I appreciated "Struggles of Israel's Ethiopian Jews" (March 17). But I felt a deep sadness reading about the racism against these dark-skinned members of the Jewish family. I knew of their transport to Israel but was hoping that Jewish people - a global minority who have suffered for so long in so many ways - would not discriminate against their own brothers and sisters.

I know that Sephardic Jews in general have a hard time in Israel. It is shameful that some Israelis believe that "they can't really be Jews, they are black."

Discrimination against any group is a disgrace to Jewish people around the world. As an American of Jewish descent, I sincerely regret that the student quoted was incorrect when he said of the United States, "there is no racism [there]."

Dalya Massachi

Athens, Ohio

UN agency finds own lapses

"UN Watchdog Groups Acts as Conscience" (April 3) refers to an ongoing investigation concerning accounting irregularities and overpayments for construction projects in several developing countries. However, the article fails to make clear that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its own management and internal auditors, first uncovered the financial improprieties. UNDP turned to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for its valuable support for some external aspects of the investigation. UNDP very much appreciates the assistance provided by OIOS, a valuable partner in the investigation.

James Gustave Speth

New York

United Nations Development Programme

Resisting bias against Iran

I want to both commend and criticize "Driven by Oil and Spite for US, Iran Reaches for Dominance" (April 8).

It was interesting that your article had an impartial tone with respect to Iran and its economic undertakings. I find it very saddening when most of the media consistently refer to Iran as a "rogue nation" or a "terrorist country," insulting all Iranians and not just the current government.

However, I found the article somewhat incorrect in that it exaggerates Iran as a powerful, dominating country while failing to mention the multitude of economic and other problems facing its citizens.

I also dispute your account that Iran intends to "dominate." I think Iran acts in its own interests, hopefully because the "Islamic" government is realizing that pragmatism and relations with the US are more beneficial than "extremist" dogma. Peace, security, and our interests will be better served by having access to Iran and being able to use our influence to help democratic elements grow, while reaping economic benefits both for the United States and Iran.

S. Marvasti

Troy, N.Y.

Old meaning of 'Young Turks'

In the editorial "Summit Surprises" (March 19) the term "Young Turks" expresses a positive connotation. Knowing history, however, leaves a different impression. The origin of "Young Turks" goes back to 1908 when a revolution in Turkey proclaimed an end to the oppressive policy of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II. The English poet William Watson referred to him as "Abdul the Damned." His overthrow was carried out by the Ittihad-Terraki party (Committee of Union and Progress), or "Young Turks." Directed by its leadership (Talaat, Enver and Jemal), the "Young Turks" organized and carried out the 1915-1923 genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.

Moorad Alexanian

Wilmington, N.C.

Editor's Note: Absolutely correct. But meanings evolve over time. A dictionary definition of Young Turk is "any of a group of younger people seeking to take control of an organization, party, country, etc. from an entrenched, usually conservative, group of older people." That happens to describe the Yeltsin government's young reformers.

Your letters are welcome. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to oped@csps.com

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