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Letters, Dec. 24, 1979

5 minute read

The Iran Crisis

To the Editors:

Be careful, Khomeini [Dec. 3]! You may have awakened a sleeping giant.

Rob Hammel

San Bruno, Calif.

The U.S. has turned up its share of religious fanatics, but has yet to deliver a despot or dictator. It seems that Iran has the knack of delivering both. Certainly, no nation is perfect, though I can’t think of any nation that tries harder than the U.S. to air and solve its problems, and thereby give a lead to others. We don’t turn to Iran or Uganda for solutions to world problems, do we?

Bruce Morley

Auckland, N.Z.

Let us hope that the U.S. will never bow to Khomeini’s blackmail. If the Carter Administration agrees to Iranian demands, it will be a blow and a very bad example to those who love democracy.

H. Sarhan Salem

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

The Oilatullah is not a madman. A madman would have seized the Russian embassy in Tehran.

Tomas Drohan

Panama City

The explosion of anti-Americanism in Iran may be only the beginning. The Shahs, Somozas, Parks and Marcoses of the world have left an angry mob of people who blame the U.S. support of these dictators for years of oppression. The sins of a shallow foreign policy are coming back to haunt us all.

Timothy T. Serey Cincinnati

Front-Line Casualty In your story about embattled diplomats [Nov. 26] you mention that “in the past eleven years, four American ambassadors have been killed in the line of duty.” Actually, there have been five, since you omitted my old friend and Foreign Service colleague, Frank Meloy, Ambassador to Lebanon, who was killed in Beirut on June 16,1976.

It is little realized that our Foreign Service is our true first line of defense, or how often those front-line persons suffer casualties.

Claiborne Pell U.S.

Senator, Rhode Island

Washington, D.C.

Understanding Death

Your article on teaching children about death [Dec. 3] brought back some memories of a class I recently had in high school. We visited graveyards and funeral homes. We also wrote our feelings about death. At the time we thought it trivial and a bit morbid. But this past summer a classmate died. Through our understanding of death we were able to cope and somehow adjust to the fact that we would never see our friend again.

Leticia Toledo

Walnut Creek, Calif.

The Gainesville children’s class on death would have learned a lot more had they visited one of our Wisconsin families. After they lost their young child, they made the casket, performed the service, and with friends buried their child on his grandparents’ farm.

Rochelle Whiteman


The Fifty-Fifty Plan

A recent TIME summary of the economic and energy positions of 1980 presidential candidates [Dec. 3] dismisses the field as “producing no ideas that seem much different” from President Carter’s.

Permit me to set the record straight. For several months now, I have been advocating something I call the Fifty-Fifty Plan: a 50¢ per gal. tax on gasoline at the pump, coupled with a 50% reduction in the Social Security payroll taxes levied on employees. Only a dramatic conservation measure like this one will truly reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil in the near future. At the same time, it would shore up the financially troubled Social Security trust funds and serve to counteract the inflationary impact of newly scheduled hikes in Social Security taxes.

John B. (“Dark Horse”) Anderson Representative

16th District, Illinois

Washington, D.C.

Revulsion, Scorn and Denial

If, as Malcolm Muggeridge believes [Dec. 3], homosexuals have a grudge against society, it is less likely because of their “inevitable exclusion from the satisfaction of parenthood” than because society treats them so poorly. Revulsion and scorn by the majority and the continued denial of legal protection by government are not practices that are likely to endear society to any minority.

Michael Fling

Bloomington, Ind.

If we all thought as logically as Malcolm Muggeridge, we would assume that since most spies are heterosexual, most heterosexuals must be spies, and that since so many homosexuals are Marxists, most Marxists are homosexual. See you in gay Russia.

Charles L. Ortleb, Publisher

Christopher Street Magazine

New York City

Obviously age has done little to temper Malcolm Muggeridge’s self-righteousness. But I don’t think his simplistic equation that betraying a man’s country equals betraying his friends should be allowed to pass unchallenged. How would he describe a German who sheltered a Jewish friend in 1942?

Charles Snow Nicosia, Cyprus

Man of the Year

There is no question that TIME’S Man of the Year must be the Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini. He meets all your criteria for the person who has most significantly affected—for good or ill—the course of events.

James J. Shampo


Person of the Year—Mother Teresa.

She is already doing what the others are just talking about.

George E. Gamer


For the Person of the Year, who else but the starving child of Cambodia?

Robert H. Clark Los Angeles

The obvious choice for Person of the Year is Andrew Young, the only honest diplomat in recent memory.

James Aber Boulder, Colo.

The Sandinistas of Nicaragua.

Stephen Shemin Philadelphia

I would like to nominate Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo as the Man of the Year for demonstrating to the world that the needs of his country mean more than personal goals or ambitions to make a “quick peso.”

Paul Decker

Hendersonville, N.C.

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