Journalists take pride in defending the rights of citizens in a democratic nation and as an aspiring reporter, it scares me that cases such as that of Muhammad Salah happen in a country such as the United States. I was happy to see that the media is not sitting back and accepting the government's case without fighting for what is right in a nation that claims to be free and democratic ("Secrecy's corrosive effect in terrorism case, Feb. 2).
In a country that preaches innocent until proven guilty, the complete conviction that Salah has done something illegal is wrong. He has yet to be tried in the United States, but the government years ago seized his home and property, making it difficult for him to lead any sort of life. And as Don Wycliff pointed out, the whole premise that supporting Hamas is illegal needs to be examined considering their victory in the recent elections.
Wycliff asked if Palestinians see something in Hamas that American policymakers don't understand. The problem is that labeling Hamas as a terrorist group discredits the entire organization. Yet everyone recognizes there is Hamas, and there is its militant wing. Hamas provides Palestinians with the social services they need to live. It runs schools, hospitals and orphanages. Without Hamas, the Palestinians would be in worse situation than they already are in. The problem with American policy is that it ignores all the benefits and help Hamas provides, and thus any supporter of Hamas is seen only as a terrorist.
With the victory of Hamas, there are now calls for it to disarm. Just a reminder to the world, Israel has a military, the United States has a military, many countries have militaries. Why does Hamas have to give up its right to defend its nation and people? And also, even in the United States, the constituion gurantees the right to bear arms. Does the refusal of the American government to disarm its citizens mean it is a supporter of violence?
Thank you Don Wycliff for pointing out the failure of the media to provide both voices on this conflict. I would urge you and the editorial board to work towards finding a writer who can defend and explain Palestinian attitudes.