Hope for Humanity in Bosnia
I am a naturalized American who was born in former Yugoslavia, and who still has a family living there. It hurts me to read about atrocities which are happening there now. They appear to me as a recapitulation of atrocities which I heard and read about during World War II. It is hard for me to believe that the people I knew and still know are capable of tolerating the present conditions without doing anything against the people who are responsible for this situation.
In light of my personal, mildly put disappointment, I feel proud of my heritage after reading the article "Crossing the Line in Bosnia's War," Oct. 19. This article serves as a light of hope for humanity. Although still isolated cases, the stories of bravery in Bosnia testify about people who deserve to be called human beings. It is reassuring to know that there are people who, in the tumult of egocentric, nationalistic interests and intrigues, still know what is right and what is wrong.
Their civil courage is a guarantee that the evil of ethnic and religious intolerance, even if disguised in democratic clothes and even if rationalizing the crimes that happen in its name, cannot and will not survive. Boris Martinac, Madison, Wis. Estonia: `Dual citizenship implies dual loyalty'
The article "Estonian Parliament Grapples With Transition to Democracy," Oct. 8, treats some highly subjective allegations as fact, giving the article less authority. The author states, "Moscow has condemned Estonia's stringent citizenship requirements as discriminatory," without qualifying what he or Moscow consider "stringent." Estonia asks for a two-year residency and knowledge of the basic Estonian language with command of a 1,500-word vocabulary. This is a rather liberal standard in the context of m ost European democracies.
What the Russians really seem to object to is the obligation to choose between Russian citizenship and Estonian citizenship. Dual citizenship implies dual loyalty, and most nations abhor such status. The excuse that Estonian is a difficult language is curious in the context of language requirements of nations like the United States. American officials do not exempt Chinese, Russians, or people from Afghanistan from having to learn English to attain US citizenship, despite the strangeness of the language to these people of diverse linguistic backgrounds. The author and numerous other Western kibitzers presume to hold the Baltic nations to standards for citizenship which are more liberal than their own. This seems grossly unfair. V. Racenis, Kenmore, N.Y.