The American Way vs. France's Rural Way of Life

Regarding the Opinion page article "The Americanization of Rural France," Dec. 17: At last someone is articulating what most Americans just don't seem to understand - some things are more important than bottom-line profits.

I have lived in Provence and know what the author is talking about. It is a place where one can walk for miles through fields, forests, and delightful little villages; bathe in rivers and streams; see small family-run farms that look like those pictures suburban Americans dream over.

These are the kinds of things virtually all Frenchmen, farmers, and city dwellers, are willing to pay for, and with good reason. Contrast what I have described with the general American rural landscape or land-wasting suburbs, oversized resource-wasting homes, and enormous fenced-in fields.

Wake up, America! Listen to the French, and we might just understand that we are laying waste our country's land and depriving millions of its people of a rural livelihood - so that a few might live in shamefully wasteful luxury. Jon F. Myhre, Pasadena, Calif. Germany's asylum law

In the Opinion page article "Asylum Law Misses Point," Dec. 15, the author should have listed the ways in which Germany's politicians could use the institutions "to seek peaceful and positive responses to the right-wing outbursts." Why reeducate that tiny segment of youth responsible for violent acts? They seem to have made up their minds. Eliminating the target of the youth's hatred certainly is a step in the right direction given that most asylum seekers are actually economic rather than political refu gees. Peter H. Dreyer, Westwood, Mass. Racial violence in school

Regarding the article "Racial Riot Shows Buried Tensions At a High School," Dec. 21: The saddest part of the Medford, Mass., racial violence is that the same old nostrums are dragged out. "Society" made the kids do it; the community meetings will assure parents that their kids are safe; and "it won't happen again."

Living together and cultural understanding have not worked too well in India, Liberia, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, so why should it work any better in Medford?

If the students don't fight over race, they will fight over religion, social class, or allegiance to a school or an athletic team. It's the kind of adolescent competition that is encouraged and fostered in the name of school "spirit," which some of us never outgrow. We will be helpless until we accept that our freedom to wave our arms stops at our neighbor's nose - a novel idea in our present violent society in which the mildest insult excuses the cruelest response. Charles M. Breinin, Tonawanda, N.Y.

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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