinians instead of dropping bombs on them. Some of you may think this to be naïve, but violence has been used again and again in this conflict and yet the misery continues on all sides. Looking at this situation with fresh eyes is our only hope.

Janice Gordon
Point Breeze

Individual responsibility
The facet of President Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech that I find to be most meaningful and critical is his call for “a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world.” He was not specific, but if he is referring to the need for individuals to rely more on themselves and less on government, then I say, from the president’s lips to God’s ears!
Many of the nation’s current woes, particularly our economic challenges, are rooted in an abdication of personal responsibility, the misguided belief that everyone is entitled to a consistently higher standard of living, that all deserve to be able to have and raise a family or to purchase a home or a vehicle that is beyond our means, and that it is acceptable to tap others to pick up the pieces when we cannot meet our obligations.
We have strayed far from the high ideals put forth by President John F. Kennedy in his 1961 inauguration speech, as we have to a great extent become a grievance society — one which has come to look to government as the provider of first resort.
There are actions that government can undertake in the face of the nation’s current woes, but being all things to all people, rescuing irresponsible individuals and businesses from poor decisions they consciously can no longer be the norm, as it is unaffordable and inequitable. When those who have acted imprudently and are bailed out, the laudable concept of personal responsibility is slain.
I hope and pray that the lofty vision for our nation as outlined by President Obama shall be emblazoned in our souls and shall not be forgotten.

Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair

Harry is remembered
I have lived in an assisted living high-rise for the past three and a half years. There is a motto on the wall “Live Life Your Way.”
Most do, but many don’t or aren’t able.
One of those voices recently left us. His name was Harry Chase and he was 94 years old and he was brilliant. One might say that he has really lived a lifetime but I still needed him here. He was amazing in that he remembered something he had read to fit a given situation. It could have been from Shakespearean times or from yesterday. He was a very private person and wherever he is now he would be angry at me for writing about him. But it is cathartic for me to do so.
Sometimes I would sit down next to him in the lobby and just ask him, “tell me how to think!”
He would get this smile on his face and tell me one of his stories. The best time was when he would be discussing with a friend the world situation, politics, etc. It was calming to hear him expound his theories. I felt as if I were in a classroom and I tried to take it all in. He was a teacher of life.
The world is a little less OK with
Harry gone. I work and I get out but when I walk into the building I realize he won’t be sitting there anymore. I am just so sad and there is an emptiness that was not here before.

Dolores Wax
Squirrel Hill