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Congo needs to make it on its own

I enjoyed reading your articles on the Congo ("The calm in the eye of Congo," May 7, and "Who needs Madonna when you got Lingala?" May 9). They point to two different aspects about the Congo.

At the cultural and traditional level, the music stars of Congo seem to be well-connected with the people and their supporters. They don't need Madonna as long as the electrifying Lingala music is there.

Not so with the politicians. President Joseph Kabila and his predecessors have always been detached from the "masses" in this former Belgian colony. They have always depended on foreign forces to run their country with the attendant disruptions. Democracy will come as a gift to the Congolese people when conditions are ripe - so we are told. But President Kabila must understand that democracy is a process, not an end product.

Alexactus T. Kaure Yonkers, N.Y.

'Antidrug misfire' is right on target

Thank you for astutely noting the inherent flaws of the new Higher Education Act of 1999 ("An antidrug misfire," May 7 editorial). It denies student loans to those who have any kind of drug conviction on their record, even simple marijuana possession.

At Florida State University in Tallahassee, student activists inform us that marijuana arrests by campus police dropped from over 1,200 during the 1999-2000 school year, to a grand total of 11 so far this academic year.

This is creating more than idle speculation that FSU regents are asking police to deemphasize drug law enforcement. Such a move could be deemed prudent in order to preserve federal loans that would be lost due to arresting more than 100 students monthly on simple charges. Once again it would seem there is far more brain power at your average university than in Washington.

Stephen Heath Clearwater, Fla. Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Getting to the source of cheating

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