The world must act, not assign blame
Mass killings. Deportations in cattle cars. Ethnic cleansing. Rape. Mutilation. These are the words that summon the darkest memories of World War II. They also describe the brutalities inflicted daily on innocent civilians in the disintegrating republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Western world must not turn its back on this unfolding catastrophe in Europe. Now is not the time for finger-pointing and assigning blame, not when repeated, relentless violations of human rights have already taken upward of 20,000 lives, injured tens of thousands of others and made refugees of some 2 million more.
It is time for creative, forceful action to end needless and wanton violence that is ripping apart Balkan society. It is time to assure refuge for civilians fleeing the chaos that was once Yugoslavia.
The crisis of anguish of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be ignored. The United States must exert its leadership and with the European Community use whatever means necessary, including possible military action, to end the slaughter, dispossession and devastation and assure temporary haven, in Europe and the United States, for refugees of the conflict.
Alfred R. Himmelrich Jr.
The writer is chairman of the Baltimore chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
End the killing
I am sickened and appalled at the reports of the atrocities being committed in Serbia. I wasn't alive during the Second World War, but all that I have read about the Holocaust echoes in my consciousness when I read the reports and see the photographs coming out of Serbia.
Our government was unwilling to confront the realities of the Holocaust 50 years ago and it seems to me that we are experiencing a hauntingly familiar scenario in the name of "ethnic cleansing" this time.
As committed citizens, we cannot allow our government to stand idly by while the Muslims are being rounded up, tortured and executed.
Since there is already so much carnage and violence in Serbia and Bosnia, I implore the leaders of the free world to use their collective intelligence and creativity to find a peaceful solution to the genocide that is being allowed to continue in Serbia.
We must demand an end to the killing immediately and recall the words of the Protestant minister in Nazi Germany when he said, "They came for the trade unionists and I said nothing because I wasn't a trade unionist . . . When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out."
Screen the experts
The advice by Andrew Leckey and Shearson Lehman Brothers analyst Robert Cornell to "wait and see," in the business section of the The Evening Sun Aug. 5, may be good advice, but their credibility is about as low as it can get. I guess that must also include the editor who selected this article.
Westinghouse is described as a consumer electronics and financial services firm, but Westinghouse has not been involved in consumer electronics for many years (over 20?), and the financial services amount to only 8.3 percent of revenues and 2 percent of profits in 1991.
From a newspaper in a metropolitan area where Westinghouse is one of the major employers, we should expect more accurate analysis than this. Are these "experts" screened at all?
A correction needs to be made on the comments made by Philip Stahl of Columbia in his recent letter entitled "Debunking the myth of a Great Arranger."
The thrust of Mr. Stahl's comments are that Stephen Hawking does not support the idea of the supernatural. However, the jacket of the Hawking book "A Brief History of Time" describes Mr. Hawking's ideas concisely and says the following:
"He [Mr. Hawking] reveals the unsettling possibilities of time running backward when an expanding universe collapses, a universe with as many as 11 dimensions, a theory of a 'no boundary' universe that may replace the big bang theory, and a God who may be increasingly fenced in by new discoveries -- who may be the prime mover in the creation of it all.'
The reading of the book bears this out, I might add.
The question might simply be asked of all humanity, including members of the American Astronomical Society such as Mr. Stahl -- who are we to be so certain of what does not exist?
Can we not let the unknown be left to the beautiful realm of mystery and leave it at that? Then those who choose to include the beauty of mystery in their lives may do so as equally as those who wish to exclude it and live only by concrete scientific evidence.
It is the most profound of free choices, is it not?
Recalling Douglas Southall Freeman
I read with interest your Salmagundi column (Aug. 3) on Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman.
Its contents rekindled memorable admiration for the noble and learned man.
In the 1950s, I lived in the Richmond area and had the rewarding experience to listen to his morning radio news broadcasts. He graced them with objectivity, a studied clarity and enlightenment.
I particularly remember the 1951 morning when he announced the startling news of President Harry Truman's April 8 decision to relieve Gen. Douglas MacArthur from command in the Far East. Startled, my mind jumped to the conclusion the president's act would be a contentious issue.
Dr. Freeman proceeded to analyze, place in historical perspective, conceptualize the consequences of the decision, and then offered his reasoned conclusion, with a forceful voice, that the president made the proper public policy decision.
I knew I was listening to the discourse of a learned and thoughtful man. I was grateful for his support of the president, and his confidence that the rightness of the decision would prevail over the expected objections to it.
Today when I refresh my memory of Dr. Freeman, I lament the absence of public-spirited, learned, thoughtful leaders of his caliber, who can articulate with conviction the issues and conceptualize ideals and goals for humanity free of partisanship, with confidence they are right for humanity's well being.
Phillip M. Thienel