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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Pain and Anger Follow Russian School Atrocity

September 08, 2004

Re "Russian School Takeover Stirs Self-Criticism Among Arabs," Sept. 5: The condemnation of terrorists by Muslim religious and political leaders reacting to the slaughter of more than 300 children and others in Russia is welcome. However, I wonder if they realize that a similar level of timely outrage over the deaths of nearly 10 times that many on 9/11 in America might have helped prevent these latest atrocities.

Ron Samuels

Studio City

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As an American Muslim living in South Los Angeles, I see children caught in the crossfire of violence. But I am deeply troubled and shocked by haunting images of kids intentionally targeted in the Russian hostage tragedy. To the radical group responsible for this bloodbath, I ask: Where goes your humanity?

Eric R. Ali

Los Angeles

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Even the strongest words fall short to condemn the massacre of schoolchildren in Russia. Equally regrettable is the simplistic blame for such incidences of terrorism on Islamic extremists by leaders who have nothing more than crocodile tears for the ruins of Grozny, Gaza, Jenin and elsewhere, which are breeding this extremism all over the world. Will the leaders of the New World Order correct their myopic vision to bring real peace to this world?

Basheer Ahmed Khan

Garden Grove

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Your use of the phrase "hostage-takers" to describe the brutes who took over a Russian school and murdered children is puzzling. There can be no doubt that these killers are terrorists, and the label should be used. To do otherwise is too neutral in a situation in which neutrality is inappropriate.

Kenneth Held

Northridge

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The Russians made a mistake trying to negotiate with the terrorists. They should have simply stormed the gym as soon as possible. They should have learned from the terrorist incident in the Moscow theater that negotiations are a waste of time.

Josh Rivetz

Northridge

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Force alone will not wipe out terrorism. Getting a nation to support force against terrorism and calling it war, as the president has, will not stop terrorism. Those committing it are ardent in their belief. Their eagerness to die makes that clear. Someday, when we are ready to set our pride aside, we may find creative ways to deal with it. Until then, terrorism is a fact of life.

Phil Rizzo

Valencia

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Michael Ramirez's Sept. 5 cartoon on terrorist violence in Russia is apt, but its caption, "The Face of Terrorism," implies that there is one face. Ironically, the adjoining article ("Confronting the Dark Side of Democracy") reminds us of state acts of terrorism by the Sudanese government as well as the Rwandan majority. We understandably represent terrorism as violent acts by minority, non-ruling groups, but we ignore greater acts by established governments and ethnic majorities.

To think of Rwanda, Congo and Sudan is to think of majority terrorism, state terrorism. If we were to remember European fascism, we would know that organized terrorism can be even more devastating. We must not assume that states with which we have diplomatic relations are less culpable than those who oppose them. And we must be sure that we do not self-righteously assume that we are free of terrorism ourselves.

David Eggenschwiler

Los Angeles

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