Letters to the editor
Death of menace
No tears for a man who prolonged his own people's misery
Editor, The Times:
It is both amazing, yet not, to see the coverage given the death of one of the worst mass murderers since Hitler, Stalin and the Khmer Rouge ("Arafat dies," Times page one, Nov. 11). Considering the political bent of most of America's media, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. If you read any history of this thug and terrorist (see timeline in The Times article if nothing else), you know there wasn't a peaceful bone in this inhuman's body.
For this piece of human debris to have even been considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, let alone awarded it, was to forever stain the award.
In 2000, under pressure by President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak gave Yasser Arafat everything he demanded and more. That wasn't enough. Arafat didn't obtain his real goal: Israel would still exist and it would still be populated by Jews. He walked away.
Worst of all, it's his own people who have suffered the most. The 2000 meeting was only the last of a series of attempts to give the Palestinians their own land. Arafat scuttled each and every one.
God teaches forgiveness, but I for one am having a serious problem forgiving this terrorist.
— John Sainz, Everett
Their neighbors' refrain
Let's all sing together, "Ding, Dong the terrorist is dead, the wicked terrorist is dead!"
Now there is finally a future for the Palestinian people that may include their own state, with the possibility of peace for Israel, if the Palestinian leadership is wise enough to make sure their next leader is a man of peace. In other words, Palestinians need to say "never again."
— Jon Lovlie, Lake Stevens
Seal his tomb
Yasser Arafat won complete control of the PLO in 1974 when his fellow Arabs accepted his plan for the complete destruction of Israel. He called it the Strategy of Stages. After watching Israel mobilize and defeat large Arab armies in 1948, 1967 and 1973, Arafat proposed a plan to avoid such confrontations. Instead, the Arab states would retreat into the background, and the Palestinian Arabs would propose that Israel relinquish the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem to them. In exchange, they would create the illusion that these concessions would settle the conflict once and for all.
In reality, they would simply weaken Israel in preparation for the final assault.
The Times showed the historic handshake between Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (at the White House in 1993). A few hours later, Arafat assured his people and the entire Arab/Muslim world that he had not made peace. "I have done what I promised you I would do 19 years ago."
Arafat leaves a legacy of deceit, obstructionism and violence. His people face a historic choice, whether to follow that legacy to more disasters, or turn his illusion of peace into a concrete reality.
— Robert Kaufman, Seattle
Roll call for the victims
So Yasser Arafat died in a French hospital? I thought he was in prison. After all, isn't he the guy who was involved in:
• The 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes?
• The 1985 murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer aboard the cruise ship Achille Lauro?
• The 1973 murders of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and diplomat George Moore in Khartoum?
• The continued bombing attacks in Israel that kill hundreds of people?
• The murders of thousands of Christians in Lebanon?
• Hijackings, bombings, acts of violence, murders, church burnings and assassinations throughout the world?
Oops, I'm sorry — what was I thinking? Terrorists like him never go to prison... they instead become heads of Arab states.
— Robert Allan, Bothell
The willingness of the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet to burden the city with their cost overruns during a time of municipal budget shortfalls is an insult to taxpayers ("City, arts groups at odds over McCaw Hall debt," Local News, Nov. 11).
The suggestions by McCaw Hall representatives that a $2 surcharge "would make a huge difference" in their ability to sell tickets rings especially hollow.
McCaw Hall is already the beneficiary of a controversial $100,000 art installation, financed by the ratepayers of Seattle City Light ("Judge halts City Light spending for public art," Local News, May 22). While the venue is a public building, it is dishonest to suggest that it serves anything other than a mostly private purpose for its wealthy patrons.
The citizens of Seattle are often willing to tax themselves for any number of increased facilities and services. Considering the $25 million budget gap our municipality is facing, I suspect that the city's opera patrons could, and should, pay an extra dollar or two the next time they attend "Das Rheingold."
— David Keenan, Seattle
The fat lately stings
Let me get this straight: The people behind McCaw Hall want that name on the building but are throwing a tantrum about keeping their part of the agreement? One reason being they think people in tuxes and jewels will balk at paying a $1.50 to $2 surcharge per ticket to cover their agreed-to debt. Get real... We can't afford a bookmobile but are going to let these people renege on their obligation?
Add to that now the Sonics want a taxpayer bail-out, when they pay their employees (players) more money in a year than 98 percent of the population will see in a lifetime.
It is no wonder people think this city is screwed up as to priorities.
— Harriet Benjamin, Seattle
Legends of the big scheme
One has to wonder about the "Hollywood elite" mantra that is currently and monotonously being intoned by the dittoheads. It seems to me that "elite" as used in this context should refer to those who actually have the power to govern or to greatly influence our day-to-day lives.
If this is the case, then the real "Hollywood elite" would in fact be conservatives like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Charlton Heston, rather than liberals such as Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon or Paul Newman.
— Michael Johnson, Seattle
Hard axis to follow
In the aftermath of the 2004 election, a word of gratitude goes out to the "axis of ignorance" that is "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker Michael Moore, financier George Soros and MoveOn.org. I only hope they will be as effective in 2008!
— John Harvey, Bellevue
For Diddy squat
Hey, kids, where were you? What part of "Vote or Die" don't you understand?
OK, I know that one out of 10 of the youth between the ages of 18 and 29 did take time to vote, same percentage as in the election of 2000. But that wasn't good enough.
Didn't you notice that many of us "old folks" were out there busting our butts for your future? We want you to have a planet that will support life. We want you not to die in a pre-emptive war or any other war that could be prevented by diplomacy. We want you not to inherit the immense and growing national debt that the greedy Republicans are accruing and planning to pass on to you.
We voted for a new president, one whose policies would grant you a viable future. We thought we'd see you at the polls.
If you like "Fear Factor," you ain't seen nothing yet. Please, please, please register and vote in the next election.
— Joan Tornow, Federal Way
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company