'Ethnic cleansing' -pogrom by another name I am very much bothered by the term "ethnic cleansing." The term makes these actions sound like a simple sorting out of ethnic groups, perhaps similar to the ethnic neighborhoods of the world's great cities.

I strongly urge your editorial staff to avoid using this common euphemism. We already have a word that neatly describes the behavior in question. It is "pogrom," meaning "an organized, often officially encouraged massacre or persecution of a minority group. [From Russian words meaning outrage, havoc]," according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

It seems to me that this is not a matter of political correctness or of ideology, but rather of accurately describing what happens in this process.

In other words, it is a matter of good journalism rather than of policy, whether social, political, religious, or otherwise.

Charles F. Flagg, Jamestown, R.I.

Parallel between Israel and Serbia Regarding the letter "Troubling comparison" (Readers Write, April 16) on ethnic cleansing: It is hard to believe the writer is as ignorant of Israel's early history as he seems to be. The writer says indignantly that Palestinians "have not been expelled or killed."

In 1948, following the massacre of Palestinians at the village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, 175,000 were expelled and more than 400 Palestinian villages destroyed. Nor have any of those expelled been allowed to return to Israel.

Frank Collins, Woodbridge, Va.

Director Middle East Data Center Don't slur foster parents

Regarding "Fight over mixed-race adoptions" (April 14): Your coverage was very good. In 1997 we completed a mixed-race adoption of our foster son, who is Samoan, Mexican, and German. One phrase, however, is not consistent with the rest of your article and is a public perception that foster parents battle in the media every day.

The picture accompanying the article certainly does not support the claim that these children are "languishing in foster care." I have only known children to thrive and blossom in foster care.

Please help by making the distinction that the children languish in the "system," not in our care!

Linda Bargmann, Escondido, Calif.

Reasoning behind NATO campaign Regarding "Dangers of the 'Kosovo principle'" (Readers Write, April 16): The author argues that in Kosovo, NATO is bombing a sovereign country - Yugoslavia - to obtain autonomy for the Kosovar Albanian minority. If we do this, he says, we must bomb Beijing to liberate Tibet and Madrid to liberate the Basques. He misses the point entirely: We are bombing the Serbs to force them to stop the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.

What is happening in Kosovo is not only the worst human-caused disaster in Europe since World War II, it is also the most destabilizing event, for the Balkans and for Europe since 1945. If we do not crush Milosevic now, the whole region will be engulfed in war and mass murder.

Jon Billigmeier, Santa Barbara, Calif.

'Messages from God' It was refreshing to read "Roadside religion goes nationwide" (April 9). The ad campaign, conducted by the Smith Agency in South Florida, was financed by an anonymous person, and that person should be complimented for putting money into such a worthwhile idea. Now it will be nationwide, and hopefully it will reach California.

Virginia Huff, Fallbrook, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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