German bad conscience endures

Regarding your June 20 article "Plight of Afghans in Germany": Germany is running over with the world's poorest people, it seems. I do think it is good and necessary to be helpful and compassionate with all who suffer. But considering our possibilities (the size of the country, the economic welfare of our tax-payers, and rising crime rates), I think we are doing a whole lot to help and relieve from their burdens all who are pouring in.

To give my own children a proper education - even though our state universities are more or less free - is nowadays a financial ordeal. Our social system is weaker than ever, and the prospects are blight. The problem is, Germany is neglecting her own children and instead coughing behind the demands of others. And why?

One of the reasons seems to me the perpetuate bad conscience Germans are nurturing concerning their political past - from generation to generation. With this constellation, is it a surprise to find a soil for evil from the political right wing?

Gabriele Kaufmann Ulm, Germany

What happened to authentic speeches?

In response to your June 18 editorial "Taking Russia to the ranch": I will not take issue with the confusing statements of George W. Bush, but rather with yourchoosing to quote him at length, thereby giving credence to his supposed sentiments.I must question your assumption that because these words were spoken by him, they originated in his thoughts and are consequently his belief.

What gives Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address continued moral force today is the fact that the words originated from him alone; he had no speechwriters, as presidents of late.Will the speeches of George W. Bush withstand the test of time and inspire future generations?As they are but parroted sentiments devised by his staff, I think not.

Robert G. Mahardy Sherburne, N.Y.

Blame Canada again?

While I am a big fan of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," your June 20 article, "Canucks are full of yuks at Yankee blunders," misses two important points.

Americans may know next to nothing about Canada, but neither do Canadians. Despite extensive efforts in the schools and expensive TV campaigns designed to enlighten Canadians as to their cultural heritage, very few Canucks have half a clue. I will never forget the time when, during my first year living north of the border at a Canadian university, an agitated fellow student charged down our dormitory hallway to ask me, "Who is the prime minister of Canada?"

Canadians make fun of the US because it is the only way they can define themselves. The bilingual experiment of Pierre Trudeau is dead: Quebecois care little for English, Anglos in the Western provinces care nothing for French. The bilingual fiction lasts only as long as Ontario can prop it up. The worship of multiculturalism has created a nation with no nationality, a culture with no commonality.

Americans should not begrudge their northern neighbors a few jokes. Canadians need some laughs on their long national slide into oblivion.

Howard Fienberg Washington (Dual citizen, Canada-US)

Slaves to the school system

Regarding your June 18 article "Educating the poor: time to boost funds": Some say "Vouchers take money from public schools." So did emancipation take money from slaveholders, if humans were property. But children are not by right the property of any school. The money should follow the child.

Henry Davidson Weston, Mass.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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