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Wednesday, December 31, 2003





Pause and remember why we celebrate

Bright lights, noise, maddening crowds in the mall -- this seems to be the scene at Christmas time more and more each year.

Yet in the stillness of midnight on Christmas Eve, most of the world stops fighting and puts differences and hatred aside to observe peace and love.

Why do we react like this? We do so because more than 2,000 years ago a poor infant was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Here was the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace and he came humbly into the world because he loved us.

Many stories have been told of people who loved each other and shared with each other during this miraculous season. One story that comes to mind is the Christmas truce of 1914 when during World War I the German and British soldiers laid down their weapons to celebrate together.

It would be a tragic thing if we permit organizations or individuals to diminish the meaning of Christ's birth. As trite as it may seem to some, Jesus really is the reason for the season. It is a time of love.

Esther Gefroh
Honolulu

Apologists for Saddam are everywhere

Unfortunately, the flight of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ended without a Benito Mussolini scenario (he was killed and then hung upside-down in the public square), but at least a cache of written goodies was recovered. However, the capture has opened the floodgates for sob-sisters ranging from the pope, learned law professors and assorted shysters, media pundits, presidential candidates, the U.N. head honcho, assorted elected officials, and so-called security experts, all having a say on the next move to be made with him.

Most all have a central theme of no death penalty, years of a trial of some type with subsequent unending appeals, no further photos of teeth or tonsils, a good on-call barber, spiffy uniforms and don't forget to continue to round-up the usual suspects.

Perhaps there should be an international conference at The Neverland Ranch to reach a consensus. Oh, Jack Ruby, where were you when we needed help?

Frank D. Slocum
Waianae

Result of a mother's lie is disturbingly ironic

Kalena Santos misrepresented her ancestry when she submitted her son's application for admission to Kamehameha Schools. By not checking the appropriate box, she failed to admit she was Hawaiian by adoption, not by birth (despite Judge Ezra's claim that Santos did not "knowingly" lie on her son's application).

She sued the school over its Hawaiians-only policy on the basis that it is discriminatory, yet now proudly claims "we're very proud that we are Hawaiians."

She also extended hanai rights to her son.

Then "three businessmen agree(d) to pay some of a student's legal bills," one of whom is known to be a "vocal defender of his family's role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy" (Thurston Twigg-Smith).

And to top it all off, Santos and her son make the Star-Bulletin's list of "10 Who Made a Difference" in 2003.

What she did was a most un-Hawaiian thing. Hawaiians are taught never to lie, cheat, be fraudulent or try to hurt our own people.

Yes, all irony at its best.

Lisa Noelani Robbins
Newport News, Va.
Kamehameha Schools Class of 1985

It's unsafe to waive visas for S. Koreans

I suspect that proponents for visa waivers for South Koreans, and their supporters in Hawaii who complain about the differential status accorded to Japanese visitors, are knowingly ducking the issues that account for the difference (Editorial, Dec. 24).

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that the bane to South Koreans not achieving visa waiver status is in part due to North Korea, which has been labeled as part of the "axis of evil" by President Bush.

It's no great secret that there are many South Koreans who are sympathetic to the dire plight of the North Koreans and as such could willingly and even unwittingly compromise the security of the United States.

These northern sympathizers in the South are a sizable political force. It's also well-known that there are North Korean agents who have infiltrated and successfully assimilated into South Korea. It would be a cake-walk for them to enter the United States under a visa waiver system. They also are the likely leading instigators of the anti-U.S. public demonstrations that flare up in the South periodically. The latest happened but a few months ago triggered by the exoneration of two U.S. servicemen for the accidental deaths of two Korean teenagers. The raucous demonstrators demanded a pull out of U.S. troops. When our defense secretary issued a public statement as to his willingness to do exactly that, the president of South Korea in haste issued a public plea to maintain the status quo.

It's the presence of the U.S. troops there that is the critical barrier preventing the North from attempting another invasion.

Yes, South Korea is an ally of the United States. For security purposes, however, they are inextricably tied to the North, which I believe is the defining factor in preventing South Korean visitors from attaining their wished-for U.S. visa waivers.

To compare their status to that of the Japanese is folly. Japan fortunately is not saddled with their equivalent of a North Korea. A settled and wealthy nation, Japan is at peace with itself and the world. Japan threatens no one and is an asset to the world at large. The United States has come to rely on Japan as a dependable ally.

Visa waiver status for Japanese travelers is most appropriate and is no risk to the United States.

Larry Hayashida
Wahiawa

Claims about mad cow aren't reassuring

So glad to hear there is no danger from mad cow disease for the people of Hawaii. Did they tell the 150 people in England who died from it that they were in no danger, too?

We couldn't find out which stores had the mad cow meat because the people who knew had a day off ! It's hard to figure how many people, public and private, should lose their jobs over this.

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]


What should the city do with
the elegant old sewage pump station?

It's empty and fading, and now it's taking a beating from all the construction going on around it. The O.G. Traphagen-designed sewage pump station on Ala Moana Boulevard, more than a century old, is a monument to the glory days of municipal architecture, when city fathers took such pride in their community that even a humble sewage station became a landmark structure. Millions of tourists drive by it every year, and it's an embarrassing reminder of how poorly Honolulu treats its historic landmarks. Over the years, dozens of uses and excuses and blue-sky speculations have been suggested for the striking structure. Now we're asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Kimo Q. Publique, what should the city do with the elegant old pump building?


Send your ideas and solutions by Jan. 15 to:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or mail them to:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
Star-Bulletin
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750


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How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
E-mail: letters@starbulletin.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813




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