O U R R E A D E R S W R I T E
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I read your article on the library preservation department with interest and personal sorrow ["Preservation's Crumbling Future," June]. Although I graduated as a science major at Hopkins, my real love is still American history. After completing medical school, I returned to the Hopkins medical system for internship through fellowship training. On a rare free afternoon, my wife and I drove to New Market, Maryland, where I found a true treasure in an old bookstore. Tossed into three large boxes was the complete 58 volumes of The Nile's Weekly Register (an important periodical published in Baltimore from 1811 to 1840). The bindings were broken, the pages loose. I saw firsthand accounts of the Battle of Waterloo and the Alamo; speeches and letters from Jefferson, Adams, and Jackson; and an 1814 printing of "a nice patriotic poem" by Francis Scott Key. The information could not be enjoyed in its present condition.
I remembered seeing the preservation department in the library during my undergraduate years, so I brought my mess to the best. For the past 23 years I have proudly displayed my treasure, and I have spent countless hours reading and cataloging the volumes that are beautifully bound and restored.
Lloyd Stahl, A&S '77
I was dismayed to see the picture of President Bush in your June issue ["The Big Picture: Up Close and Personal with the President"], along with the absurd quote, "you need to seriously consider whether or not this country of ours is going to be confident enough to continue to lead." Is President Bush seriously implying that he has provided leadership, either domestically or abroad? I sincerely hope that graduates of SAIS develop the critical thinking skills to realize that this presidency has been an unmitigated disaster, from Iraq to Katrina to fiscal policy. If this is leadership, our country is in serious trouble.
Karen Schlain, Engr '82
"Up Close and Personal with the President" was demoralizing. The SAIS staff "worked around the clock" so President Bush could use Hopkins credentials for a photo-op on the anniversary of "the fall of Baghdad."
The sheer narcissism, risk-aversion, deference, and partisanship of the event and its report in the magazine betray the intellectual and political standards Johns Hopkins values. I know that SAIS is a policy school, and I am glad that some students there "signed a memo" that "respectfully criticized" Bush's foreign policy. But it is a disgrace if Johns Hopkins or SAIS is obsequious enough to slave for the president without mentioning publicly — even as a minority criticism — that Iraq "fell" to illegal and murderous invasion and occupation by a war-criminal administration carrying out a vicious and self-defeating "war on terror" with equally thuggish allies and uncounted civilian corpses to show for it.
Sayres Rudy, SAIS '90
I was enthralled with the story of the trip to the Galapagos Islands ["In Darwin's Footsteps," June] and the marvelous pictures of the animals there; such astonishing and unique creatures are a wonder to behold. "I couldn't stop thinking about it," Charlie Stine says. "How in God's name did any of these species ever get a population started in the first place?" Did he unwittingly answer his own question?
Margaret Cousar Tooke, Nurs '56, BA, BSN, RN,
I would like to congratulate Peter Bergen and Catherine Pierre on "Knowing Osama" [February], Bergen for the substance, Pierre for an excellent presentation. Bergen's view is the most clear-headed I have seen in a long time (though admittedly he steers clear of prescriptions). If this is typical of current work by SAIS professors, it may almost be time for me to forgive SAIS for having served as an incubator for Paul Wolfowitz.
Sam Keiter, SAIS '55
I was very interested in the article "Shock Treatment" [April]. Dr. Eddie Cornwell's work in community-based violence prevention is indeed commendable. I am sure that trauma surgery is exciting work. However, one should not mistake the lack of drama in other fields of medicine for lack of importance. Practicing primary care medicine often requires such visits as the one described in the second paragraph of the article. Since most primary care physicians enjoy long-term relationships with their patients, these visits are both clinically important and gratifying for the physician. I recently received a note from a young mother that both she and her own mother have now stopped smoking. No big drama here, but my assistance has not only improved the health and long-term outlook for this woman, it has also helped her mother and the two small children in the family. That note made my day.
So of course, Dr. Cornwell's work is very important. But so is that which does not make for newspaper headlines or magazine articles. It should not be necessary to talk about one while seeming to belittle the other.
Mindy E. Steinholz, MD, A&S '88
In a letter in the April 2006 issue, Timothy L. Huettner takes to task the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, for our opposition to the Iraq war. I will not go into the inaccuracies of Huettner's letter in this response, but will correct the record.
AFSC values every human life and believes that there is a spark of the divine in every person. That is why we helped persecuted Jews escape from Germany during the Nazi regime and that is why we worked to free Japanese Americans interned in isolation camps during World War II.
We are proud of our stance and actions against all wars. The war in Iraq is just the latest and most egregious. AFSC was created by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1917 to provide alternative service (driving ambulances, etc.) rather than military service for conscientious objectors to war. A pre-emptive war strategy contradicts all that we stand for and affirm. We believe that addressing the oppression of people who are marginalized, the root cause of war, would go a long way toward bringing peace to the world.
AFSC believes that it is our duty to stand up in protest when we disagree with our government's actions. That is what freedom is all about. It is not just a right, it is a responsibility.
The Eyes Wide Open exhibit, hosted on the Hopkins campus, is AFSC's effort to show the true cost of war. Recent polls show that a majority of people in this country agree that this war in Iraq was ill-conceived and badly executed. It continues to result in the deaths not only of young American soldiers but also thousands of innocent Iraqi children, women, and men. People are beginning to get the message and calling on their elected officials to bring an end to this shameful war.
Mary Ellen McNish, SPSBE '93
In the story "In Darwin's Footsteps," we incorrectly identified Charlie Stine's degrees. Stine received his Sc.D. from the School of Public Health in 1971 and an MLA from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in 1983.
In "Preservation's Crumbling Future," we misspelled Sophia Jordan-Mowery's name.
The magazine regrets the errors.
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