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In his commentary on suicide bombers, "Why We Blow Ourselves Up" [VIEWPOINT, April 8], psychiatrist Eyad Sarraj wrote that in the Koran, "God promised Muslims who sacrificed themselves for the sake of Islam" would not die but would "live on in paradise." This explanation highlights one of the most important reasons it is so difficult to attain peace in the Middle East: too many people misguidedly believe that something of a human being remains after death and that this something will experience pain and pleasure. The suffering resulting from this belief is unspeakably tragic. We need to strive for a better life while we are living. ANDRIES R. VAN DEN BERG Pretoria
How can one attempt to rationalize strapping on explosives with the intent of murdering innocent men, women and children? If the civilized world does not defeat the deadly scourge of suicide bombers, no city in the world will be safe from any group with a grievance. As a doctor, Sarraj should use his influence to counter such actions, not explain them. JUDY MORREL Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Fit to Go Forward
So long as John Paul II is able to speak (or write) coherently, he can fulfill his responsibility to direct the church and instruct his flock [LETTER FROM THE VATICAN, April 8]. Whether he can stand up for two hours to serve as the chief celebrant at Mass or stoop to wash 24 feet is beside the point. Ceremonial functions, while certainly important, are not an essential part of the office. So idle speculation about whether John Paul II is fit to be Pope or whether he should retire is just that: idle speculation. RON SAMUELS Studio City, Calif.
Harvey Still Has the Touch
Your piece on Miramax and its co-chairmen, Harvey and Bob Weinstein [SHOW BUSINESS, April 8], asked, "Has Harvey Lost His Way?" Many relevant facts suggest otherwise. Wouldn't you consider Harvey to be "back on track" after acquiring the Sundance hit and Best Picture Oscar nominee In the Bedroom for $1.5 million and seeing it gross more than $35 million domestically? And what about acquiring the French sensation Amelie at script stage for $1 million and watching it gross $31 million in the U.S.? Should Harvey really "admit defeat" after Miramax received 15 Academy Award nominations, the most of any studio? And isn't the impressive upcoming Miramax slate, which includes Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal and George Clooney's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, sufficient proof that Harvey in fact has not "lost his way"? MATTHEW HILTZIK, VICE PRESIDENT Corporate Communications Miramax Films New York City
Kylie Runs Deep
As a fan of pop singer Kylie Minogue's for the past 10 years, I take exception to your story "Skin Deep and Proud of It" [SHOW BUSINESS, April 8]. Before you go dissing Kylie, give a listen to her alternative-rock albums and the stuff that really didn't get noticed here in the U.S. but should have. Her Impossible Princess album has an edgy, personal feel. The popular media line on Kylie is that she's fluffy pop and nothing more. Please don't ignore Kylie's talent as a songwriter and performer. Give her a chance, mate! JENNIFER POORE Rochester Hills, Mich.
A Symbol of Britain