Letters to the Editor [Archives:2001/15/Letters to the Editor]

April 9 2001

Dear Editor,
Throughout this whole ordeal the families of the victims killed in the attack on the USS Cole have never received a formal apology from the government of Yemen.
This has been extremely distressing to us, especially since we have made numerous inquires as to why they have not offered a formal and public apology. I found out about an apology they posted on their website from a Yemen citizen months later. No one else knew it was there.
I am sure that you remember how President Bush made a public apology to the Japanese families whose loved ones were killed in the submarine/fishing boat incident. And that was an incident, not a deliberate attack. Also, the Japanese government was very aggressive in pursuing an apology. We have never heard mention of our government asking the Yemen government for a public apology, and a written apology to the families of the USS Cole Victims. We would like to be accorded the same rights and respect as the Japanese families.
Also, I think it is noteworthy to mention that our government paid for the families of the Japanese to attend the military hearings.
Our own government would not even pay for the families to go and view the USS Cole when she returned home. We feel that was extremely rude on our government’s part.
The FBI also told me they would not pay for me to attend the trial in Yemen. We don’t even know who is representing our son in the courtroom or how to contact such a person. No one in the Yemen Government has contacted us about our concerns.
We think, and feel that some kinds of provisions need to be passed in our government to allow for these kinds of issues to be addressed. I mean no disrespect towards you sir, or some of the other politicians who have worked hard at helping us. But we have written numerous letters, and emails to other government officials without a response. Even both Presidents, and some of their cabinet leaders.
It’s as if we are second class citizens. We pay a healthy income tax every year, we are law-abiding citizens, I served six years in the infantry, and our son gave his life for the ideals and beliefs of this country.
I would think we should get more of a response than what we have gotten from the people I mentioned.
I know an apology won’t bring back our son. But it would demonstrate to us that your government does care enough about those who give their lives for their country. That other countries must be aware of how serious our government is when it comes to protecting her servicemen, women and their loved ones rights as well.
I want to know why a formal apology has not been forthcoming from the country of Yemen. And whom we could contact in Yemen to discuss the trial.
Gary G. Swenchonis Sr
P.O. Box 1610 Rockport, Tx 78381

The Knight of the Arabs
As we know that Israel is the first enemy of the Arabian countries. We can see in each place and in each area, the bloody events in the occupied Palestine and the brutal massacres committed by Israeli troops against the defenseless Palestinians in Al-Quds. Tens of Palestinians have been killed and hundreds have been wounded. The Arab leaders must get a solution for the Al-Quds crisis. Of course it’s the not only crisis. It is an Arabian crisis. We all know that Israel needs the language of force. An opinion for all the Arab people is to wage a war against Israel because Israel cant return Al-Quds to us easily, unless we use force.
No one can forget the attitude of our president, Ali Abdullah Saleh when he said if Yemen was one of the neighboring countries, it would have opened the borders and supplied the Palestinian people weapons and men. He also said each government all over the Arab world should organize camps for volunteers, to protect our land in Palestine. He added that Israel needsthe language of force. He is really the knight of the Arabs.
We can let Israel know that it will be destroyed very very soon. Al-Quds is Arabian and it will be for ever. No body in the world can contradict this. We will protect our land in Palestine and specially in Al-Quds by our blood and by our weapons. I hope that the Arab leaders will take the same suggestion of the president “The knight of the Arabs” Ali Abdullah Saleh if they want to get Al-Quds back.
Fafres Mohammed Modhmoun

The Day of Ashura
I am very proud to be a Muslim and to be one of the followers of the prophet Mohammad, Peace and blessings be upon him. I really feel entirely pleased because I hadn’t been a Jew or a Christian or a pagan. The best gift granted to me by Allah Almighty is that I was born a Muslim and from Muslim parents. All Muslims all over the world should pray and thank Allah day and night for being born Muslims and for being the followers of the best Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Actually Islam is certainly the best religion sent to the best messenger and the best nation. In addition, Islam is a religion of peace, love, justice, freedom, harmony etc., and it is a religion which respects all human beings and mankind. In Islam there are many occasions through which a Muslim benefits greatly. Some of those occasions is the day of Aushraa which is the tenth of Muharam (the first Arabic month) and will be the fourth of April. Our prophet Mohammed (PBUH) commanded us to fast that day, saying that if a Muslim fasts that day for the sake of Allah, his/her small sins of the year before the previous year will be forgiven by Allah, almighty. What a great and massive reward a Muslim will get form Allah, if he/she only fasts that day. It is not hard work or dangerous act to fast (12 hours), it is very simple and its reward is huge. Undoubtedly, all Muslims make mistakes and commit sins, small or great. Therefore, it is a great opportunity for all Muslims to take it seriously and fast that day, in order to get that generous reward from Allah. I hope and wish all Muslims will be able to seize that opportunity and to fast that day only for the sake of Allah.
Finally, I would like to point out that fasting that day is voluntary and not obligatory.
Fahmi Almamary.