Letters

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The City of God
"What Jesus saw was a doomed city, now buried under many tons of debris from constant rebuilding."
TED HIRSCHFIELD
Lehigh Acres, Fla.

The historical overview of Jerusalem from ancient times to the present was exceptional [JERUSALEM AT THE TIME OF JESUS, April 16]. I was struck by the fact that of the three great religious groups--the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims--only the Muslims welcomed followers of the other religions back to Jerusalem to coexist and to worship the one true God common to all three at their holy places. The followers of Muhammad were the only ones who respected in practice the other religions in the Holy Land. Today Pope John Paul II carries on this great Islamic tradition by promoting Jerusalem's becoming an open city.

PATRICK R. HUGHES
Seal Beach, Calif.

It is sad that the city of peace has seen so much violence from religions based on peace and love. The first Crusaders killed thousands of inhabitants of Jerusalem and bragged about it. And the killing goes on to this day--Jews killing Muslims, and Muslims killing Jews. People are people, however, and we all bleed the same. The continuing violence makes a strong case for the internationalization of Jerusalem. We all worship the same God, whether we call him Adonai or Jesus or Allah. I pray to this God that he help his people choose the path of peace in the city of peace. Let's stop killing in the name of God.

RIAZ A. HAKEEM
Sugar Land, Texas

Why not put an end to the constant bickering and bloodshed and make Jerusalem the capital of the U.N.? Draw a boundary around all the sacred sites and use U.N. forces to patrol the city and maintain law and order.

RON MLEJNEK
Hastings, Neb.

Your history of Jerusalem was wonderful and accurate in its acknowledgment of the authenticity and peacefulness of Islam. For many years, whenever the word Muslim or Islam came up, the topic shifted to terrorism. This stereotypical approach to the world's second largest and fastest growing religion has plagued Western minds. Congratulations on allowing many minds to know that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion.

AARON BROWN
Jersey City, N.J.

Your report on Jerusalem helped me put many disjointed tidbits of information I had mentally gathered over the years into a concise portrayal of events during a 2,500-year period. Congratulations! As an amateur London tour guide, however, I believe historical-geography professor Joshua Schwartz meant to compare ancient Jerusalem's Temple steps not to London's Hyde Park Corner but to the famous Speakers' Corner, where "scholars would be teaching and would-be prophets would be preaching."

MICHAEL EGAN
Riverside, Conn.

The skeptics among you took an especially dim if not downright hostile view of our reporting on Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. "A healthy percentage of your readers probably couldn't care less what Jesus saw or did," griped a Kansan. "Report on Jerusalem today, and leave the theology to someone else." "How nice to have news of the upcoming holiday!" a Wisconsin reader said sarcastically. "If Jesus is on the cover, and it's snowing outside, it must be Christmas. If it's raining, it must be Easter." And a man from Ohio wrote, "Jesus may sell magazines, but what a waste of time! Why not cover little green men from Mars? That will sell magazines too."

Defusing the Crisis

President Bush's initial response to the plane collision was correct; he was angry, firm and clear about what he and the U.S. wanted [NATION, April 16]. We should have instantly sent the message that a lack of Chinese cooperation would result in consequences--small at first but then escalating. Instead the State Department strategy became overly cautious, apparently out of a desire to demonstrate that we understood the Chinese. All that was demonstrated was just how well the Chinese have come to understand us.
LYNN PARANA
Los Angeles

The U.S. apology to China sounds exactly like what I used to say when I got into trouble at age 11. Back then, if I kicked my sister in the shin, my mom would grab my shoulder and make me apologize. After some hedging, I'd say something like, "I'm sorry your leg hurts," and try to run away. Of course my mother would then grab my neck and make me give a real apology. But the Chinese government could never be as strict as my mom. Is this what international diplomacy has come to--puerile finger pointing, posturing and pseudo apologies designed to admit nothing? To the U.S. and Chinese leaders: Put down your toys and go to your rooms until you learn how to behave!
MICHAEL MULHERN
Warren, Maine

Pass the Hamburgers, Please
In "ARSENIC AND BAD BEEF" [PUBLIC EYE, April 16], columnist Margaret Carlson asked, "Where's the compassion that was supposed to go with Bush's conservatism?" Good question. Bush and his rapacious followers are doing their best to reverse years of hard-fought progressive measures designed to protect people and preserve our environment. I have two questions of my own: Where's the outrage, and where the heck is Al Gore?

AL DALE
Atlanta

Carlson perpetuates the bad science and vile scare tactics that made headlines about silicone breast implants and alar. Just because there are toxic levels for anything you care to name, including oxygen and water, doesn't mean that less is always better. I think it's the carcinogens in barbecued meat that make it taste so good. What the world needs is rational thinking and cost-vs.-benefit analysis, not people like Carlson using her own fear and ignorance to beat conservatives over the head. I remember an old chemist's adage that there are no toxic compounds, only toxic levels. Pass the hamburgers, please.

JOHN JAEGER
Irvine, Calif.

The Legend Lives On
It is morbidly fascinating, if paradoxical, that a pop star would shine brighter in the dark abyss of death than in the daylight of life. The late rapper Tupac Shakur is no exception to the rule [SHOW BUSINESS, April 16]. Like the work of fellow musicians Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison--who were all cut down in their prime yet are still selling big some 30 years later--Tupac's music undoubtedly will be sold, purchased and heard for many generations to come. Why? Partly because he was one heck of an artist and partly because of the secrets that remain locked behind death's door.

MIKE VINSON
McMinnville, Tenn.

The New Healers
Thank you for the articles depicting alternative therapies in the positive light they deserve [INNOVATORS, April 16]. In response to the conventional, antiquated medical model in which doctors are always demanding more scientific data and often prescribing procedures and medications that kill or maim, people have come to recognize there is more than one paradigm for healing and thus more than one choice for health care. What if medical practitioners and alternative practitioners learned from one another in kind? There might be hope for a health-care system that needs to heal itself from within!

STEPHANIE RAFFELOCK
Boulder, Colo.

Manic Mexican Movie
In his review of the new film Amores Perros [CINEMA, April 16], Richard Schickel characterized the picture as "muy espanol." This struck me as odd because it is a Mexican film, made by a Mexican director and set in Mexico City. So it would seem much more appropriate to term it "muy mexicano."

CARL J. MORA
Albuquerque, N.M.

Schickel's review was symptomatic of how easy it is to be seduced by the false hype of Hollywood marketing. As Schickel noted, the movie is bloody, but that is about it. It presents a pathetic image of social scum. Why not promote other, better Mexican films such as Herod's Law, Two Crimes and even Recipes to Stay Together?

JAIME LAGUNEZ OTERO
Mexico City

Clarification
Our article on Dr. John Upledger [INNOVATORS, April 16] noted that he founded a nontraditional medical treatment called craniosacral therapy that is designed to free restrictions in the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. In so doing, Dr. Upledger built upon the work of Dr. William Sutherland, an early 20th century osteopath, who theorized that the bones of the skull remain mobile in adulthood and developed a treatment to improve their mobility.