US Vote an Example For Arabs
Thank you for the front-page article "US Vote Cheers Arabs Yearning for Democracy," Nov. 10. Having a keen interest in North Africa, I found the article both enlightening and informative. However, one group of Algerians and Moroccans you failed to bring to light is the often forgotten students and immigrants who have made their homes in southern France in hope of finding a better life, a better education, and more freedom.
I just returned from a two-year study program in southern France, and with me I brought the memories of Moroccan friends and a greater understanding of the Arab culture. The thousands of Arabs in southern France have similar attitudes as their friends in Algeria and Morocco toward the American government. But, because of their exposure to Western culture and ideals, these students have a deeper understanding of what the election of Gov. Bill Clinton could mean to their struggling governments back home.
A country's future rests with its youth. Therefore, North Africa's future of freedom and democracy lies with the Arab students who study in southern France, and their opinions of the recent presidential election deserve and demand the same attention given to the people who live in North Africa. Mark D. Powell, Rexburg, Idaho
I congratulate the author for the positive approach he takes in this article. While the people of Algeria, hoping for democracy, watched our political system at work during the United States presidential election and wondered how the outcome would affect their interests, I am proud that North Africans noticed the graciousness of our leadership following the election. They saw that Americans have a democracy that encourages getting behind the new president-elect, regardless of which candidate we voted for
in the election.
The last quote in the article that a businessman made after watching President Bush's concession speech is worth repeating: "The most powerful man on Earth has just lost his battle, and his first response is to call on the country and his people to stand behind his rival. That's a beautiful lesson for all of us." Jamey A. Brown, Florence, Ala. Racial prejudice in Paris
Regarding the Opinion page article "Intolerance Rears Its Head," Nov. 19: Though racial prejudice may be a factor in the author's experience, I can't help wondering if the author might be reading more into his experience in Paris than is really there.
Another reason why the "welcome mat" may have been "pulled out from under the feet of France's African and Arab residents" is simply due to the failure of socialism. Idealists love to dream about providing cradle-to-grave care for everyone and welcoming all immigrants indiscriminately. But the central question socialists absolutely refuse to ask is, "At whose expense?" John H. Carlson, Temple City, Calif.