Serbian-Albanian Conflict in Kosovo Has Historical Roots
Regarding the article "Kosovo's Albanians Set Up Parallel Government Services," June 29, about the Serbian-Albanian conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo: It is true that the Albanians are an overwhelming majority (90 percent) in Kosovo.
However, as recently as 50 years ago, the beginning of World War II, the population was evenly divided between Serbs and Albanians. With the aid of Mussolini's forces, the Albanians started a campaign of terror and slaughter similar to the one embarked upon by the Croatian Ustashe against the Serbs in Croatia. Consequently, the Serb population escaped northward.
After the war, Tito refused to let the Kosovo Serbs return and encouraged Albanians from Albania to settle in Kosovo, which they did by the hundreds of thousands. As a Marxist, Tito wanted to destroy symbols of ethnic pride and solidarity. Since the Serbs were Yugoslavia's largest group, creating an Albanian majority in Kosovo and making Kosovo a province of Serbia was a logical step for Tito.
I do not condone Belgrade's heavy hand in Kosovo today. But there is a complex historical context to the Kosovo conflict which the author has overlooked in this article, and other articles he has written on this subject. For Serbs, Kosovo is the Alamo, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, and Jerusalem all combined into one symbol. S. Majstorovic, Boulder, Colo., Post-Doctoral Research Assoc., University of Colorado Prices reflect costly polluting
Regarding the Economy page column "Public, Not Business, Pays for Cleanup," June 22: Used properly, environmental regulation merely corrects an imperfect market, requiring polluting companies to factor in the hidden, external costs of the environmental damage that their operations cause when deciding how much to produce. Of course, we expect these companies to produce fewer goods, at a higher cost.
But companies and industries whose products are produced in an environmentally sound manner (there are a large and growing number of these) do not have to pay the costs of pollution-control equipment, and neither do their customers. The overall effect is to shift production and consumption away from the dirty industries toward cleaner ones. J. Whitehead, Merritt Isle, Fla. Environmental rights
The editorial "Property Rights vs. Environment," July 2, gives a fine explanation of the facts of the recent Supreme Court case, Lucas v. South Carolina.
The author's conclusion, however, that land is "a most valuable asset" and that "government shouldn't be allowed simply to wipe out the value of property, even for environmental protection," exposes the very root of our present environmental crises.
As long as we treat land as a commodity and enshrine the rights of property owners to exploit or trade this commodity for financial gain regardless of environmental consequences, we will fail in our efforts to achieve a truly sustainable environment.
What is urgently needed is full acceptance of a new land ethic in which land, with its soils, waters, plants, and animals, is recognized as having certain inviolable rights subordinate to no others.
To some, this may seem extreme. But to many others it is all too clear where our present land ethic will take us so long as significant financial gain is permitted for those who build on, fill in, or pave over fragile habitat, cut the last old-growth timber, or contaminate the waters with industrial effluent. Steven McAllister, Rockport, Maine