The West, too, had bad taste in architecture

A July 25 article states that a Saudi relief agency is helping to rebuild ancient Mosques in Kosovo and that the ancient character of the architecture suffers in the renovations ("Second casualty of war: historic architectural sites"). I find it highly ironic that there should be an outcry now about the Saudi architectural aesthetics in Bosnia. I am curious as to where all the protesters were when all the major third world cities and a lot of the minor ones were being defiled by the European- and American-designed monstrosities of high modernism.

Laleh Khalili Edinburgh, England

Democracy in Pakistan

Regarding Richard Hottelet's July 25 opinion piece, "How to end the India-Pakistan cold war": India's powers derive not from its number of troops or the size of exports, but from the strength of its democracy.

The recent Agra summit was a demonstration of that, and a stark reminder of how concentrated power is in Pakistan, with a military ruler in civilian clothing at its head. The decision to invite Musharraf was one put forward by the prime minister and agreed to by his cabinet. Similarly, the decision to reject the final summit communique, while agreed to by the prime minister, was taken by more hawkish elements within the cabinet. Such are the difficult, but necessary, constraints democratic institutions place on leaders.

Unfortunately, as long as the will of Pakistanis continues to be subverted, and fundamentalist groups maintain their influence at the top, consensus, and therefore more moderate policies, will continue to be thwarted. As will the cause for peace in the region.

Congressman Mervyn Dymally (retired) Washington Congressman Dymally served on the House International Relations Subcommittee on South Asia from 1980-92.

Cheers to tough reporters

Anyone who doesn't read Reporters on the Job has no idea what they're missing! These reporters face situations most of us will never have to deal with, spending hours, sometimes weeks, to bring us articles which take us only minutes to read. Let's not only appreciate them. Let's pray for them. These reporters are really remarkable human beings, and I thank the Monitor for including this column in every issue.

Carolyn Hill Citrus Heights, California

Jug upon jug of rainwater

I would like to answer Jeffrey Shaffer, whose recent opinion column was about wishing he could make a business out of collecting water from rainfall ("How to make a buck from rainwater," June 29).

As a result of a summer drought here in July a few years back, that led to water-use restrictions, it occurred to me that I could catch it from the gutter that was connected to a carport roof only about 10' x 20' in size. By putting a small galvanized tub under the downspout, I could get a tub-full after only two inches of rain! That was enough to fill eight or nine empty gallon milk jugs!

This technology gave enough water to maintain about 50 full jugs at all times. I used water on the garden, flowers, and to wash the car, and had enough left over for a winter's supply, which I used to take care of all the house plants (mostly geraniums).

In the old days (when I was a boy), many homes had cisterns that caught and stored the water used for washing clothes or for baths. Funny though, we have not had any annual brownouts in July for the past few years. However, there are dry, shorter stretches from time to time.

Allan M. Herdman Branchville, N.J.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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