Letters to the Editor 9/26

Printing photo of man falling still not justified

While I understand the need to convey human tragedy, I feel that there are more tactful ways of doing so than showing people plunging to their death as The Oracle, among many other newspapers, chose to do.

Kevin Graham stated in his column that ?Journalism students are more educated when it comes to the language of the media in deciding what is newsworthy.?

As a mass communications major, I personally am disgusted by the image of the man jumping to his death. Yes, “death was certain” for this individual, as it was for many.

We know this. We understand this. We do not need pictures to tell us this piece of information. Family members are looking for a watch, a wallet, a patch of clothing they saw their loved one wearing that morning ? anything to give them closure.

The last thing these human beings (and let us be reminded, these people are human beings, just like you and I) need is to see their loved one plunging to their death.

As students of this university, we were not in New York City, therefore we have not seen any of this chaos firsthand. Nevertheless, we know what exists.

We know several leapt to their deaths. We know bodies are not intact. We know all that is left of the World Trade Center is a pile of rubble five stories high and many grieving families on the surrounding ground. Many in the city are coping with this and much more. These grueling images will stay to haunt their minds forever.

Mr. Graham, you worded it very well; he was someone?s brother, father, son, friend and/or co-worker. How do you think those surrounding him feel, knowing the last image they have of him was not a smiling one, but one of him jumping to his death some tens of stories below?

I ask you, the editors of The Oracle, would you still run the image if this man was your friend or relative just because it was “newsworthy”?

As a mass communications major, this particular photograph was discussed in my classes, along with many others. The verdict was that the media needs to have a heart and show some sympathy. This does not involve one death, it involves thousands.

If a man is shot in the back of the head, is that image shown in the local paper? No. So what makes these deaths any different?

I understand that this affects all of America in some way, shape or form. But people are still people, and emotions run the same. Conveying human tragedy is one thing.

Sacrificing human beings’ feelings is yet another.

Meredith Duba is a junior majoring in mass communications.

Terrorism marks war against mankind, civilization

I planned to send my first news story to a Georgian daily paper about my nice impressions of and warm feelings for America and Americans. Instead, I sent news coverage about terrorist attacks. They were not attacks on the American people but attacks on mankind, humanity and civilization in general.

I have never been so unhappy since experiencing the ethnic war in the northwest of my country. It is Abhazia and is the oldest Georgian region, temporarily split off by separatists from the Republic of Georgia. Here in 1992-1994, thousands of innocent people were killed during an ethnic war. Thus I am from a small and unprotected country and I know about the mass killing of innocent people.

I have special reasons for my love of Americans and why I respect this country. In addition to my job at the university and newspaper in my home country, during these past three years I worked with refugee children from Abhazia. I have not participated in the ethnic war that tore my country into pieces. I am from a different peaceful region of Georgia where the city of Batumi is located and escaped the disaster of ethnic conflicts and civil war.

But I see war through the children?s beautiful and innocent eyes; children with one family member alive, their parents and relatives having been killed in the mad war in Abhazia. They lost everything and lost their happy childhoods, but we, through the help of our American friends, give them some warmth and love. I see what Americans do for our orphaned children within the projects and outside of the projects and I thank you for your enormous kindness.

Thus I took very hard the Americans? national tragedy as though it happened in my own home country. My parents and friends phone daily. People are shocked in Georgia and I can say all Georgian people are with you. People in the capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi, bring flowers to the American Embassy to share their sorrow with this nation.

I completely disapproved of the scenes of some Palestinians after the terrorists? attack. I do not think they express the opinion of all Palestinian people or the opinion of the nearly seven million Muslims living in the United States, many of whom have already received threats.

It is useless to speak or negotiate with terrorists and even separatists. The Georgian government has been ?negotiating? with separatists for more than eight years, but in vain. Thousands of Georgians are still refugees while the separatists responsible for the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Georgians go unpunished.

However, the international community, specifically the Western countries (among them the United States), considers Abhazia an integral part of Georgia, but the ethnic cleansing of Georgians has gone unrecognized.

America was the first country that recognized Georgia?s independence. It is a country that saved my people from starvation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is the country that entirely supports, financially and morally, the building of open and democratic societies in Georgia and helps this little nation find real independence and freedom.

I think President Bush is right: the terrorists failed. They destroyed the Twin Towers, but they can?t undermine the basic foundation of America. If they were able to do so, countries like Georgia would not have a future. America took responsibility to protect democracy and freedom, to keep peace and universal high values. Now, we all see how hard that is.

That is why America has enemies ? dark, cowardly and even more dangerous than communism. I can name two brutal enemies of world civilization ? global warming and world terrorism.

I am an Orthodox Christian and Christianity teaches us to love our enemies, but I cannot love those responsible for terrorist attacks. That is why I support your president who swore that America would not tolerate terrorists nor those who harbor them. Otherwise, it would be impossible to prevent such actions that must not happen in a civilized world ever.

Maya Beridze is a Junior Faculty Development Program fellow.

Countries have right to defend against terrorists

The Palestinians live in poverty because it serves their leaders. Keeping the people in desolation and feeding them hate makes murderers and martyrs. If the Palestinians would make a genuine peace with Israel, they would take part in an economic interdependence and revival. But if they are going to send terrorists, the Israelis have every right to close their borders and take defensive action.

Why don’t you ask Mr. Arafat to release some of the 20-plus billion dollars he has sitting in Swiss banks accounts that he skimmed from relief aid for his people?

Then Mr. Arafat can strap a bomb to his well-fed belly and blow himself up. That will mean one less terrorist the United States and Israel has to deal with and maybe the Palestinians will be free to make a peaceful and profitable treaty with Israel.

Eve Royffe is an academic adviser for the School of Mass Communications.Bring letters to the editor and guest columns to The Oracle newsroom, 0002 SVC Basement.

  • Fax us a letter at (813) 974-4887. Letters also are accepted by e-mail atoracleopinion@yahoo.com
  • Letters and guest columns must be submitted with student?s name, year and major. Faculty and staff members must include rank and department. All others include author?s hometown.
  • Please include a phone number (not for publication) so we may verify authorship.
  • All letters and columns are subject to editing.
  • The Oracle reserves the right to not publish any letter or column.