Pressure Indonesia for Change in East Timor

The article ``Indonesia Regime Retains Grip, but Faces, and Allows, More Dissent,'' Feb. 25, discusses the issue of human rights in Indonesia. But to refer to a ``separatist rebellion'' in East Timor and to a military shooting incident that led to ``more than 60 people believed missing'' is a gross understatement of East Timor's tragedy. Nowhere does the article mention that East Timor was an independent country that was invaded in 1975 by the Indonesian military only hours after the departure of Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger from Jakarta, and that East Timor has since been annexed.

It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 (8 to 16 percent of East Timor's population) have been killed by the Indonesian armed forces. And the response of the United States government has been increased military aid to the Indonesian regime.

The Western press has no difficulty recounting the horrors of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, a country where we have little influence. The US does have influence in Indonesia. An informed American public can pressure the government to use that influence to bring about change in East Timor. This can happen only with an accurate press that paints the entire picture. James York, Boulder, Colo.

Where have all the haddock gone?

The new restrictions on New England fishermen mentioned in the article ``Fishermen Say New Restrictions Will Force Them To Scale Back,'' Feb. 7, are now haltingly being put into effect. The article mirrors the views of the vocal fishermen regarding all management proposals and actions since the federal Magnuson Act to conserve the domestic fisheries came into effect in 1976.

To most readers who do not follow this issue there may be some confusion. Perhaps a comparison of past and present haddock landings will help. The National Marine Fisheries Service statistical office has released preliminary catch statistics of haddock landed in New England fishing ports in 1993: about 1.6 million pounds. These haddock were landed by the 500 groundfishing vessels with federal permits to catch groundfish (haddock is classified as a groundfish). A copy of a Jan. 29, 1929, Boston paper gave the landings at the Boston Fish Pier for that day. The 31 vessels landing at the fish pier landed 1,028,350 pounds of groundfish, of which 735,000 pounds were haddock.

In other words, 31 not too technically advanced boats that January day in 1929 in Boston landed about 45 percent of what the 500 technically advanced boats landed during the entire year of 1993.

Who or what is at fault? I hope some of the public will get involved in the discussion. As one who has been both a New England fisherman and a federal and state ``fishcrat'' involved in fisheries management, and an attendee at too many fishery meetings, I can comfortably say I have never met at any of these meetings a vocal person whose primary reason for being there was to speak for and protect the fish. Robert Bruce, Essex, Mass.

Romania's `human relations'

Regarding the economy-page article ``Romanian Reform Efforts Progress Only Ploddingly,'' March 9: As the author states, the ex-Communist leadership leans heavily on Western crutches in the form of millions of dollars from the United States and the International Monetary Fund.

It is a good sign that the country is climbing out of the hole that Nicolae Ceausescu and socialism dug in the land's fertile ground. However, I still believe that there is a long journey for the Romanians until they will be able to join the democratic world. While the article noted the economic advances, it ignored the Romanian interpretation of human relations. The leaders, most of them former Communists, are totally ignoring the rights of ethnic minorities. These minorities number in the millions.

Until the Romanian government grants political and religious rights to all its citizens (the Eastern Orthodox religion was forced on Uniate Catholics by Ceausescu's gang) as they said they would in the Helsinki agreement, the West cannot believe the Romanian state ``will weather its current difficulties,'' as the Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu optimistically declared. Stephen Torok, Warm Mineral Spring, Fla.

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