Praise support for West Bank village

I commend the recent article on how Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda is helping the village of Wadi Foquin in the West Bank.

As a member of Buena Vista UMC, I'm proud to be part of this effort, happy to have the opportunity to live my Christian faith in ways that directly support those who suffer human rights violations under the Israeli occupation.

As the truth spreads about this decades-long occupation, including our own role in it, I'm hopeful that we will hold the Israeli government accountable for how it spends the many billions of dollars we send it every year -- a large part of it subsidizing the actions that violate the human rights of Palestinians and pose an existential threat to the village of Wadi Fou\quin, which has as much right as any village -- and certainly more right than any illegal settlement -- to exist.

I look forward to more such articles on Palestinians under occupation and how local communities can help.

Jose Arcellana

Oakland

People should learn more about COPD

Aging is never easy, but if frequent shortness of breath, wheezing and excessive phlegm are becoming consistent problems, you may be facing a much more serious problem.

Chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, or COPD, affects more than 24 million Americans, and yet half go about their daily lives unaware of the condition. The ailment's pervasive nature, combined with an alarming lack of awareness, has made COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

Luckily, with early diagnosis and treatment, people suffering from COPD can improve their symptoms and regain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

This November is COPD Awareness Month, and partners such as the California Medical Association Foundation and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are asking citizens to take the first steps in fighting this disease by learning more about COPD.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your physician and ask for a simple breathing test called spirometry.

This November, don't let a serious condition such as COPD slide by unnoticed. Visit the CMA Foundation website (www.thecmafoundation.org) to see how you can help spread awareness of this terrible disease.

Jeffrey Klingman

MD, president, Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association

It's time to wake up about occupation

This is in reference to the Nov. 8 story about members of Alameda's Buena Vista United Methodist Church speaking up and supporting the Palestinian village, Wadi Foquin, which Israel is determined to erase from the map, along with hundreds of other Palestinian villages: Bravo, Buena Vista.

It's time for people who unequivocally support the actions of Israel in their illegal occupation of Palestine to come to their senses. Do they want to wake up one morning and have to admit that they didn't speak up against the cruel actions of Israel's government (and many of its Jewish citizens) toward Palestinians?

After World War II, many people said they didn't know about the slaughter of Jews and others in the concentration camps when, in fact, they had to be blind or deaf (or self-delusional) not to know, as the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., so evocatively shows with its display of newspaper headlines from the war.

Katharine Davies Samway

Oakland

Real truth behind first Thanksgiving

On Nov. 22, the majority of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. They will be with other families at home.

Many people believe that the first Thanksgiving started several centuries ago in New England between American Indians and white settlers. Some said that there was harmony between both of these people and that they sat down together for a feast.

Here is the real truth: When the white settlers arrived on these shores, many of them were suffering from starvation and some suffered fatally from illnesses.

American Indians, such as Tisquantum and Samoset, fed and nourished them back to health. Massasoit taught the settlers how to plant corn in the fields.

What was the reward that American Indians get from the white settlers for healing them? A combination of both colonization and genocide, as well as the taking of the land. These tragic incidents explain what the first Thanksgiving was really about.

Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland