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Opinion | Ukraine’s Refugees Are Fleeing Brutality. Let Them In.

To the Editor:

Re “A Historic Exodus From Ukraine,” by Sara Chodosh, Zach Levitt and Gus Wezerek (Opinion, March 17):

As we follow the war in Ukraine, we are horrified by the devastation we see and inspired by the courage of the Ukrainian people. As a nation, we are providing substantial foreign aid and military supplies to Ukraine. As individuals, we are supporting organizations that provide humanitarian aid.

Our European allies have opened their borders to Ukrainian refugees, many arriving with only the clothes on their backs and without passports.

During World War II, our government was slow to admit refugees from the Holocaust. We can improve on our past record. It is time to cut through the red tape and welcome a large number of Ukrainian refugees to the United States now!

Susan Reisbord
Saul Sternberg

To the Editor:

The images of the death and destruction in Ukraine seem to have cut more deeply into the American people’s hearts than similar atrocities elsewhere. Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s authoritarian leader and commander in chief of its armed forces, like Vladimir Putin, is guilty of crimes against humanity, yet American outrage is muted. The same holds true for decades of carnage at the direction of tyrants in Africa; the brutality barely registers on the American empathy scale.

Why such a seismic shift in compassion for the victims in Eastern Europe? Is the slaughter of women and children there any different than similar unspeakable acts in other settings?

Perhaps the answer lies in our ethnicity. At least 200 million Americans can trace their bloodline to Europe. Many of us see ourselves in the faces of the Ukrainian people. So, when Kyiv falls, and it will fall, all Americans, regardless of their ancestry, must join together and vow never to rest until despots like Vladimir Putin are no longer a threat to the world order.

Jim Paladino
Tampa, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “It’s Now Putin’s Plan B vs. Biden’s and Zelensky’s Plan A,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, March 21):

Western nations should not just freeze the assets of Russia, Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs, but also seize these funds and use them to pay for the care of refugees fleeing Ukraine. Later on, when the war is over, use this money to rebuild Ukraine. There are billions of dollars available.

This might cause Mr. Putin to rethink his strategy of demolishing Ukraine’s infrastructure in order to send its citizens fleeing for safety. Mr. Putin should be told this will happen immediately, and it should begin now. Let him watch Russian assets diminish each day he allows this brutal war to continue.

David Baldwin
Petaluma, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “War Threatens to Cause a Global Food Crisis” (front page, March 21):

Your article paints an alarming picture of the coming global food crisis. That crisis is being caused in major part by the sanctions on Russia. There is no good reason for them to continue.

People who think the sanctions will force Vladimir Putin to back down are delusional. In contrast, a food crisis is a near certainty.

President Biden should let Russia export food and fertilizer to the world markets. If he fails to do so, we are looking at food shortages, possible starvation and political instability in much of the world.

I realize that Mr. Biden would regard cancellation of the sanctions as politically impossible. But if the consequence is a humanitarian catastrophe over much of the world, he will bear a major part of the moral responsibility.

Jack Harllee

To the Editor:

Re “Two Refugees Cross Poland’s Border, and Enter Different Worlds” (front page, March 15):

If as one human race in this nuclear day and age, we cannot, at last, see past our various skin colors to hear the pleas for decency in the languages of other people …

If we cannot embrace our “different” cultures with curiosity and wonder rather than fear …

If we refuse to recognize that war is never a constructive nor a creative solution …

If we continue to draw imaginary borders on our one round Earth and ignore our assignment to care for her …

… Then our murderous self-destruction will make it impossible to look directly into our children’s eyes and promise them the present, much less a future.

Tyne Daly
Los Angeles
The writer is the actor.

To the Editor:

A letter to Russian soldiers, from an 80-year-old grandmother who is Russian Polish American:

What will you gain from murdering your Ukrainian neighbors, who did not want war?

Where is the joy in destroying an independent country that does not belong to you?

What rewards will you receive, as Russian money has lost value?

People around the world hate the destruction you’ve caused. Thousands of antiwar protesters in Russia will not respect you.

Wake up from being brainwashed by false propaganda from greedy corrupt money worshipers, who are warmongers, who lack compassion.

The ghosts of murdered women, children and defenders of their country will haunt your nightmares.

We will all die eventually, so live with peace and love while you can.

Alice Blandy
Nevada City, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “Retire the 9-to-5 Workday,” by Emily Laber-Warren (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, March 20):

It takes a lot of “essential” workers to make work from home possible. Most if not all of these essential workers cannot work from home. Many make considerably less than their work-from-home counterparts and will remain saddled with commute time, gas prices, parking fees, etc.

I think that before we rework the system, which indeed needs to be reworked, we need to assess the needs of those who have no choice but to show up.

Police officers, nurses, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, postal and sanitation workers, to name a few, should be receiving some commensurate perks for their valued services.

Diane Stonecipher
Austin, Texas
The writer is a registered nurse.

To the Editor:

New York Continues to Jail Sex Offenders After Sentences End,” by Adam Liptak (Sidebar column, March 8), spotlights New York’s policy of indefinitely imprisoning those sex offenders unable to find housing 1,000 feet from schools.

As the attorney who brought this case to the Supreme Court, I, like many of my public defender colleagues, continue to challenge the imprisonment of people for years beyond their release dates simply because they are poor and trapped by residency restrictions that do not increase public safety.

Another troubling aspect of this problem is that in New York City, the state actively prevents these individuals from gaining access to shelter. The city is required to provide compliant housing to anyone in need, but he or she must be released from prison to request it. Thus, hundreds remain incarcerated (at a yearly cost of $21 million) when they should be free.

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor recognized, New York is depriving people like my client, Angel Ortiz, of the chance to reintegrate with society and their families “based solely on speculation and fear” — and it must end.

Will A. Page

To the Editor:

Re “What Do I Do With All My Old Ties?” (Here to Help, March 14):

I gave some of my late husband’s ties to the high school athletic department for it to have on hand for “school spirit” days when team members were expected to wear a dress shirt and tie, though I am not certain this is still standard practice for teams.

I also gave some to the drama department. I know that storage is tight and that complete costumes are often ordered for major shows, but I thought it might be handy to have some available in the theater.

Eileen Bach
Ithaca, N.Y.

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