Letters

Sanctions are not the answer for Zimbabwe

Regarding "The Rhodesian Plan" (Opinion, Aug. 6): Grant Newsham's knowledge of Zimbabwe's history appears deficient, while his prescription for the country's woes is deeply disturbing.

There is no serious dispute that sanctions were not the key factor in bringing down Ian Smith's racist regime. As Patrick Bond points out in his book "Uneven Zimbabwe," from the mid-1960s (when sanctions were imposed) "the number of different products [in Rhodesia] increased from 1,059 in 1967 to 3,837 in 1970.... By 1971 it was said that the homes of even high-income whites could be entirely furnished with Rhodesian-made goods." Ultimately, it was the leverage exerted by neighboring leaders that led to that nation's independence in 1980.

Mr. Newsham's call for total economic sanctions in a country where 6 million people currently face starvation is astounding. A good example of the effect of the kind of sanctions Newsham calls for on Zimbabwe is Iraq. In the 11 years sanctions have been imposed there, they've led to the deaths of at least 500,000 children and further entrenched Saddam Hussein's regime. Zimbabwe can never be free while Robert Mugabe remains in power. Newsham's ideas are equally depressing.
Mark Olden London

Regarding "The Rhodesian Plan": I couldn't agree more. The idea that the US or any other "civilized" country would not immediately impose the kind of sanctions needed against the Mugabes of the world is outrageous.
J. Thomas
Los Angeles

Save all sea turtles

As you rightly point out in "Sea turtles' net gain" (Editorial, Aug. 5), all six species of sea turtles that swim in US waters remain listed as threatened or endangered, despite the rebound of Kemp's ridley sea-turtle populations. One reason for the rebound is the effective use of turtle-excluder devices (TEDs) sewn into fishing nets, which allow the turtles to escape.

Unfortunately, current TEDs are only effective for small turtles – such as Kemp's ridleys – and fail to release the larger loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles. The government estimates it will cost at most $200 per net for improved TEDs that will allow all sea turtles to escape. However, despite a clear, cost-effective solution, the Bush administration has repeatedly delayed issuing new TED requirements.

Further delay is unacceptable. TEDs have worked for Kemp's ridley sea turtles; improved TEDs can give other sea turtle species the same chance for survival. Sea turtles should not go the way of the dinosaurs when solutions are at hand.
Charlotte Gray
WashingtonMarine wildlife scientist

Fantasy knows no boundaries

Regarding "The lure of the unreal (Arts & Leisure, Aug. 2): There's another aspect that makes fantasy films (and literature) important: the ability to cross social lines.

A movie like "Sleepless in Seattle" might just be a story about rich white people to some folks who are neither, and have little to say to someone living in downstate Illinois. But everyone can respond to and identify with Frodo Baggins or Harry Potter. Fantasy, at its best, can distill primal themes from the web of social details, class distinctions, and so on that too often divide us.

And since an ever-increasing portion of Hollywood's sales are overseas, it's no wonder that the powers that be look kindly on movies that aren't anchored in a specific cultural frame.
Peter Gillis
Elgin, Ill.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. 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 oped@csps.com.

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