US, give Khatami a chance

Regarding your June 1 editorial "US vs. (Iran vs. Israel)": The events of the past 22 years in my country, Iran, have demonstrated that the clergy-dominated government is neither willing to improve, nor capable of improving, the fate of 70 million Iranians who have seen nothing but suppression and cruelty at the hands of the mullahs. Over the years, Iranians who have tried to voice opposition to this irrational, reactionary group of clergy have been murdered, jailed, or silenced. All this at the hands of the hard-liners, headed by Ayatollah Khamenei, who represent the mafia of power and corruption, as they are popularly called in Iran.

Four years ago, nearly 80 percent of eligible voters in Iran, tired ofthe present Islamic regime's misuse of power, elected Mohamad Khatami, hoping that he would be able to bring some measure of common sense to the ruling regime. From the very beginning of his administration, he was faced with insurmountable obstacles in the daily running ofgovernment.

Almost all his attempts to improve the lives of Iranians have in the past two yearsfailed because of thepowerful clergy.The instruments of suppression - the Revolutionary Guards, the national TV and radio, the judiciary, and the Ministry of Intelligence - have all been used successfully to create ongoing crisesfor Khatami's government, to make his administration look inefficient. In his own words, he has had, on average, one crisis every nine days throughout his term of office.

What I and many other Iranians do not understand is: Why has the US government, with all its claims of promoting democracy in the world, done nothing to help the Iranian people achieve their democratic goals? I would expect US support of the kind given to the Russians, and later the Yugoslavs, to promote democracy in Iran, too. The Iranian political situation is now ripe for change. I believe that with a little help from the US, President Khatami, who is very likely to win the next election, can help us move closer to democracy in Iran.

Saeed Rahbarnia Toronto, Canada

The White House family isn't perfect

Regarding your June 4 articles "Bush's controversial bid to promote marriage" and "First daughters: Legitimate news ... or tabloid topic?": President Bush's sanctimonious, self-righteous preaching about how other people should live and raise their children makes the illegal activities of his own children legitimate concerns for the nation and the press. The man who pledged to "restore honor and integrity to the White House" has no right to claim privacy about the illegal and dishonorable behavior of his children.

How the Bushes raised their daughters became a legitimate news topic when, in response to the deadly high school shooting near San Diego, Mr. Bush piously intoned that Americans must teach their children right from wrong.

With the Bush bid to "promote marriage," we once again get the two-faced, hypocritical Republicans self-righteously pointing their fingers at others, while ignoring the problems in their own homes.

Joann Olbrich Staten Island, N.Y.

Bad, bad beatnik!

I was thrilled to read your May 23 article "Lost in the rhythm." Kudos to you for this feature! But regarding your photo caption "Beat of the bongos": In the picture, all the drums pictured were West African djembe, Ashiko, and Conga drums. There was not a bongo in sight! Bongos are small double drums that are tucked up under the arm or sit in front of the player - the drums used by '60s "beatniks."

Lori Kaplanis San Rafael, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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