Western Involvement and the Rights of Bosnian Muslims

The editorial "The Muslim Dimension," Sept. 9, accurately summarizes the fears of reopening the historic religious divisions between East and West "to offer real help to Bosnia, whose Muslims have been mercilessly killed and driven from their land." I have arrived at a similar conclusion while visiting Egypt in July, where I tried to understand the religious and ethnic dynamics of the region.

In my perception, due to the West's inaction in Bosnia, the general populace in Egypt was becoming quite resentful of our duplicity when compared with the "coalition" against Iraq. The fundamentalist movements in Egypt and other Muslim countries of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are already using the events in Bosnia to invoke historical memories of the "Crusades" as political resources in order to destabilize the governments which may have been somewhat pro-West in our recent past.

I admire the Monitor's courage to stand up for the rights of Bosnian Muslims who are being massacred and raped while the West sits and watches. Such a position, however, must be based on our broader conception of human justice, rather than on consideration of Bosnians as the "European Muslims - more Western than many Yugoslavs." Bilal Hashmi, Cheney, Wash. Professor of Sociology, Eastern Washington Univ.

Recent Monitor editorials seem to urge direct and immediate United States military involvement in Yugoslavia. This is extremely bad advice.

The US need not become isolationist, but it must allow Europe to take the lead in European affairs. With the demise of the Soviet Union, we have an opportunity to utilize the United Nations mechanism for peacekeeping and require other countries, more directly affected by a particular conflict, to contribute on a basis proportionate to their respective involvement. To suggest surgical air strikes by US air power is irresponsible and could give us another Vietnam - which the media constantly deplore. David J. Reese, Reno, Nev.

Family planning in India

Although India has trouble reaching family planning goals, I take exception to the statement in the news article "Mixed Results Mark Asian Family Planning," Sept. 15, that India has been "slow to recognize the problem." I was connected with village health work in India from 1949 to 1977. India started struggling with the problem in the early 1950s, but affordable contraceptives were crude and ineffective, and international funds were limited by the objections of the Catholic Church.

Later a cheap contraceptive was invented and international funds were available. India pushed for its use, but under village conditions there were complications. Having seen how family planning can decrease malnutrition in children, I was appalled when former President Ronald Reagan cut funds for international family planning and withheld dues to the United Nations. Florence M. Wright, Canton, Pa.

Reporting on South Africa

Regarding the article, "Pretoria's `Divide and Rule' Strategy in Ciskei," Sept. 9: The coverage of government-military impropriety in South Africa has been extraordinary. It is ironic that for years the South African government, attempting to preserve minority rule, has said that under majority rule the country would become like other African states: dictatorial and impoverished. Yet it seems white South Africa is more like its neighbors than not. It is a military state with the continent's most refined civilian guise. Michael L. Lyster, Fullerton, Calif. -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/92/sep/day30/30202.

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