Letters to the Editor, Feb. 17 - 20

Cemetery theft a ‘low blow’

EDITOR: A week ago I was at Sonoma Mountain Cemetery for the blessing of a dear friend’s ashes. The family brought over a large shiny tin vase filled with lots of Protea flowers sent by the deceased’s close friend from Hawaii. The vase was placed by the wall where my friend’s ashes were stored. Five days later the vase and flowers were gone – stolen. I know the cemetery isn’t guarded so perhaps leaving something so beautiful was too much of a temptation, but isn’t it a rather low blow to steal flowers from the cemetery? It’s a big disappointment that such a theft occurred at this difficult time of mourning for a Sonoma family, almost in their own back yard.

Mirja Muncy


Unsane clown presidency

EDITOR: How do you fight a shape-shifter? This is a metaphorical question, meaning: How do you combat people who seem to have no ethics at all, at least in the political realm – people who will say and do anything to further their toxic agenda? For example, if the Senate’s long-established procedural rules interfere with Republicans’ agenda, they change the rules; in other cases, they simply ignore them.

Obama and the other Democrats, who tried to maintain at least some ethical standards, were at a definite disadvantage while under near-constant attack by those who see ethics as a joke, a characteristic of weaklings.

Someone said recently that Trump knows little about ethics because he never sat on a board. Perhaps if he had sat on a board with nails in it, in partial imitation of yogis lying on a bed of nails, he might have gained some spiritual enlightenment and become kind, compassionate, generous and benevolent. But no, probably not; he’s too far gone in narcissistic, antisocial and paranoid personality disorders. Or, in other words, a common, garden-variety, egocentric loony who has only a snarling acquaintance with the peaceful, loving part of the human race.

Some psychiatrists say Trump should not be called insane; so let’s consider a slightly different word: unsane. I would call unsane, or unstable, anyone whose greed, lack of compassion and insecurity lead to harmful acts. A sane person is in harmony with the world.

James Pendergast


Remember Khojaly!

EDITOR: Feb. 26 of this year will mark a quarter century since the Khojaly Massacre, Europe’s first genocidal atrocity since World War II.

On the night of Feb. 26, 1992, the Armenian Armed Forces, supported by the 366th infantry regiment of the Russian army, attacked the town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Estimated 613 fleeing residents of the town, including 106 women and 63 children, were chased and brutally murdered by the Armenian fighters. Hundreds more went missing, over A thousand received permanent health damage, 1,275 were taken hostage, and over 150 children lost one or both parents.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the New York Times, numerous other media and rights watchdogs documented the atrocity. Armenian field commander, Monte Melkonian, provided a shocking witness account of the “killing fields” near Khojaly, reproving his fellow fighters of the war crime. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan admitted that it was an act of revenge against Azerbaijanis. Yet, the Armenian government and Armenian-American lobby continue denying the responsibility of the Armenian forces for the tragedy.

As the United States mediates a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, recognizing its largest atrocity is an important step toward reconciliation. In the recent years, 20 U.S. states and many countries recognized the Khojaly Massacre. Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance in January 2015, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin highlighted Khojaly among the genocidal acts that the international community failed to prevent.

On behalf of all Azerbaijani Americans and friends of the Azerbaijani Society of America (ASA), I call upon Sonoma’s elected officials to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre via public statements and legislative resolutions.

Pari Howard


SVH: The definition of ‘community’

EDITOR: I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s been almost 11 years since I was successfully treated for cancer at Sonoma Valley Hospital. I was preliminarily diagnosed by my GP, who sent me over to the hospital for tests… all of which were done the following day and analyzed the day after that. Almost unheard of. Surgery was subsequently scheduled for the following week and a second surgery the week after that. Expeditious personal attention and care that can be given by a local hospital can’t be matched from a distance.

When I checked into the hospital, my intake was done by someone I knew from hiking excursions. As I was wheeled into the operating room, I discovered that my neighbor was the head nurse. Once I was back in my room recovering, other staff members, who I knew from the community, stopped by to check on me. While I was there friends were able to walk (or drive a short distance) over to wish me well. Since I have no family in the area this support and convenience were very important to me. I can’t put into words how comforting it was to feel that they all had my back. For me this was the definition of “community” and underscored the importance of having a first-rate hospital in my back yard.

It’s hard to exaggerate the significance of having a hospital right here. The emergency room is absolutely essential to the viability of our Valley. To maintain the level of health care available to us locally we need the parcel tax. I hope you will join with me in voting yes on Measure B on March 7.

Karen Collins