Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 26, 2002 · Page 6
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 6

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Saturday, October 26, 2002
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Page 6
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VIEWPOINT "The Gazette wants to be the friend of every man, the promulgates of all that's right, a welcome guest in the home. We want to build up, not tear down; to help, not to hinder; and to assist every worthy person in the community without reference to race, religion or politics. Our cause will be the broadening and bettering of the county's interests." — Indiana Gazette, 1890 Saturday, October 26,2002 - Page 6 The Indiana Gazette Saudis in bikinis By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF New York Times News Service RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — On my first evening in Riyadh, I spotted a surreal scene: three giggly black ghosts, possibly young women enveloped in black cloaks called abayas, clustered around a display ; in a shopping mall, enthusiastically fingering a blouse so sheer and low-cut that my wife would never be caught dead in it. Afterward, I delicately asked a Saudi woman to explicate the scene. "What do you think the 'black ghosts' wear underneath their abayas?" she replied archly. Saudi women may be regarded in the West as antique doormats covered in black veils, but the women themselves vigorously reject that stereotype. "It hurts when you hear what people say about us, that we're repressed," Monira Abdulaziz, an assistant professor, said reproachfully. "I cover up my body and my face, and I'm happy that I'm a religious girl obeying God's rules," a dietitian named Lana scolded me after I wrote a typically snide reference to repressed Saudi women. "I can swim and do sports and go to restaurants and wear what I want, but not in front of men. Why should I show my legs and breasts to men? Is that really freedom?" In Riyadh, several Saudi women offered the same scathing critique, effectively arguing that Saudi women are the free ones — free from sexual harassment, free from pornography, free from seeing their bodies used to market cars and colas. It is Western women, they say, who have been manipulated into becoming the toys of men. Saudi Arabia is a bizarre place. It has McDonald's restaurants that look just like those at home except that there is one line for men and one for women. The newspaper Al Riyadh has female journalists, but they're kept in their own room; when a male editor must edit a woman's copy, he does it by phone. Saudi women wear bikinis — but only in home swimming pools or in all-women pools. They claim that this reflects a culture they cherish. "You can't go to an Indian woman and say, 'Why are you wearing a sari?'" fumed Hend al-Khuthaila, a university professor who was the first female university dean in Saudi Arabia. "You can't go up to a Western woman and say, 'Why are you wearing a short dress?' Well, this is our abaya. This is part of my culture. It's part of my tradition. It never bothered me." Maha Muneef, a female pediatrician, emphasized that Saudi Arabia was progressing, albeit more slowly than many women would like. "My mother didn't go to any school at all, because then there were no girls' schools at all," she said. "My older sister, who is 20 years older than me, she went up to the sixth grade and then quit, because the feeling was that a girl only needs to learn to read and write. Then I went to college and medical school on scholarship to the States. My daughter, maybe she'll be president, or an astronaut." Another doctor, Hanan Balkhy, seemed ambivalent. "I don't think women here have equal opportunities," she acknowledged. "There are meetings I can't go to. There are buildings I can't go into. But you have to look at the context of development. Discrimination will take time to overcome." Balkhy emphasized that Saudi women want to solve their problems themselves. All this created an awkward series of interviews. I kept asking women how they felt about being repressed, and they kept answering indignantly that they weren't repressed. So what should we make of this? Is it paternalistic of us in the West to try to liberate women who insist that they're happy as they are? No, I think we're on firm ground. If most Saudi women want to wear a tent, if they don't want to drive, then that's fine. But why not give them the choice? Why ban female drivers and why empower the religious police, the mutawwa, to scold those loose hussies who choose to show a patch of hair? If Saudi Arabians choose to kill their economic development and sacrifice international respect by clinging to the 15th century, if the women prefer to remain second- class citizens, then I suppose that's their choice. But if anyone chooses to behave so foolishly, is it any surprise that outsiders point and jeer? Lessons from the sniper By CHARLEY REESE King Features Syndicate By the time you read this, the Washington, D.C.,-area sniper might have been killed or captured, gone to ground or killed again. The main lesson we can learn from this is Just how much disruption one angry person with a rifle can cause. Again, it spotlights how vulnerable we are to acts of terrorism. Whether this shooter's motives are political or religious, I don't know, but I suspect the shooter is not a teenager who's filled his head with too many video games. Most teenagers don't have the experience to be as elusive as this guy. As for being a loser, etc., as the blowhard talking heads on television have been saying, maybe and maybe not. He has certainly been successful at killing people. Most of the shots have been at relatively short distances. That does not require any special training. Most anybody can hit a human being at 100 yards using a rifle, even if he or she has never fired one before. Real snipers are trained to hit targets at much greater distances, and we've seen no evidence of this. This is just a guy shooting people from a short distance and getting away. It's never as easy to find one person as it seems to be on TV shows. There are 5 million people in the Washington area. If he keeps on killing in the same area, he will get caught. His luck will run out, or some cop will be, by coincidence, in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps an acquaintance or a friend will make that phone call the cops keep hoping to get. The problem I have with a sort of round-the-clock television coverage, aside from it being 10 percent news and 90 percent bull, is mat it is telling a lot of people that if they crave attention or desire to cause disruption in the United States, here is how to do it. What television networks should be doing is reporting new facts when they have any and otherwise ^ignoring the story. They are , demonstrating why 24-hour news ' stations are a bad idea. 1 When someone gets shot, that's news. You can report who, what, when and where. Then a long process of non-news starts — processing the crime scene, doing the lab work and doing all the police work that rightfully Is none of the public's business and at any rate Is tedious and nondramatlc. It is silly as hell to keep saying every 30 minutes, "We're now going to Suzy Big Eyes for the latest on the sniper killings" when, in fact, there is no latest Information. A brief, non-melodramatic summary of the facts for five minutes once an hour would make the world seem much more normal. The gun-control crowd, among the most unethical of all special-interest groups, has leaped forward to try to gain some political advantage at the expense of the dead and the grieving. Their pet project now is a federal law requiring that all firearms be "fingerprinted." What they mean is that a sample bullet and serial number of every gun manufactured should be turned over to the FBI so it can create a database. Actually, I have no particular objection to this, but it is being way oversold, and the benefits, if any, would not justify the cost and trouble, which would be enormous. In die first place, mere are well more than 100 million guns in existence that would not be in the database. In the second place, since firearms are continuously manufactured but in relatively small quantities, it would take several generations before you would have enough sample bullets for a useful database. The only thing such a database could tell you is die last time the firearm was legally purchased from a federally licensed dealer. Nine times out of 10, the original legal purchaser will not be the person who is using the firearm in a criminal fashion. Firearms have a longer life than cars, and they get stolen or sold or traded. And finally, after much usage or a barrel change, the "fingerprint" no longer matches. We'd be better off to use that enormous cost to hire additional police. (Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando. FL 32802) IMUOWEBK Dark days for California GOP By WILLIAM RUSHER Newspaper Enterprise Assn. Just as Republican prospects at the national level seem to be brightening perceptibly, California Republicans are bracing for bad news on Election Day. Their candidate for governor. Bill Simon, is a thoroughly decent and able man, well qualified to run against the incumbent Democrat, Gray Davis. Moreover, Davis' approval rating with the voters is notably low — partly as a result of his ham-handed handling of the state's energy crisis last year, and partly because of his rather wooden personality. One gets the impression that many Californians would enjoy voting against Davis if only an acceptable alternative appeared. But Simon has yet to make the case that he is that alternative. His campaign has been dogged by a series of blunders, almost all of which could have been avoided with better management by his staff. In the most recent case, Simon charged that Davis had accepted a large campaign con- tribution in his office in Sacramento (which would have been illegal, because state law forbids soliciting contributions in government offices). Simon's team produced a photo graph of the governor accepting the check. Unfortunately, the photograph shows enough background detail to establish that it wasn't taken in the governor's office at all, and it was quickly established that the contribution was perfectly legal. One of Simon's campaign managers accepted full responsibility for the gaffe, but the egg was all over Simon's face. Of course, it is always possible that Simon will pull off an upset, as he did in his primary race against Richard Riordan, the mayor of Los Angeles. Riordan, a formidable contender with a high recognition factor, was everybody's odds-on favorite to win the primary. But he offended conservative Republicans with his ultra-liberal views on many subjects. When the smoke blew away it was Simon whom Republicans had chosen to carry their banner. Polls indicate that Simon is not all that far behind Davis, but Election Day is Letters near and he has yet to close the gap. What's more, things look no better at the legislative level. This is the year when the redistricting required by the 2000 census took effect. Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, had instructed California's Republican legislators to make any deal they had to with the Democrats, but save the state's Republican Congressional seats at all costs. They obeyed, and California's incumbent Republican Congressmen are now all believed to be safe, but the price they paid was continued Democratic control of both houses of the state legislature for the next 10 years. This gloomy prognosis at both the gubernatorial and legislative levels has led some observers to conclude that California will be a Democratic state for the foreseeable future. But such pessimism is premature. The state Republican party, after controlling the governor's office for the 12 years immediately preceding Davis' term, is undergoing a generational change in leadership, and new faces will be appearing on the scene before long. One of then is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has gubernatorial ambitions; but there are others as well. Unquestionably, however, the California GOP must face and resolve the problem of the large and rapidly growing Hispanic vote in the state. In the past, the state's Hispanics have voted heavily Democratic. They still do. The Republicans don't need a majority of the Hispanic vote to win statewide, but they do need about 40 percent. By paying attention to issues important to Hispanic voters, and running attractive Mexican- Americans on the Republican statewide slate, they can easily achieve that figure. On social issues in particular, Hispanics are by no means unsympathetic to the conservative positions of the Republican party. Meanwhile, though, there's no denying it isn't springtime for the Republican party in California. (William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy.) Quality of life improving October is an exciting time of the year. Halloween has all the children reeling with anticipation. The clean crisp air and colorful fall foliage seems to bring out the best in everyone. With these uplifted spirits, it feels like October is the gateway to the holiday season that is just ahead. Did you know that the Indiana County Commissioners have commemorated October as "Local Chamber of Commerce Month in Indiana County?" Concerning our county, the commissioners and Chamber have been working closely with the Indiana County Planning and Development Group, Indiana County Development Corporation, Indiana County Tourist Bureau and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The unilateral cooperative efforts of our pocket-book positive groups have been steadily moving Indiana County upward, providing improved economic opportunities and a better quality of life for Indiana County residents. The women and men of these organizations deserve a standing ovation for their tireless efforts that benefit us all. Maybe October is a good time to interact with these women and men of our community. One finite issue that directly affects our quality of life and county commerce is the railroad tracks that hamper all westbound traffic out of Indiana Borough and eastbound traffic into the Borough, except at the bottom entrance of White Woods Estates where the tracks have been paved over. At best, the track crossings are an inconvenience. Worst case they are dangerous and damaging to traffic. They impede local commerce and diminish our quality of life. That rail line hasn't been used for many years and Is actually disassembled just outside Indiana Borough. October Is a fine time to get out and socialize. Politicians are listening and talking everywhere. If you would like to snare your opinions of Indiana County's lifestyle with others, our own Indiana County Commissioners are very experienced in matters concerning transportation. Socialize with them and get out and enjoy the season. W.I. Larkin Indiana Appalled by the treatment After a recent trip to the Indiana County Humane Society, I was outraged and appalled by the treatment my mother and I received there. We had both been bitten by a stray kitten, and after going to the hospital, were told we must keep and monitor the kitten for 10 days to determine if a series of rabies shots were needed. Not being able to properly care for the animal ourselves, nor having the facilities to do so, we made several phone calls, asking where we could place the cat for the 10 days. We were led to believe that our only option was to place the kitten in the Humane Society's care. Upon our arrival, they took the kitten, which we had in an animal carrier, to the back. As my mother filled out the paperwork, she questioned the worker about who was responsible for the cat after the 10 days, explaining that she did not want the responsibility of finding the stray a home. The worker abruptly told her "Don't worry about that, it will be gone," as she made a motion across her neck, implying that the cat was to be euthanized as soon as the 10 days were up. She then felt the need to tell us that other cats would have to be put down because they had to keep the stray we brought in quarantined. My mother and I were shocked because of these unnecessary comments and we were overwhelmed with guilt. We felt as if we were being a bother to the workers there and that we were looked down upon because we had brought the cat there. For a place that has the word "humane" In the title, it was lacking a serious amount of compassion, both to us and the kitten. I know the procedures they follow are for good reasons, but to make it seem like it was our fault that the kitten and others were to face death is coldhearted and plain rude. I have been continually displeased with the manner in which I have been greeted there, and the service they have provided. For example, as they brought our animal carrier back to us, my mother noticed they left all of the soiled newspaper that was in there for the kitten. She told them that she was not going straight home and asked if they could remove it for her. She was told that there was a garbage can outside, to use it. Our family has supported their operation in several ways. My parents have made contributions to the Humane Society and my mother recently donated a craft that she had made for one of their Chinese auctions. After the way we were treated, they decided not to be so generous in the future. My sister used to volunteer two times a week there, but does not anymore because of rude treatment she received from the staff. I sincerely hope that we are the only people who have faced this kind of treatment there. The feeling of guilt that I am carrying is not pleasant. I hope that something will be done soon so that others won't be driven away from using the Humane Society's services as my mother and I have been. Maybe once they gain some compassion, friendliness, and professionalism I will consider going back, but until then I will never step foot in there again. Julianne Reed Blairsville (gasette (USPS 262-040) Published by THE INDIANA PRINTING & PUBLISHING COMPANY 899 Water Street Indiana, PA. 15701 (724) 465-5555 Established In 1890 On the Internet: tndlanaga2cttc.com R.HASTIERAY Publisher, 1913-1970 LUCY R. DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-1993 JOE DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-2000 MICHAEL J.DONNELLY „_, President Publisher HASTIE D. K1NTER Secretary Assistan I Treas urer STACIEn.GOTTT-nEDSON „ Treasurer Assist an t Secretary 10SEPHL.GEARY General Manager HOBERTYESIIONIS Adv./Mktg. Director SAMUEL I. BECIITEI.. Executive Editor LYNN SCOTT j^i. Executive Editor Special Projects CARL A. KOUX5IE Managing Editor CARRIER SUBSCRIPTION RATES — Paid in advance to Gazette office — Four weeks, SI 2.35; Thin ecn weeks, S37.9 5; Twcn ty-six weeks. S75; Fifty-two weeks, SI48.90. MOTOR ROUTE SUBSCRIPTION RATES — Paid in cdvance to Gazelle office — Four iveeks, $12.90; Thirteen weeks, S38.75-, Twenty-six weeks, $7730; Rfiy-two weeks, S154. SUNDAYONLYSUBSCRIPTION RATES — Paid in advance to Gazette office: • DY CARRIER—Twenty-six weeks, $22,10; Fifty-two weeks, S44.20 • BY MOTOH ROUTE—Twenty-six weeks, $24.70; Fifty-two weeks, $49.40. MEMBER OFTI IE ASSOCIATED PRESS — The AP is entitled exclusively to ihc use or reproduction of all local news printed in this newspaper as well as all AP news dispatches. frrlodleab Potlng? Pa 111 a! Indiana. PA 15701 Piihllilml ilallyrirepl Nnv Year's Day, Memorial n ay |,,v Iti 11 n h, Labor nay.ThanlsRjvIng [ty „,„] rj ulnmsa i Dm Pmrm.isTrn Sendncldrrcs clj:mKCS rn: Indl.ninCia/our

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