Reactions to killing present a challenge
The response of Americans to the death of Osama bin Laden provides a window into our moral character. Part of what we see is hopeful while other scenes are troubling.
Expressions of relief that his terroristic leadership is over and that justice has prevailed are worth noting. However, expressions of jubilation over his death or the triumph of vengeance need to be challenged.
In the past few days, I have had conversations with people of different faiths who are deeply reflective of a profound paradox: how to engage a powerful evil with a message of non-violence and justice.
There should be no easy acceptance or celebration over the death of any person. The elimination of evil by an act of violence should leave us conflicted. Killing and violence affect the spirit of a country and the soul of every individual.
We need to focus our energy and efforts on compassion for all people, on community building and on caring for all creation.
The Rev. John Heidel
President, The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii
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Muslims are victims of al-Qaida, too
One thing that needs to be repeated about Osama bin Laden is that he and those who follow him have killed many more Muslims and non-Westerners than Americans or other Westerners.
A West Point study using Arabic media sources to avoid charges of bias found non-Westerners much more likely to be killed in an al-Qaida attack. From 2004 to 2008, only 15 percent of 3,010 victims were Western.
A non-Western person was 54 times more likely to die in an al- Qaida attack.
Notwithstanding the tragic Twin Towers toll, the overwhelming majority of al-Qaida victims are Muslims in Muslim countries, including many citizens of Iraq.
Don’t release photos of bin Laden’s corpse
The government should not release photographs of Osama bin Laden’s corpse because such a decision would serve only to incite the baser instincts of the American public.
A crowd of Americans chanting slogans celebrating the death of bin Laden looks little different from the news clips of Arabic people chanting slogans celebrating the deaths of Americans.
Fellow citizens of the world, are we not better than this?
Subcontractors now will be double-taxed
Subcontractors have always been subject to pay the general excise tax, just like general contractors.
Now general contractors will pay the GET on top of subcontract work.
This means that subcontractors will pay the GET and then general contractors will pay the GET on that same subcontract work.
This is not the end of a tax exemption. This is a new, additional tax that results in double taxation of subcontract work.
The government must do better than simply increase taxes on surviving businesses, who have already made more than their fair share of tough decisions.
Better pay needed for people in nursing
The state, with the cooperation of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, is creating an environment where experienced, educated state nurses are leaving and nursing staffs are being manipulated and split according to haves and have nots, haggling over wages, broken promises, misinformation and intimidation.
Is this how they mean to get affordable health care for all — on the backs of labor, again?
This does not improve the quality of our community’s health care. In fact, it deteriorates it.
The government says we need to pay good wages to employees in order to get the best and the brightest working to solve our problems.
Apparently this applies only to top management, and their solution is to pay the workers less.
Environmental bills deserved passage
The 2011 Hawaii legislative session was a disappointing and unproductive one in addressing important environmental issues.
Several critical bills unceremoniously died rather than passing out of House-Senate conference as expected for a vote.
These included the reallocation of income from the barrel tax to aptly fund clean energy programs, much-needed funding for the Office of Environmental Quality Control, and the proposed offset fee on single-use checkout bags that enjoyed widespread support and is critical to protecting marine life and our beautiful local environment, mitigating clean-up costs, and reducing fossil fuel consumption.
Legislators who denied these bills are giving Hawaii the image that not only are we not leaders in addressing environmental issues, but that this year we will fall short across the board in addressing environmental issues.
Our isles’ natural resources are our most important resources. I hope in 2012 the Legislature’s priorities will be better decided.
Joy Leilei Shih
Surfrider Foundation, Honolulu
Funding not needed to assure class time
Thank you, Kathy Bryant-Hunter and Melanie Bailey, for putting forward a sensible solution to give students more instruction time without additional expenditure ("School reform at no cost," Island Voices, Star-Advertiser, April 28).
The chart illustrating the differences in student hours between schools proved a real eye-opener — more than one hour per day between the schools with the least and the most hours.
That kids at some high schools receive less than 4.5 hours instruction time in a 7-hour day blows my mind.
As the article points out, two local secondary schools — operating under the existing teacher contract — are already in compliance with the first phase of Act 167.
If their teachers and staffs can do it, why can’t other schools?