Macedonian Orthodox Church has struggled to keep its identity

In response to the April 12 article, "Jailed priest pushes for religious freedom": I am a Macedonian Orthodox Christian. I am strong in my faith in God and am loyal to the Christian church. I have read articles on the Monitor's website regarding the disagreement between the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

I am tired of hearing the negative reports about the Macedonian Orthodox Church. With all due respect, it seems Monitor writers have little idea about the history of the Macedonian Orthodox Church or the Macedonian people and their fight for national identity. I believe these bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church want to destroy the Macedonian Orthodox Church and Macedonian national identity.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest orthodox churches, but it is not given its proper recognition. In 1767, it was abolished by the Ottoman administration in Macedonia and was absorbed by the neighboring orthodox churches, which committed spiritual genocide on the Macedonian people.

There are hardly any Serbians in Macedonia, and they are given plenty of freedoms. When Macedonians are given the right to worship in a Macedonian Orthodox Church in Serbia, that's when the minority of Serbs should have their own orthodox church in Macedonia, but it should be one that doesn't serve nationalistic objectives of the Serbian state. We Macedonians deserve the right to defend our own interests.
Dimitrija Shapre
Bitola, Macedonia

River workers deserve our respect

Thank you for the April 17, 19, and 21 series of articles, "Barge runners on the Mississippi," about the men (and women) who make their living on the inland waterways, pushing barges filled with cargo. I was married to one of these men until a stroke ended his career, and I have a great love and respect for the industry. In this age of $70 barrels of crude oil, barge transport is the most fuel efficient of the three major modes of transportation used to move large amounts of cargo, and the men and women who move that cargo do so at personal risk to both their own lives and to family life. They deserve our respect and rarely receive it. Thanks for a glimpse into life on the river.
Karen Russell
Louisville, Ky.

How to wean ourselves off oil

Regarding the April 24 article, "Bold idea for energy woes: global cooperation": Given that the world is close to its peak petroleum production, and given our need to reduce oil consumption to minimize climate chaos, cooperation must take the form of a coordinated reduction in oil imports. Petroleum geologist Colin Campbell has suggested a method for this, described in my forthcoming book, "The Oil Depletion Protocol."

Scarcity of oil is likely to lead to a meltdown of economies, making investments in alternatives more difficult. Competition among world powers over remaining supplies could likewise overwhelm the energy transition. We all need a way to avert these perils while reorganizing our agricultural and transportation infrastructure to function without petroleum.

The Oil Depletion Protocol is simple: Signatory nations would agree to reduce oil consumption according to a simple formula (the world depletion rate - i.e., the amount of conventional oil being produced, as a fraction of the total yet to be extracted), which works out to about 2.7 percent per year. The effect would be to stabilize prices and reduce geopolitical tensions, enabling nations to plan their energy budgets and energy futures.
Richard Heinberg
Research fellow, Post Carbon Institute
Santa Rosa, Calif.

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