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EDITORIAL, LETTERS

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Some Parallels: Baltics and Balkans Regarding the article, ''War Closes the Age of Western Imperialism,'' Aug. 14: Political scientist John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago failed to include the Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - in the list of countries whose World War II experiences were not unlike the happenings in Bosnia today. Stalin started to carry out his ''nationalities policy'' after occupying the Baltic countries in 1940. This policy was designed to cleanse captured territories of their ethnic populations. The implementation of this ''policy'' was interrupted by three years of German occupation. After the defeat of the Nazis, who carried out their own policies in the Baltic states, the Soviet occupation returned. In advance of the returning Red Army, tens of thousands of Balts fled to the West in order to escape the impending Stalinist terror. Although mass deportations ceased after the death of Stalin, the policy of moving Russians into the Baltics did not. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, almost half the population of Latvia was non-Latvian and the situation in Estonia was getting close to that. In Lithuania, the largest of the three, the least amount of cleansing of the native population had occurred in terms of percentages. Indeed, Stalin had an empire to gain during the war and he used measures as brutal as those we presently see in the Balkans in order to achieve it. Ilvi J. Cannon South Windsor, Conn. Chairwoman, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Alliance of Connecticut Pat Robertson and Zaire The front-page article ''US Taps African Despot for Help In Rwanda Crisis,'' Aug. 23, requires a correction. The author is incorrect when he states that Pat Robertson's political organization, the Christian Coalition, is involved in a business venture in Zaire. It is Mr. Robertson's private firm, African Development Company (ADC) - not the Christian Coalition - which began working in Zaire to create economic development projects and jobs for the Zairean people. ADC's development projects were designed to generate revenue for additional humanitarian projects in that troubled country. In May, Robertson's ADC contributed $1.2 million worth of medicine and supplies. Robertson's involvement is simple: to help meet the spiritual and humanitarian needs of a hurting country. Gene Kapp Virginia Beach, Va. Vice President, Public Relations The Christian Broadcasting Network What's up 'wichu'? I liked the opinion-page article ''Sup to You,'' July 26, except for the word ''sup.'' It's incomplete. No one just uses ''sup.'' It is used in the following phrases: ''sup doo?'' (what's up dude?) or ''sup wichu'' (what's up with you?). If these foreigners are going to use slang, they must use it correctly. Michael Bleakmore Pittsfield, Mass. Save historic people, not buildings The article ''University Neighbors Battle Plan to Bulldoze Homes for Blacktop,'' Aug. 23, heaps too much praise on Brown University. The university has a checkered past at best. The growth of student numbers and desire for inexpensive student housing flooded Brown's abutting neighborhoods in the 1960s and 1970s. Fox Point and its 100 year- old settlement of Cape Verdeans bore the brunt of expansion, urban renewal, gentrification, and displacement. By the end of the 1970s, Brown University retreated to the top of the Hill, having had a hand in removing the highly concentrated, low-income communities of people of African descent. Brown may have saved historic buildings, but it did not lift a finger to save historic people. Sam Beck Ithaca, N.Y. Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM


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