Slovenians' identities misunderstood

The author of the article ``In a Peaceful Corner of Former Yugoslavia, an Envy for Europe,'' Jan. 6 states that Slovenians are spurning their Slavic roots for a strictly European identity. This is completely misleading and misinformed. Slovenians are proud of their Slavic roots, but they do want the world to understand that these roots are a part of the Western Slavic world and not the Southern Slavic one, where historians tend to place them. As direct descendants of the proto-Slavic Veneti, and first cousins to the Wends, whose culture flourished in what are now Germanic lands prior to its destruction by Otto I, Slovenians have been a part of the Western world for millenia.

There is an unfounded belief among historians that all Slavic-speaking people share a common origin and culture. This is just as erroneous as stating that all nations speaking Latin-derived languages are one. Slavic histories diverged in antiquity, and, just like all Western nations, so too the Slavs have not seen eye to eye over the centuries. It is time to correct the falsehood that being Slavic somehow implies being non-European. Western Slavs have always been Europeans, albeit not Latin or Germanic. A.J. Arko, Los Alamos, N.M.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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