Readers Respond to the September 2020 Issue

Your feedback on our coverage of Sudan’s pyramids, the library thief and overfishing on the seas

Sudan’s Priceless Past

During the years my wife and I spent in Africa since the 1980s, Sudan (“In the Land of Kush,” September 2020) was always in some phase of turmoil and it never came up on the travel radar when stacked against the usual Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa destinations. Your article goes back 3,500 years to cover the amazing sites to see and experience in person now that the government has stabilized and internal travel is safer. It’s a wonderfully told history and includes remarkable photographs of the archaeological sites.

—Richard Sim | Falls Church, Virginia

Looted Library

It is absolute insanity that the culprits in “The History Thief” did not get heftier sentences. Over $8 million in stolen and fenced artifacts—house arrest and probation is not punishment enough. They should be serving serious time in prison. They stole cultural history, not gum from the store. As a library worker who works with a closed collection, I am absolutely appalled at this lack of appropriate response from the judicial system and these men’s absolute disregard for the importance of the materials they had the privilege to oversee. How is this justice?

—Monica Alston | Facebook

I bought from Caliban Books often before learning about this case. It was my favorite twisty, winding, floor-to-ceiling Pittsburgh bookstore. Breaks my heart that I will never shop there again.

—Brianna Karp Sokol | Pittsburgh

Chemical Warfare

The article about Lt. Col. Stewart Alexander, by Jennet Conant (“The Bombing and the Breakthrough”), was a wonderful story of what can happen when ability, integrity and the commitment to doing the next right thing come together: to do what one can and should, not just what one must. What a legacy he left!

—Robert Ljungquist | Goshen, Connecticut

Ancestral Atrocities

Thank you for “Daring to Face the Past,” by Ann Banks, whose ancestor owned human beings, and her journey with Karen Orozco Gutierrez, whose ancestor was owned by Ms. Banks’ ancestor. What a tribute to human courage, compassion, curiosity and resilience! May we all be so open to our own truth, and our responsibility to do better.

—Sally Iberg | Evanston, Illinois

Foiling Pirates

“Chasing the Pirates” presents a problem the entire world needs to address. First-world consumers have to support sustainable fishing to provide poor nations with a way to maintain a lifestyle that keeps them from having to turn to piracy.

—Tom Stone | Rockville, Maryland

Pirates of the high seas don’t do what they do to satisfy “our insatiable appetite for fish.” They do it to try to satisfy their own endless hunger for money.

—Rick Alexander | Bloomington, Indiana

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