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Granting East Timor freedom Granting independence to East Timor need not result in the break up of Indonesia ("Trying to keep Indonesia together," Feb. 26). In 1975, Indonesia brutally invaded its neighbor using US-supplied weapons. Over 200,000 people died from military attack and starvation.

While President B.J. Habibie now says Indonesia is willing to let East Timor go, the Indonesian military seems intent on disrupting this process, arming militias now marauding through the East Timorese countryside.

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The quick dispatch of a team of international monitors is crucial to discouraging further human rights abuses. The Clinton administration must press Indonesia to immediately allow international observers into East Timor. Indonesia should also disarm its militias and withdraw its troops. The level of violence will then decrease and a peaceful transition will be possible.

John M. Miller New York East Timor Action Network

Megadome vs. Wrigley Field I read "Those creaky stadiums hold precious memories" (Feb. 19) with mixed feelings. I understand sports columnist Douglas Looney's sadness. The old Maple Leaf Gardens is a symbol of past glory. But to hold onto old, outworn vestiges of the past seems wrong as well. Moving to something new doesn't worry me as much as the motivation behind the change. We do seem quick to leave the outdated, without considering renovation and renewal.

Sports facilities have become entertainment meccas, where sound and video systems bombard our senses at every turn. Yes, there are better sight lines for the audience, but there are so many distractions that following the sporting event becomes secondary. Commercialism is omnipresent. Massive television monitors dominate.

A sporting event in one of these new palaces is certainly exciting and sensually titillating. But, I am not sure it focuses on the sport. And the cost for a sports fan to participate is high, and getting higher. Mr. Looney is right. There is no sense of history when one attends these extravaganzas. It is all so orchestrated, so costly. You really don't get the feeling you are rooting for the home team - and the glories of its past.

Dorothy Milburn-Smith Ottawa, Canada

Why stop with the Grand Canyon? " 'Timber!' may echo in the Grand Canyon" (Feb. 23) asks whether logging should be allowed in the Grand Canyon. The land in question is not private land. It belongs to all of us. The question ought to be, "Should we allow logging in the Grand Canyon?"

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I say, absolutely. What reason can there be to prohibit it?

For that matter, I've never understood why so many old trees still stand in the Boston Common area.

History buffs and rich people would pay handsomely for a lamp or a serving tray machined from one of those fine old trees. Then there's Central Park in New York - not such an awful lot of trees, but they too would fetch large sums. And of course those messy cherry trees in Washington. They could be carved into trinkets and sold in Japan - where they began anyway - as a measure both to ease Pacific-rim tensions and to reverse the balance of trade.

Phil Sheehan Schenectady, N.Y.

Forgiveness A very nice series on forgiveness ("The power of forgiveness," part 1 of a three part series, Feb. 28). It confirms what I always say - that the best way to learn about a subject is to find a good journalist.

Howard Zehr Harrisonburg, Va. Conflict Transformation Program Eastern Mennonite University

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your telephone number and city. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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