I was sickened by "hidden away," on the horrible conditions in which Asia's mental-health patients are forced to live [Nov. 10]. Mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be addressed all over the world. There are so many medications that could allow these people to lead better, healthier lives. If the proper medication were administered, they might be able to hold a job and provide for themselves. With the technology available today, these unfair conditions are unacceptable. It should not matter what part of the world you live in; everyone should have access to proper health care. Whoever is in charge of mental health in these countries should have to spend a week living the way these unfortunate people live. Perhaps then there would be a greater understanding of what it is like to live with a mental illness.
Gloucester Township, U.S.
The article on the mental-health crisis in Asia not only revealed gruesome details of how the mentally ill have been discarded and pushed aside—owing to the increasing pace and pressure that are characteristic of most countries in Asia—but also raised the question of who, exactly, is mentally ill here. Is it those who cannot control how they behave and react to situations, or is it those so-called normal people who have turned a cold shoulder toward their brethren despite possessing the knowledge and skill required to treat them? In fact, the latter better qualify as ill, because they are insensitive to the trauma suffered by the others. Although the mentally ill may be unaware of their disease, the normal too often prefer to turn away rather than reach out.
While the plight of the mentally sick patients is disturbing enough, what adds to their suffering is the apathy of mentally sound individuals who are unable to help them live with dignity and honor.
On your map of Asia, your very brief description of mental illness in India stated that "depression [in India] is little understood and rarely diagnosed." As Federal Minister for Health 30 years ago, I merged two existing institutions to create the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, one of the finest such institutions in Asia. The problems of mental health are well understood in India, and we have departments of psychology in numerous institutions around the nation. Indian society also has a built-in support system whereby gurus and spiritual teachers help disturbed people, whereas in the West this function has been taken over exclusively by psychiatrists.
Member of Parliament
"Hidden Away" threw a lot of light on the appalling conditions of the mentally ill in Asia. Many people in India have the misconception that mental illness is common only in Third World countries. It is shocking to know that mental illness is such a problem in a country as developed as Japan. Asia consists of the fastest-developing nations in the world, but what is the meaning of development if it has so many ill effects? I am sure the story will propel reform.
Beyond the Ambushes
Thank you for the informative article on the average Iraqi citizen's new life after Saddam Hussein, "Where Things Stand" [Nov. 10]. Much news reporting makes it appear as if the whole country is hostile. It was interesting to learn that most attacks against our soldiers are occurring in the Sunni triangle—which lost the most jobs, money and prestige after the regime fell. Please continue to inform us about the life of average Iraqis throughout the country.
At last, news about Iraq and not just about bombings and ambushes! Your story suggested a different, perhaps more optimistic picture of the plight of the common Iraqi since the regime change. Hope breeds optimism, and optimism breeds success. Long live hope in Iraq!
The Turmoil of Iraq
It is sad to see the worsening turmoil in Iraq after so many friends of the U.S. sent warnings about what lay ahead [Nov. 10]. No amount of advice would sway the Administration's headlong gallop to war. Perhaps now there will be a more reflective process for creating foreign policy. The U.S. must accept that its system is not the only form of humane and caring government and that some people conditioned by centuries of culture want other solutions.
Zesfontein, South Africa
What is right or wrong depends upon the area you live in, the group of people you are surrounded by and timing. If you find yourself in the wrong shoes, try to change one of these elements. Timing is the key factor for U.S. action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Muslim world and the Americans in due course will realize that George W. Bush's action was right.
When U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq, I'm shocked to hear the raucous cry from politicians and ordinary Americans alike for Bush to bring the troops home. Aren't these the same people who panicked at the anthrax scare, who were united by grief after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and who expect their President to find solutions to security problems? Americans must shut up and take the good with the bad. Bush is doing his best to protect the U.S. Americans make me sick when they cry like babies and politicize everything, even national security. They gang up with foreign detractors to condemn their President. There's really no winning with them.
Selling Their Heritage
The real tragedy of the black market in looted Asian antiquities is not so much the crime against the dead as the crime of the perpetrators themselves [Oct. 20]. Wittingly or unwittingly, the looters have sacrificed their heritage on the altar of greed. Thoughtless European and American dealers and buyers, obviously weary of their own heritage, now prefer Asia's. But no matter how many Asian relics they collect, no alchemy can transform Europe or America into Asia.
An Enduring Woman
Madame Chiang Kai-shek [EULOGY, Nov. 3], wife of China's Nationalist leader, made use of her fluent English in a wartime address to the U.S. Congress in which she appealed for aid for her country, which was fighting Japanese invaders. TIME described that speech in a March 1, 1943, report:
"The Senators watched in curious silence as Madame Chiang walked down the aisle of the Senate Chamber. They saw a still face with big dark eyes. They saw a slim, straight figure in a black Chinese gown, with here a tiny splash of jade, there a black sequin's understated sparkle. Madame Chiang stepped to the rostrum ... shot a smile at the Senators, and then, after apologizing for not having a set speech, knocked their silvery blocks off ... When she finished, tough guys were melted. 'Goddam it,' said one grizzled Congressman ... Much-moved listeners probably did not stop to analyze what had pulled at their hearts. It was not the words ... It was the woman, the way she clutched her handkerchief and brought her tight hand down on the desk for emphasis, the flash in her eyes which reflected something deep in her experience. Madame Chiang and China know the meaning of endurance. Through this woman, a few Americans saw and understood China."