Repair the Constellation
I was saddened by one of the April 10 letters concerning the fate of the Constellation. In that letter, George H. Snyder Jr. suggested that "enough is enough" and no more money should be raised or other efforts made to restore her.
Although he cited the Constellation as "a noble ship with more than a heroic history," he asked, "How much, if anything, is left" of the original?
I'm glad Mr. Snyder is not in charge of Mount Vernon, Lincoln's birthplace, or Fort McHenry. Our national treasures require maintenence to preserve them, so that present and future generations may experience and understand our history.
My great, great, great, great grandfather, Commodore John Rodgers, worked on the Constellation. His tiny stateroom is still aboard. I'd like my young daughter to be able to see that, when she's old enough to understand.
But besides my personal interest, many visitors to Baltimore have enjoyed touching a bit of history in the Inner Harbor.
The Constellation is the beautiful centerpiece of our harbor and provides much more than entertainment to visitors. Let's not "put a cannon ball through her below the waterline" -- something that was never accomplished by her enemies in the past.
John Rogers Meigs Green
Pakistan's Prime Benazir Bhutto Minister visited the White House recently and during her last visit she addressed both houses of Congress. Our government does not grant such red-carpet treatment to the leader of a country which "harbors terrorism" as Pradeep Ganguly (letter, April 13) alleges.
Pakistan is a victim of terrorism of sorts, which is forced on it by the Afghan war and allegedly fomented by India. It was not a coincidence that terrorism subsided when some officials of the Indian consulate in Karachi were expelled two months ago.
True, Pakistan has some problem with internal ethnic and sectarian violence. But linking Pakistan to the Bombay and New York bombings is stretching the limits of imagination. For the Bombay bombing alone, there are numerous reasons to find culprits in India itself, from Kashmir, Nagaland and Assam to name just a few.
Mr. Ganguly's allegations are rich in speculation and factually in error. It is jumping to conclusion that "the extradition of those terrorists led to the fatal, cowardly attack on U.S. diplomats in Islamabad recently."
First, the attack took place in Karachi and not in Islamabad. Second, even the U.S. government is unaware of the motives and whereabouts of the attackers.
If I could be allowed to speculate in response, some law-enforcement agencies in Pakistan have suggested that the terrorist attack may have been carried out by India to pre-empt the Pakistani prime minister's visit. That is not too far-fetched a scenario, since it is in the Indian interest that Pakistan's relations with the U.S. do not improve.
The U.S. government's very realistic view of the situation assured that enemies of the peace and harmony between the two countries did not succeed.
Pakistan's nuclear program is now more than 20 years old. Pakistan has neither exploded a nuclear device, nor helped any other country in the development of nuclear facilities, let alone allow one to "fall into the hands of Muslim militants and zealots."
Just as Pakistan has ethnic and sectarian conflicts to deal with, Indian secularism is being torn apart by Hindu fanatics of Jan Sangh, Rashtrya Sevak Sangh and other extremist organizations.
Their popularity is increasing rapidly. A few more elections and the Indian nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal could fall into the hands of Hindu militants.
It is for such reasons that countries of Southeast Asia and Australia have expressed concern about the Indian military build-up.
Pakistan's nuclear capability is necessary for peace in South Asia. Just as the West's nuclear arsenal was a deterrent to the Soviet Union, Pakistan has successfully used this deterrent against a militant India -- for some very real reasons.
India was a staunch ally of the former communist Soviet Union, our arch-enemy. India started wars with Pakistan and China on more than one occasion; intimidated Sri Lanka through a proxy war and threatened Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan with similar subversions.
It has a very ambitious long-range missile and nuclear program of its own, exploded a nuclear device in 1974 and recently deployed the domestically built Prithvi missile along the border with Pakistan.
As an American of Pakistani origin, I understand our government's concern about nuclear proliferation. But to apply selective measures like the Pressler amendment against a proven ally is counterproductive.
Sen. Larry Pressler is a lone voice in support of this amendment which bears his name. President Clinton and many members of the Senate and House understandably feel that such measures are a burden on American interests and influence abroad.
Mr. Clinton's words of praise for Pakistan, that it "has been a good partner, and more importantly, has stood for democracy and opportunity and moderation," truly reflect a rational realization on part of the United States of the complexities of situation in South Asia.
Pakistan has a very important role to play in the stability of the whole region, aptly recognized by Mr. Clinton when he said that "the future of the entire part of the world where Pakistan is depends in some large measure on Pakistan's success . . .'
The writer is president of the Pakistan Forum.
Mrs. Tawes Didn't Put Herself in the Picture
In reference to the portrait I painted of Gov. J. Millard Tawes, for historical reasons, I believe it is time to set the record straight.
The following story was in The Sun (March 30): "Frances Hughes Glendening recalls the story that taught her all about Helen Avalynne Tawes.
"Twenty-nine years ago, Mrs. Tawes wanted to be painted alongside her husband, who happened to be governor, in his official portrait. She was told that sort of thing wasn't done.
"Mrs. Tawes saw to it that she stayed in the picture. The artist painted her as a photograph in the background of the J. Millard Tawes portrait that now hangs in the State House reception room.
" 'She's a woman after my own heart,' " says the wife of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, relishing the anecdote."
In my final arrangement, the governor is seated in a chair on the modeling stand in front of the fireplace. Due to the large mass of the white fireplace mantel, I needed to break that space. . .
As the portrait progressed, it became obvious to me that painting various tones or values in the large space above the fireplace mantel would not work. I needed something to fit with the overall design that would.
I explained that to the governor (usually I give an art appreciation course on the fundamentals of painting to my sitters). I suggested that he bring me some objects from his office that I might use.
He brought me a variety of things and among them some photos. I told him that I needed time to study them later to determine if or what I might use. We proceeded with the sitting, and when he departed that day, the objects were left in the studio.
The following day in checking things over, I found among them photos of his home in Crisfield and two photos of Mrs. Tawes. They were 8x10 prints . . . one a full head and the other a beautiful composition, taken in the Governor's Mansion with Mrs. Tawes at the foot of the stairs.
It fitted in perfectly with what I wanted. I painted it on the canvas and made it larger than the print.
Before the next sitting, I had completed the addition of Mrs. Tawes, and when the governor entered the studio and saw the portrait, he walked up close to examine it . . . then, he told me that from a distance it appeared to him that it was an actual photograph that I had pasted on the canvas.
I do not know where the story originated; however, the first time I heard it was when I attended the funeral of Paul Cooper, the former director of the Department of Fiscal Services.
While there, I engaged in a conversation with then-Lt. Gov. Sam Bogley. I mentioned the various portraits
I had painted in the State House collection, and when I spoke of the Tawes portrait, Sam replied, "That's the portrait that I show to visitors and point out that Mrs. Tawes had insisted on being painted in."
I informed him that it was not true, and that it was absolutely my decision. I gave him the details of how it happened. He did not reply and by his expression I was aware that he was not pleased to have knowledge of the truth.
After the portrait was completed, Governor Tawes brought Mrs. Tawes to see it. Her first comment was, "I've seen Millard look like that many times." She also added that the gown in the photo was the one that she wore at the Kennedy inauguration.
Among other paintings in the studio is my self-portrait with a nude drawing in the background.
I said to Mrs. Tawes, I have to tell you a story about the governor. I told him I would give him his choice. I could paint your photo in the background, or a nude like I painted in my self-portrait.
Immediately, in a jovial manner, Mrs. Tawes replied, "I'm surprised that he did not chose the nude."
Eilson J. Binebrink
Stupid Lion Tricks
How ironic that an "unruly" lion forced Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to cancel the lion act during a performance at the Baltimore Arena ("Unruly lion leads circus to cancel cat act," March 26). A circus spokesperson attributed the problem to the lion "having a bad day."
Am I missing something here? I was under the impression that lions are wild animals. They're supposed to be unruly.
As for Ringling Bros.' pitiful explanation for the lion's behavior, every day is a bad day for one of God's magnificent animals forced to spend his life in a cage when he is not being forced to perform stupid tricks.
Bobbi A. Hoffman