Dancing to a cultural beat

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the crisis in former Yugoslavia over the last few years. I support very strongly the Monitor's editorial stand against the atavistic barbarism and ethnic aggression of some of the major groups and their leaders. The cover story ``Balkan Refugees Flood Croatia,'' Dec. 19, is yet another moving story of the tragedies caused by these conflicts.

A man from former Yugoslavia who teaches at Oregon State University in Corvallis talked to a church gathering a couple of years ago. He made one very striking claim. He said that the second largest ``ethnic'' group in former Yugoslavia is what would be called ``Yugoslavians,'' that is, persons whose parents or grandparents were from more than one of the traditional ethnic groups in the country. One of the tragedies of these recent conflicts is the disenfranchising of this large group of people as the new republics have sought ethnic purity in politics and social affairs. My concern has come from an awareness developed through my recreational hobby of international folk dancing. We learn dances from many countries, but the Balkan countries have an especially rich heritage of this traditional art form. As we learn more of the dancing tradition, we also learn about the cultures of this area. Denis White, Corvallis, Ore.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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