Your recognition of the talented individuals who make up TIME's list of the most influential people [April 18] enabled me to appreciate and comprehend the events that have shaken and stirred our world today. Thank you.
Pomona, California, U.S.
I was pleased that your list included Indonesia's Dina Astita, the teacher and survivor of the Indian Ocean tsunami who is coordinating efforts to restart schooling in her remote Sumatran town. It was a pleasure to read about someone who isn't a millionaire or an internationally known religious figure. Ordinary people like Astita who can overcome tragedy and put a positive idea in motion are the ones who are truly influencing and changing our world.
New York City
I was upset by your choice of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalian-born Dutch politician and director whose film Submission portrays a Muslim woman ritually abused by the men in her family. As a female practicing Muslim living in the West, I have found it frustrating that the Western media are obsessed with the "plight" of Muslim women. While there is progress to be made in women's rights in the Muslim world, change does not necessarily have to occur within the Western framework. Most Muslims find Hirsi Ali too extreme, though we don't agree with honor killings. Why couldn't you pick someone who genuinely represents the majority of Muslims in the West and has had a positive impact on the Muslim community and the world at large?
One hundred of anything is way too much—100 caviar canapés, 100 chocolate sundaes, even 100 dazzling human beings. Don't you realize that TV has shrunk our attention span to 10 nanoseconds? Couldn't you space out those remarkable folks—say, five per issue?
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Not Politics as Usual
I read the article "Smoldering Hatreds" [April 18] with regret. It gives the unfortunate impression that the Republic of Korea is taking political advantage of the recent diplomatic friction with Japan. The latest incident involves fundamental problems caused by Japan's territorial claim to South Korea's Tokdo islets and its justification of its history of aggression, both of which raise ethical questions. Linking the South Korean government's stance to a domestic by-election misleads your readers about the issues. Seoul has no intention whatsoever of using the territorial and textbook issues politically. Rather, I would like to make it clear that South Koreans hope to see Japan become a responsible member of the international community based on a genuine recognition of universal values and historic truth.
Kim Cheol Hyeon
Consul of the Republic of Korea