Your report on the courageous efforts of common citizens around the world to fight appalling diseases in the poorest countries [Nov. 7] should be required reading for all. I especially recommend it to members of Congress. Instead of funding pork-barrel projects, why not finance completion of the malaria vaccine? As a health-care worker, I was astonished to read how far development of the vaccine has progressed. We have a golden opportunity to eliminate the disease from the causes of human misery, and we would be criminally negligent to let this opportunity pass.
Lake Wales, Florida, U.S.
Thank you for selecting Paul Farmer, "America's most celebrated doctor for the poor," as one of TIME's Global Health heroes. He possesses not only the selfless ambition to fight medical inequality in our world but also the ingenuity and talent to create and apply practical solutions to health problems. As a future physician, I am inspired by the achievements of Farmer and all your other Global Health heroes. People often talk about medical problems in terms of finding breakthrough cures and medications. Your report has given me a greater appreciation of the distinctly different challenge of making medical solutions available to those who otherwise could not obtain them.
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Your articles were a wonderful testi-monial to people who are solving health problems in the developing world and devoting their lives to making a difference. As you quoted Winston Churchill, we truly do "make a life by what we give." Thank you, TIME, for opening the eyes and expanding the hearts of all of us.
(The Rev.) Hollie Tapley
Statesboro, Georgia, U.S.
Dangerous infections in the developing world are a concern for everybody on earth. Disease is a threat to all of society and so requires an integrated and coordinated approach. Other factors that influence people's health, such as education and safe food and water, also require attention while we focus on how to treat disease. A coordinated approach necessitates the involvement of the entire world—both advanced and yet-to-develop countries.
Uou chose as one of your heroes theologian and physician Peter Okaalet, who works in Africa with pastors and their congregations to redefine their response to the AIDS epidemic. Okaalet exemplifies the most important weapon in our war on poverty and disease: education. He teaches people to let go of the holier-than-thou attitude of condemning others, and he helps them recognize that preventive medicine takes us one step closer to the dream of solving the developing world's problems.
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
As an inner-city 24-year-old who is tired of seeing the adulation of selfish and materialistic athletes and musicians, I am grateful that TIME has underscored the real qualities that make a person a hero. Displaying love and empathy for the victims of severe misfortune, those caring people put the true value of the human spirit in the limelight. Your issue on Global Health and altruistic heroes forced me to ask, What kind of man am I if I do not help make this world better?
Jesus Garcia Jr.
Lynwood, California, U.S.
Ordinary people can create a sea change for the world's desperately poor and sick simply by contributing to reputable aid organizations. As the gift-giving season approaches, TIME's report challenges us to make a tradition of contributing life-sustaining resources to those whose suffering knows no holiday. If the merely comfortable of the world pooled their modest gifts, they could make a difference that no individual hero or celebrity can ever achieve. Let us all be heroes.
South Lyon, Michigan, U.S.
Kudos for the great issue and for telling us what we need to know about those who not only sacrifice their money and time but also put their lives at risk to ensure a better life for the powerless and the less privileged. There is no greater calling than to serve humankind, no greater contribution than to help the weak. So let us be our brothers' keepers.
Amid the calamities and diseases that this desperate world is experiencing, TIME's Global Health heroes have worked with sincere compassion and without expecting something in return. The 18 you selected, and surely many others who were not mentioned, have demonstrated that the poor can still hope to see improvement in their lives. TIME has shown that journalism can make a difference in the effort to leave our children a world worth living in.
We have problems recognizing life's heroes because those we find in the corridors of power are only self-important speechmakers. The true heroes are on the streets and the front lines. They are hard to find because they are busy working, trying to solve the problems of the developing world.
The plight of millions of poor is not an accident but the consequence of mismanaged health-care systems, rising poverty and failure to take responsibility for those in need. But there are thousands of unknown health workers around the world who are fighting the most dangerous diseases and even giving their lives. No journalists, no photographers, no recognition of any kind awaits them at the end of the day, just minimum wages, mediocre jobs and unhealthy working environments. These unknown heroes also deserve our attention and gratitude.
José-Luis Portero Navio
Tuberculosis Research and Training Center
"A Time to Regroup" might be interpreted as implying that George W. Bush's problems are just the usual stuff that all Presidents face during their second term [Nov. 7]. But this situation is not merely ordinary second-term burnout. It's not like everything was hunky-dory during Bush's first term and now his Administration is in trouble because of bad luck and circumstances beyond his control. What has happened is that all the horrible moves he made during his first term—invading Iraq, appointing cronies to top positions, insisting on secrecy, manipulating the media, backing a flawed oil-based energy program and embracing an irresponsible fiscal policy—are perfectly evident to all. Bush made his bed during his first four years, and now he has to lie in it.
Golden, Colorado, U.S.
The democrats, liberals and their groupies desperately want to discredit the Bush Administration. So all causes, including Iraq, are exploitable for that purpose. But to conclude that most people no longer trust the President is wrong. Americans twice elected Bush.
The indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's aide Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice [Nov. 7] was the first breach in the protective wall of lies and deception that allowed the Administration to drag us into the senseless, totally unjustified war in Iraq. Now that the wall has been broken in one place, the truth will come flooding through. In a democracy, citizens are guilty of the sins of their leaders because voters chose them. We cannot pretend we are blameless. We elected them, and we are just as guilty as they are. But now we have a chance to start over again by ousting those who so badly misused the power we gave them.
(The Rev.) Bill McGinnis
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
The American people are fed up with the Bush Administration's continuing disregard for the truth and lack of openness with the public. It's obvious the President's inner circle failed to embrace his promise to bring honesty and integrity back to the White House. Libby's indictment points to the arrogant and ruthless behavior of the people the President values as loyal public servants. It makes little difference whether or not Libby is found guilty. He is emblematic of a culture of deceit. Americans deserve better.
Temple City, California, U.S.
The column by Joe Klein, "the perils of the Permanent Campaign," exposed the core problem of our government [Nov. 7]. For the Bush White House and most of Congress, politics is a game in which the only goal is to beat the other guy. The ideal of principled leadership, so important to the founders of this country, is dead. The irony is that our leaders constantly worry what the Founding Fathers intended about abortion and gun ownership but have lost sight of the need for moral leadership.
Wading River, New York, U.S.
Thank you, Joe Klein, for so eloquently expressing my frustration with elected officials who don't know how to stop politicking and start governing. Is it naive to think they can learn? That is what the American people want—except for the politicians.
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Legacy of a Legend
At a school function, I learned of the death of civil-rights pioneer Rosa Parks from an eighth-grade student [Nov. 7]. I was struck by the complexity of God's will in our lives. Could Parks have dreamed, as she rode the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, that 50 years later a white boy in Texas would speak her name reverently and express regret at her passing?
Azle, Texas, U.S.
I found the excerpt of Dr. Andrew Weil's book Healthy Aging [Oct. 17] enjoyable reading even though I am not yet 35. I agree that everyone should be able to reach old age with serenity and in good health. It is right to be skeptical of the antiaging industry and the unrealistic expectations that its massive advertising campaigns raise in gullible consumers. It's necessary to make it clear that these products can't stop time. We must face aging with greater awareness of our own limits.
Royal Family Values
I was disappointed by "A Right Royal Makeover" [Nov. 7], J.F.O. McAllister's article on Prince Charles and his efforts to change his public image as an "ineffectual, eccentric, emotionally stunted" person. The royal family, throughout British history, has meaningfully contributed to the success and magnificent evolution of the nation. All over the world, when people mention Britain, it immediately brings to mind the royal family and especially Queen Elizabeth II, one of the great figures of the 20th century.
I was disappointed that TIME's 2005 list of "Asia's Heroes" [Oct. 10] included athletes (tennis star Sania Mirza and footballer Park Ji Sung) as well as entertainers (actors Ken Watanabe and Zhang Jingchu). Asians, especially South Asians, glorify sports personalities and film stars as a way of elevating their own fragile egos and showing a more affluent and successful image abroad. Bombay, despite its Bollywood stars and millionaires, remains a Third World hellhole for the unsuspecting visitor. Bollywood sells dreams, the only thing the poor can afford. Spending vast sums of money in promoting sporting events is disastrous for poor countries. Politicians in those areas heavily promote sports and entertainment to divert the attention of the ignorant masses from the real issues. Labeling sports and film personalities as heroes is a great disservice to the war heroes, scientists and countless others who are making a real and lasting contribution to a better life for their fellow human beings.
Lakshman S.G. Dalpadado
The verbal attack by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, in which he declared, "Israel must be wiped off the map" [Nov. 7], was unworthy of a man in his position of leadership and invited much international criticism. Does Ahmadinejad really believe a country can just be obliterated from the face of the earth? The mighty American war machine cannot control the ragtag Taliban of Afghanistan or wipe them out, let alone destroy an entire country! What do deserve to be wiped out are thoughts like Ahmadinejad's.
Leading by Example
In addition to expressing admiration for the 18 Global Health heroes that TIME profiled [Nov. 7], readers were impressed by the leadership of celebrities in the campaign to improve health care in developing countries. A Michigan reader singled out Bill Gates: "Here is a man brought up with middle-class values, and he chooses to spend his wealth not nurturing selfish dreams and desires but working to ensure that even the poorest people will have their basic medical needs met." Wrote a Seoul reader: "Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates are remarkable individuals with a clear vision of how to make a quantum difference. This is not about giving money but about having an inspirational effect on others." A Kathmandu journalist praised the interview with Bill and Melinda Gates as "one of the best I've ever read. It gave so much insight into the lives of the couple. They send a message to everyone: each person's contribution, big or small, makes a difference. Every individual can help save a life—one life."