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A Leader's Timeless Ideas

Kudos to the author and his wonderfully written Jan. 17 essay, "King's Antiwar Message - Relevant in the '90s." As a recent college graduate who studied theology, I also found Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Riverside" Church address one of the most moving and prophetic speeches delivered by the civil rights leader. Although relatively unknown compared to his "I have a dream" speech, the thoughts in the Riverside address are germane to the economic and social ills which have beset this nation. Undoubtedly, King asserted, a bloated military budget and apathetic politicians have contributed to the fraying of the moral fabric of our nation. If the militarization of our society continues unabated, then, as Dr. King lamented, "the image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism." Let's hope our leaders can preserve the glorious image of America by trimming our military expenditures and commit themselves, unreservedly, to those most in need.

Mario Colella

Fairfield, Conn.

Struggle for self-determination

The Jan. 14 article, "The US-Indonesia Alliance Against East Timor," is a welcome look at the situation in East Timor. Indonesia's genocidal occupation has been condemned by 10 UN resolutions, but so far its clout as an ally of Western powers has given it an impunity that, in an analogous situation, eluded Iraq after that country's invasion of Kuwait.

In 1994 Special Representative of the Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM) Jose Ramos-Horta sent President Suharto a letter outlining the East Timorese resistance's Three Phase Peace Plan. This eminently reasonable plan calls for one to two years of talks under the auspices of the UN followed by a five-year transition period of autonomous self-government by the East Timorese. The final phase covers preparation for a referendum on self-determination in which the East Timorese could choose between integration into Indonesia, free association with Indonesia, or independence.

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