Your reporter, Mr. Eichenberger's, remarks about North Carolina's Confederate Flag Day being "rooted in white supremacy" are ridiculous as well as absurd ("Rebels rally and show their true stripes," March 10).
If this event was truly hosted by white supremacists, I as a woman of mixed race would not have been welcome, nor would my Confederate ancestor--who was a Native American (Choctaw, to be exact).
The Confederate Army included Jews (including General Moses, who died begging Yankee troops to stop killing his men, who had surrendered at Mobile), Native American soldiers such as my great-great-grandfather (and
General Stand Watie), Hispanics, Chinese (in a Louisiana regiment) and even African-Americans. The Confederate Army also practiced racial inclusiveness by not segregating non-white soldiers, unlike the Union Army, which placed non-white soldiers in separate regiments. How's that for "inclusiveness" and "diversity"?
I am disgusted, sickened, and enraged when I see white supremacists flying my Confederate ancestor's beloved flags, but remember that these bigots also display the American flag and the Christian flag. Should we ban those flags too?
Mr. Eichenberger owes an apology to everyone who attended this event.
Helaina Hinson Burton
Terror by any name
About Mr. Hart's comments regarding the Madrid terrorist attack ("Manipulating Terror," March 17), I do not want to get into a discussion of ETA's motives, since that would be too long and too complicated for a letter to the editor. I would just want to remind Mr. Hart that ETA has killed more than 700 people--more than 300 of them civilians--since the advent of democracy in Spain in 1977, and that I have never heard of any Spaniards feeling thankful to ETA for calling ahead (sometimes) before detonating a bomb.
Mr. Hart also writes that: "It [ETA] considered them [policemen and soldiers] an occupying force," but to write this is an incomplete statement to a reader who is not too familiar with Spain's history and current situation; it makes this terrorist group that has been causing bloodshed in my country for too many years now sound like freedom fighters, which I am sure that is what they consider themselves to be.
How a democratic country could be thankful to a terrorist group for calling ahead of a bomb explosion and killing "only" 2 or 3 people on each attack is beyond me.
The March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid might show many things, but one of them is not the mindfulness of one terrorist organization over another.
Harmony can happen
Godfrey Cheshire wrote a brilliant critique of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ ("The Temple of Narcissus," March 3) and two weeks later, two letters chastising Cheshire's efforts appeared. One of them criticized Cheshire for alleging that the Abrahamic religions can be harmonized through "some vague movement."
Interestingly, there is a religion that clearly teaches that the religions will find harmony. The Baha'i Faith defines the religions as one unfolding spiritual system.
The Baha'i Faith can be likened to an ocean. On the surface are important principles: gender equality, racial equality, universal education, scientific research and the abolition of poverty, extreme wealth and prejudice.
In its depths, one finds other precepts, some of which explain how the religions are actually parts of one progressive cause. This, unfortunately, is not the space for exhaustive proofs. Here is but one person's simplified perspective.
Judaism, though deeper than this sentence, was founded on the concept of living by divine law.
Christianity reoriented the concept of faith. We need faith in ourselves and faith in an idea greater than ourselves to truly be effective human beings.
Islam teaches the unity between spirituality and every day life. As a result, sciences, master architecture and the like came upon the world. Also, the great works of the God-acknowledging ancient philosophers, once lost, were reintroduced to the West by Muslims. Each religion contributes in spiritual quality, and other religions and humanists shouldn't be left out while exploring this idea.
The Baha'i Faith asks us to focus on fostering heaven (peace) on earth instead of personal salvation alone. It explains superstitious dogma and calls for the end to religious squabbling. It calls for the peoples of the world to become united and offers reasons and proofs.
This is no vague world movement.
In last week's Burtman column, a wrong first name was given for Jim Coman of the state attorney general's office and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was misidentified.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to email@example.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.