Letters to the Editor

Readers argue for Kosovo's independence, debate the merit of moms letting sons play video games, and poke fun at Little League parents.

An independent Kosovo would not violate the norm

In response to the May 7 Opinion piece by Hurst Hannum, "A better plan for Kosovo": Mr. Hannum is wrong when he says that independence for Kosovo will undo the "most cherished principles of international law – the territorial integrity of states."

International law allows for this kind of change. During the past 50 years, dozens of new countries were put on the map of Africa and Asia as several colonized nations finally gained their right to self-determination and sovereignty.

Just as Kosovo was part of Serbia, these new countries that won international recognition used to be part of existing political entities. Furthermore, Hannum's effort to portray the parts in Kosovo as both victims and aggressors is morally offensive. The organized, premeditated ethnic cleansing campaign waged by Slobodan Milosevic, killing thousands of ethnic Albanian civilians and forcibly expelling hundreds of thousands, cannot be compared with the sporadic revenge attacks that some Albanians later committed.

Ruben Avxhiu
New York

Video games: What's a mom to do?

Regarding Janine Wood's May 4 Opinion piece, "Why moms give in to video games": I think it would do Ms. Wood well to reconsider her prejudice against this entertainment-artistic medium.

Her arguments are reminiscent of the detractors of cinema and, before them, critics of the novel. While one may object to certain films, music, paintings, or books for that matter, I find it myopic for one to condemn an entire medium of expression in such a wholesale manner.

Wood claims that video games cause boys to not study, not play, and not talk to one another. As a 21-year-old male, I find this assertion indicative of a generational gender gap. Contrary to the popular belief of many mothers, playing video games is and has been an important socializing tool for a generation of young men. I have many fond memories of gaming with friends, which is something we still do together.

I've managed to come within a year of a BA in history and have learned the Arabic language – all with my PlayStation along for the ride.

Austin Branion
Atlanta

Regarding Janine Wood's Opinion piece on moms rejecting video games: I'm not sure why the question of video games has to be an either/or issue. Like most things in life, one needs moderation and discretion.

What's wrong with a variety of activities, including video games? Alongside the PlayStation, though, we have books, board games, playing cards, puzzles, LEGO building sets; and, in our backyard, sports equipment. I make sure all get equal use by my children.

I'll admit it wasn't I who brought home our PlayStation, but I don't mind my sons playing it for a modest amount of time as they unwind from a full day at school before tackling homework.

Lorna Scherff
North Tustin, Calif.

In response to Janine Wood's Opinion piece on mothers and video games: Mothers saying no to their sons' demand for video games requires a plan and some time, but it can be done.

Here in Australia, mothers having a problem such as this one often use a "telephone tree" to contact one another and collectively decide what to do.

It is no good if only one or two mothers say no. But it is highly effective if mothers all band together with a single policy because then it becomes impossible for children to play one mother against another.

Can a band of teenagers really outsmart a team of determined parents? Mothers should learn to outsmart their sons, for their own good.

Eve Laing
Wangaratta, Australia

In response to Janine Wood's May 4 Opinion piece on video games: Ms. Wood writes, "We tell our children to 'just say no' to drugs. Resist pressure from peers, we say, while simultaneously doing our utmost to make sure our children fit in."

The situation is much more problematic than that! Every time parents compromise on an ethical question because of the child's nagging or to help a child fit in, they teach the child that it is OK to set ethics aside because of peer pressure.

The child might apply this lesson to any ethical decision, including drug use or any other criminal behavior.

If we can't say no and stick to it, how can we teach our children to do just that?

Marilyn Zavitz
Toronto

Kids play ball; parents play politics

In response to the May 4 article, "Little league, big politics": I very much enjoyed the "letter" to Capitol City Little League parents. Here at the international headquarters of Little League Baseball and Softball, we occasionally hear complaints about the politics of a local Little League.

It's not surprising that's been taken to a whole new level – albeit somewhat satirically – in our nation's capital! Nice work.

Lance Van Auken
Senior Communications Executive, Little League International
Williamsport, Pa.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because ofthe volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor returnunpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing.Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephonenumber. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write' and opinion articles to OpinionPage, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, ore-mail to Op-Ed.

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