As someone who has visited Albania five times in the last 14 months, let me take issue with the impression of Albania given by the authors of the Opinion page article "Albania's Need for Radical Reform," July 1.
There is no doubt that the infrastructure collapsed under the xenophobic Hoxha-Alia regime. But to gauge a nation's respect for the rule of law based upon a cab driver's inconsistent fare quote would mean that half of the foreign visitors flying into New York City and Washington, D.C., could consider us in the same way.
Albanian President Sali Berisha just concluded a visit with President Bush. One of his requests was to help his fledgling democracy find legal scholars to draft laws that protect property and stimulate investment, laws that protect individual liberty and the environment. Mr. Berisha and his democratic government are the youngest cabinet in the former communist bloc and they, more than anyone recognize the need for everything. Jack Buechner, Washington, Pres., International Republican Institute Of language and culture
I concur so heartily with the ideas expressed by the author of the Opinion page column "Language is the Guardian of the Culture," July 8, that nothing more is needed except an enthusiastic "Amen." Would that more people realize his premises. Irene Taber, Fairfield Glade, Tenn. Many Ethiopians want peace
The article "Tribe Boycotts Ethiopian Vote," June 19, over simplifies the issues concerning the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). It says, "Much of the problem lies in the confusion among Oromos themselves about what they want, analysts say." The OLF for the last 15 years, and the Oromo people for a 100 years, have made known what they want: freedom.
One week later, the article "Ethiopia's Ruling Ethnic Coalition Is Shaken After Vote," June 26, blames the OLF for continued tensions and says nothing about the number of violations by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). It does not mention the slaughter of Oromo demonstrators in Watar by the EPRDF, or even hint that the OLF was supposed to be a partner with a valid voice in the coalition government.
The assertion that the head of the EPRDF, Meles Zenawi, on his own volition recognized "Ethiopia's ethnic diversity" and "established a transitional coalition government," is misleading. Mr. Zenawi has no more respect for the peoples of the south than any of his predecessors did.
The Oromo people do not want war. They have suffered enough war and destruction. Rather, the OLF has repeatedly expressed its preference to resolve these conflicts politically.
Unfortunately, those who thrive on violence take such gestures as timidity and weakness. No struggle for freedom is fought and won because of military balance but in spite of it. Teferi Fufa, Minneapolis Racial balance in US politics
In the editorial "Al Gore - A Solid Choice," July 10, you mention that Al Gore could bring Southern white voters "home."
It would be of great benefit to the country if African-American voters pulled the lever for an independent candidate - be it Ross Perot or another. This would help achieve some balance in our political system by making it more responsive to people of color.
I am confident that the unlikely ticket of Ross Perot/Jesse Jackson would walk away with the election hands down. Mauris L. Emeka, Port Orchard, Wash.