Propaganda and the War in Sri Lanka

The article "War in Sri Lanka Feeds on Itself" (Aug. 12) on the Sri Lanka conflict is an excellent summary. I know the ground-level situation through many visitors from Jaffna and Batticalloa, Sri Lanka, and for the first time I am able to read an article in the press with some respect. So far the propaganda by the Sri Lankan government military machine has been so overwhelming that even the basic facts about the Tamil conflict have not been brought to the surface. The article tactfully and effectively brings out the core issues of the conflict without painting a simplistic picture that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are terrorists.

All self-respecting Tamils admire and bless LTTE. Singhalese leaders do not enjoy even an iota of trust among Tamils any more. Pacification of Jaffna Tamils will be seen in the future as a temporary drama. Forty years of deception against Tamils cannot be mended by a few strokes of economic tricks. Tamils want to be free as much as Americans wanted to be free from the British.

Dr. Sri M. Sri-Jayantha

Ossining, N.Y.

General Secretary for the Association of Sri Lankan Tamil in USA.

Teach abstinence

"Against Abortion? Family Planning Can Stop It" (Aug. 4) lacks important information:

(1) Access to contraceptives and sex education has not kept our teenagers healthy. Most teens lack the maturity to use contraceptives correctly and consistently. (2) Many resources now exist to assist pregnant teens to carry their babies to term, continue their education, and avoid abortion. (3) Women like Aunt Ruby have a birth-control alternative which is as effective as the pill: the sympto-thermal method. (4) Pro-life members of Congress who support a bill to stop drug plans from refusing to cover contraceptives would have a difficult time explaining their position, given that such a bill would force drug plans to subsidize the cost of the pill, which is an abortifacient.

It is possible to provide a comprehensive sex-education program that includes the risks and benefits of all the contraceptive methods while still emphasizing and encouraging the only choice that keeps our teens healthy: abstinence. Abstinence education is not about "punishing Louise," and is very much about helping her avoid sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.

Christina Mann

Oylmpia, Wash.

Sparing a quarter

I just read "Can you Spare a Quarter?" (Aug. 7), and it took me back many years to the day I was waiting for a bus in Newark, N.J., when a poor, old bum approached the group I was in and asked for a quarter for a cup of coffee. I tried to look away but he approached me and I was forced to look into his face. So I gave him a quarter and was immediately berated by my companion for encouraging him.

But I was going home to a warm house and a cooked meal, and if a quarter could buy a bit of comfort, I couldn't deny it. Besides, what about our daily lessons on helping the poor. I still feel sorry for a wasted life and hope there is redemption.

Florence Klem

Whiting, N.J.

Spoiling the romantic mood

I'm truly sorry to destroy your romantic mood about Home Depot in "Soft Lights and Hardware" (Aug. 12), but I just couldn't let one thing pass. The TriSodiumPhosphate you went shopping for was a phony. TSP, or what they are calling TSP, is not really TSP. The problem is that the phosphate had to be removed years ago when everyone joined in the phosphate ban. The result: TSP is now probably a sodium silicate compound plus some small quantity of detergents.

Sorry to spoil the romantic mood.

Dave Russell

Lilburn, Ga.

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