, Newburyport, MA

May 8, 2013

Editorial is a cheap shot at hardworking immigrants

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I was disappointed to read April 29’s editorial, “Marathon bombers bit the hand that fed them.” Apparently based on unconfirmed reports (“The Herald reports … “) I failed to see the point of the column unless it was to fan xenophobia or to advocate the withholding of benefits to legal resident aliens. Both alleged bombers also attended a prestigious exam school in Cambridge, supported by the taxpayers of that city. Would you question that, as well? How would you suggest we determine which children or families might become terrorists in 10 years’ time? A board created by local newspaper editors, perhaps?

I couldn’t help but see your editorial as a cheap shot at all the hardworking immigrants who come to this country every year determined to make a better life for themselves and their families. For a country in which virtually everyone is either an immigrant or the descendent of one. I find the amount of immigrant-bashing that occurs here truly breathtaking. For a respectable newspaper to fan these flames is nothing short of irresponsible. If you are concerned about wasted tax dollars or people abusing the welfare or disability systems, I’m sure you can find plenty of larger targets closer to home who were born and bred right here.

A more useful editorial might be an attempt to explain to our Muslim neighbors why they should not feel persecuted in the first place. I certainly don’t condone expressing one’s opinion with bombs or guns (hence this letter), but if I were a Muslim, I might appreciate an explanation for the world’s seeming indifference to the brutal suppression of the Chechen independence movement, the similar actions of the Chinese to their Uigher minority, the killing of untold tens of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen in the name of “freedom” and ‘liberty,” not to mention the more than 40 years of military occupation that the Palestinians have been living under. Is this simply a “P.R.” problem as presidents Bush and Obama seem to think (Does anyone remember Karen Hughes?), or is there something more fundamental in our foreign policy that needs to be addressed? I would find an editorial that looks at these issues more helpful than taking cheap shots in an attempt to appeal to our baser instincts.

Jay Harris