Croatia's Side of the Story

I am glad to see the editorial "Croatia's Extremity," Sept. 18, calling for some action to stop the Serbian communists' bloodbath. But I am dismayed by the attempt to illustrate that the Croatians "provoked the Serbs."With the very first document to emerge from the new Croatian Republic, its declaration of independence on June 25, 1991, the Croatian government guaranteed not only civil rights, but unique rights to the Serbian minority. In its first parliamentary session, the Croatian Parliament adopted "The Charter relating to the rights of Serbs and other nationalities in the Republic of Croatia." I doubt there is any nation in the world with more specific guarantees to a national minority. The editorial states that the Croats "forced Serbs to take loyalty oaths and recently fired many of them from government jobs." The Croatian government has requested the loyalty of all citizens to the new government. The only Serbian civil servants fired were in the police, which was more than 80 percent Serbian, even though Serbs represent less than 12 percent of the Croatian population. The Croatian people, through democratic and free elections, voted for a democratic, market-based government by more than 90 percent. Exercising the right guaranteed by the Yugoslav Constitution, they voted again by more than 90 percent to leave the Yugoslav federation. Since last October, the Croatian and Slovenian governments have attempted through negotiation to establish a loose confederation. The response was an attempted Serbian military coup. Forced to declare independence, the response has been the slaughter of hundreds, the burning of fields and villages, and the intentional destruction of national architectural, cultural, and religious treasures. C. Michael McAdams, Sacramento, Calif

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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