US involvement in South Africa

Unfair treatment of citizens by government has become a major issue, especially in light of the current situation of apartheid in South Africa. Because of both internal and foreign pressure, the South African government is being forced to change. It is hoped this pressure will continue to be liberally applied there and spread to other offending governments of the world.

The issue should not be considered one solely of black vs. white, singling out South Africa, rather than of abuse of human rights. Cecilia Strecker Claremont, Calif.

Although I agree with the editorial's point that the oppressive racial policies of South Africa need to be changed (``South Africa: Reshaping US policy,'' March 15), I disagree with the thrust of the editorial because I question whether the United States should be actively involved in South Africa's internal policies at all. How would we feel if Mexico or Israel began pressuring the US on some issue they felt was a moral imperative?

The most recent argument I've heard defending the US attack on apartheid is that South Africa should be singled out for criticism and not the communist bloc which practices similar violations. This argument is based on the premise that the disenfranchisement of South African blacks is legally entrenched into the Constitution, while in the communist countries there is legally no discrimination.

Considering that the US has just as much of an economic investment in the Philippines as it does in South Africa, could it be that we are in fact unfairly singling out South Africa for criticism?

Also, the US is far more dependent on the South African government than is realized. After all, South Africa can obtain high technology from other Western democracies while the US is dependent on South Africa for minerals and natural resources that are available practically no where else but behind the Iron Curtain.

Finally, according to members of the South African human rights organization Black Sash, disinvestment would create severe hardship on black South Africans because of the resulting economic dislocations and job loss if US corporations were to leave. Greg Smith Canyon, Texas

Thank you for Peter Tonge's helpful article ``South African racism: cause and effect (March 16 International Edition).

Who better than a garden writer to clear away the stubble of restricted thinking, letting in light, and providing new views? On reflection, my thoughts on the subject were, no doubt, lying fallow with the self-righteousness referred to by Mr. Tonge. My attitude has now taken a more understanding turn.

I hope other readers were similarly moved, and that we shall be alert to the possibility that ``we in the West might find ourselves a tiny privileged minority sitting on a time bomb of discontent to the South.'' Stephen J. Croft Surrey, England

Thank you for the fine David Willis article on Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan [March 29]. But I wonder if the article leaves the impression that ``Sadri'' is the present Aga Khan IV, especially since no mention is made in the article of Karim, Sadri's nephew, who was made the titular head of the Ismaili religious community when he was only 20. Ferol Austen Windham, N.H.

We have found the story ``Ancient Greek sailors would feel right at home'' (March 7), on the building of a replica of the ancient Kyrenia ship that was recovered off Cyprus, most exciting. For any readers who may be interested, our embassy has a 16 mm documentary film on the salvaging and restoration of the Kyrenia ship produced jointly by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and National Geographic magazine. This 55-minute film can be obtained on loan free of charge by bona fide organizations and educational institutions.

Requests should be addressed to the Press Office, Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, 2211 R Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. Marios L. Evriviades, Press Counselor Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus Washington

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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