I applaud the author of the article ``US Groups Rally to Support Haitian Women,'' Nov. 30. However, it lacks any mention of Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen (SOFA), a 5,000-member grass-roots organization in Haiti that suffered a great deal of repression because of its empowerment and advocacy of women. During a recent Witness for Peace delegation interview with representatives of SOFA in Haiti, our group learned that the ``widespread and systematic'' use of rape as a tool of repression coincided closely to the formation of the right-wing paramilitary group, Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) in August 1993. Women were dragged out of their homes and raped publicly, often told that the rape was intended so that ``they would never vote again.''
Our delegation of faith-based activists felt doubly appalled because we now know that the CIA helped encourage and fund FRAPH and its leader, Emmanuel Constant (as documented in The Nation). Can anyone justify how our government could support such depravity, then send in US military forces to quell it? Whatever the reasoning, Haitian women merit not only an apology from US citizens, but also a strong effort to support the rebuilding of Haiti. Judith Kelly, Arlington, Va. Witness for Peace Haiti Task Force
Shopping - German style
The article ``Germany's Early Christmas,'' Nov. 25, is the second in a short time that discusses the German ``bevy of regulations'' regarding shopping hours, which choke retailing - something that seems uncomprehensible to an American mind.
Retailing has broken new records each year with exactly the same reduced shopping hours. If this has changed now the reasons lie in the general economic crisis at home and abroad. Second, while there certainly are people who would wish for extended shopping hours in the evenings, no one has ever seriously suggested that we adopt the American way of 24-hour shopping. I would dread sacrificing the quiet of Sunday, which, after all, is still considered in your country to be the Lord's Day. Monika Kurzinger, Munchen, Germany
Secular people, not monks
Regarding the well-written cover story, ``In Vietnam, Monks Lead Protest to Repression,'' Nov. 21: The front-page caption under the picture titled `Monks in Ritual' is not accurate. The people in the picture are not Buddhist monks, but secular people performing a folk ceremony. My Tran, San Diego
Shooting plutonium into outer space
We all welcome the cooperative efforts by the United States and Russia to drastically reduce their excess stocks of bomb materials as outlined by the authors of the opinion-page article ``To Create a Safer Future, Dismantle Nuclear Arsenals and Foster Openness, Trust,'' Nov. 14. However, I sense a tendency for such cooperation to ``make mountains out of molehills.''
A US-Russian working group has been established ``to examine the options and reach a solution'' concerning the long-term disposal of plutonium. The authors quantify the total materials as ``hundreds of tons'' of which some ``500 tons of Russian bomb-grade uranium'' will be ``blended down to non-weapons-usable, low-enriched reactor fuel...'' I am encouraged that the remaining quantities, which must be plutonium, are of such small mass, certainly within the ``hundreds of tons.'' Perhaps it is feasible to launch this material out of the solar system.
Even a costly space shuttle could be dedicated and jointly manned to rendezvous this material with an orbiting solar-powered rail-gun. The probability of someone recovering them seems certain to be less than if it were secured long term on earth. Philip D. Jacobs, Richmond, Texas
A look at serious health issues
The article ``Free-Market Approach to Controlling Health Costs,'' Nov. 29, does not even mention the two most serious issues: the problems of the millions of uninsured citizens, and the cost shifting from the under- and uninsured to the rest of us. If his description of the Clinton health plan comes from a ``bipartisan'' organization, what would it sound like if he took a partisan position? Franz Samelson, Manhattan, Kan.