Thursday, October 2, 2003

Fighting AIDS/HIV

In regard to the column “Go to Africa, Mr. Tobias” (Op-Ed, Wednesday):

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, and other members of the delegation to Africa might have come up with another wish list if female senators had been along. Here are 10 alternative suggestions for Randall Tobias to get a strong start in his post as AIDS czar.

1. Go to Africa — ask why girls and women are 60 percent of those living with HIV.

2. Support economic opportunities for girls and women, so they don’t have to trade sex for food, school fees or shelter.

3. Help men and boys act responsibly, especially to end sexual violence and coercion.

4. Make sure every health service organization provides full, accurate information on HIV prevention, including condoms.

5. Save the girls and boys: Offer comprehensive sexuality education.

6. Save mothers and fathers so that babies born free of HIV are not soon orphaned.

7. Restore funding for the U.N. Population Fund, a pivotal agency needed to address this crisis.

8. Get rid of the “global gag rule,” which says any organization receiving funding from the United States cannot refer to abortion, and is decimating women’s health services.

9. Support the grandmothers, older sisters, aunts and wives who provide most of the care for orphaned children and sick adults.

10. Invest in the health system to ensure sexual and reproductive health services and palliative HIV/AIDS care along with HIV testing and treatment.



International Women’s Health Coalition

New York #

Yom Kippur: Fast, not feast

I enjoy your paper every morning with my coffee.

However, I almost spilled my coffee yesterday morning when I saw that you referred to Yom Kippur as a “feast” (“Yom Kippur ritual,” photo, Page 1). I assume you meant “fast.” In Leviticus 16:29 and Leviticus 23:27, it clearly states that Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and repentance. “This is an eternal law for all your generations.”

This day of fasting is so strict and important that even less-observant Jews fast on this day.

With regard to the photo of the chicken: This is a very minor part of the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The ritual is known as Kaporos. We take a chicken, slaughter it in the prescribed way to make it kosher, and, typically, distribute the meat to poor people. This serves a double purpose. One is to perform the lofty deed of charity, which God loves and requires. It also enables us to look at the chicken and think, “There but by the grace of God go I.” This gives us a feeling of closeness to our Creator, and this closeness helps us repent on Yom Kippur. It also is a symbolic sacrifice to atone for our sins.

The main point of the day is introspection and repenting directly to God (no middleman needed). We acknowledge our sins and determine to try to do better in the coming year. The most important part of the whole period is apologizing to our fellow man for any wrong we may have done to him.

Thank you for your excellent and evenhanded newspaper.



Elia Kazan — patriot

Elia Kazan, the celebrated stage and film genius, died Sunday at age 94. He richly deserves the lavish praise he has received in the obituaries. He does not deserve the gratuitous and slanted references some of his obituaries have made to his decision to name Hollywood colleagues who had been or were members of the American Communist Party (“Director Kazan is dead at 94,” Nation, Monday).

On April 10, 1952, Mr. Kazan reluctantly gave to the House Un-American Activities Committee the names of eight Hollywood figures who had been associated with him when he was briefly a party member. (Incidentally, one obituary referred to the committee as an “aggressive communist-hunting arm of Congress.”) Mr. Kazan felt it was his patriotic duty to reveal the names of persons affiliated with a party controlled by agents of the Soviet Union who were seeking to subvert the United States.

In response to Mr. Kazan’s testimony, New York’s Village Voice called him “the Lucifer of the Old Left.” Others called him a McCarthyite Judas who saved his own skin by destroying the careers of others whose only sin, as one obituary put it, had simply been “a political affiliation, in many cases, years earlier.” Since 1952, Mr. Kazan has been widely criticized and even shunned by sectors of the liberal intellectual class. Finally, in 1999, perhaps out of unacknowledged shame for the smearing a great American had suffered, Mr. Kazan was given an honorary Oscar.

The long and tenacious assault from the left flies in the face of the facts. In the 1940s and 1950s, Soviet agents were actively using American party members and others to try to achieve their subversive ends. This was known at the time by key government officials and informed American researchers, such as Eric Breindel and Herbert Romerstein. Their findings have been documented in subsequent scholarly books. Some of this research is based on the 1995 Venona Papers — the secret traffic from and to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the 1940s that the U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted and decrypted — now available to scholars and journalists.

Herbert Romerstein, co-author of “The Venona Secrets,” published in 2000, told me that he knew in 1952 that Elia Kazan’s testimony was accurate. Further, in his view, Mr. Kazan “did the right thing” in exposing members of the Communist Party in Hollywood. From my own acquaintance with the relevant literature, I concur.

The Berlin Wall has fallen. The “Evil Empire” is gone. When will the liberal-left throw off its obsession with anti-anti-communism?


Chevy Chase

The pot calling the kettle black

I wholeheartedly concur with Wednesday’s editorial “Out the outers — now,” reinforced by Tony Blankley’s Op-Ed column on the same day, “Managing a scandal,” that President Bush should pull a pre-emptive strike immediately and conduct his own investigation as to whether White House officials illegally disclosed the identity of a CIA agent for political purposes.

This would be by far the most statesmanlike approach and would abruptly cut the rug out from under the ilk of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, who dashed to corral reporters to a corner in a marble hall of the Capitol on Tuesday to demand that a special independent counsel be appointed to investigate this serious claim affecting national security.

Mrs. Pelosi should be reminded that many Americans recall when top Justice Department fund-raising investigator Charles LaBella sent a memo to Attorney General Janet Reno asking for an independent counsel to investigate the Chinese attempts to buy the 1996 election for President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore that Miss Reno refused. Mrs. Pelosi also should be reminded, as Miss Reno well knew, that several of those who bought their way into Mr. Clinton’s Oval Office for coffee had strong Chinese ties to raise campaign funds — some even from the Chinese army.

Apparently, at that time and during the Clinton administration, Mrs. Pelosi didn’t consider any of this to be a serious matter affecting national security or requiring an independent counsel to investigate.

What’s all this about the pot calling the kettle black, congresswoman?


Indian Wells, Calif.

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