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         Letter to the editor,  Christian Science Monitor, October 30, 2006

         Do fences make good neighbors or just put off problem solving?

To the editor:

Your Oct. 19 editorial about fences was outstanding - well thought out and well written. It ends by saying that, "[F]ences stand as sentinels to unsolved problems...." and that these issues "will need facing up to."

When Korea was divided into North and South, the two nations talked less with each other and, consequently, understand each other less today. This has led to increased trouble between them.

Currently, Syria wants to talk with Israel, but Israel has dismissed Syria's offer. Many Israelis feel that war with Syria is inevitable. Would war be preferable to talking?

Governments could save a lot of time, money, and lives by dealing with their problems promptly and solving them realistically.

Unsolved issues need facing up to in our personal lives as well as in international relations. In 1943, as a sophomore in college, I was afraid of everything and everybody. Then I asked myself, "What would happen if your worst fears were to come true? Which is worse, your fear or having your fears realized?"

"Oh," I said, "the fear is worse." Then the solution was evident: Go out and meet the fears and deal with them as soon as possible.

Fear of terrorists was the reason the US was willing to engage in a preemptive war. Fear is the reason we tolerate the loss of habeas corpus, the inhumane treatment of prisoners, the death of our sons. We have been led to think that it is unpatriotic to ask how we can better understand why some Muslims and Arabs hate us enough to be suicide bombers. We need to stop being afraid and go on to solve the world's problems instead of making them worse.

Eunice B. Ordman
Memphis, Tenn.

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