SarajevoI want to thank you for the poignant series on...


February 18, 1994


I want to thank you for the poignant series on Sarajevo, "Life Under Siege," by Dan Fesperman (Feb. 11-14).

For me, it was the most penetrating reporting of the terrible 22 months of this war. It brought us there to the midst of the conflict and its insanity.

There, the faces of real people were illumined in the midst of darkness.

There, we learned how they cope and try to make sense out of senselessness.

There, I felt I connected with the nobility of the human spirit.

As the survivors of the Holocaust did a half century ago, Sarajevans seem to find crusts of hope in the midst of hopelessness and the seeds of life when death is everywhere -- a learning that can touch the lives of us all.

This is award-winning journalism of the finest order.

Rev. Bob Traupman


Sickening Editorial

It is sickening to read of the massacre of civilians in the genocidal war against Bosnia -- followed by your editorial rebuking the victims for resisting aggression.

You say that the Muslim-led Bosnians continue to fight their better-armed opponents in the hope that President Clinton might deliver the military assistance he had seemed to promise.

How could the spinelessness that you term Mr. Clinton's "caution" inspire anyone to do anything?

The Bosnian resistance to what you term "an acceptable partition" is more likely driven by distrust of thugs who use gang rape camps as an instrument of their policy of destroying communities. This distrust may extend to the so-called peacekeepers who promised "safe havens" but fail to deliver.

Whether or not the Bosnians have adopted the best self-defense, the issue for us is whether the United States and its NATO allies should use their military power in Europe to oppose unprovoked aggression going on under their noses when there is no immediate payoff like the control of oil fields.

Your preference for not taking sides in the Balkans is like neutrality at a gang rape. This may keep you out of the immediate conflict, but it violates the standards for civilized conduct.

Carleton W. Sterling


Clever Critic

Kudos to film critic Stephen Hunter.

His film reviews are clever, articulate, filled with spice and they invariably hit the nail on the head with a "bam."

He is merciless when appropriate, and his scathingly brutal critiques are so crammed with wit and insight that they are treasures.

What character this feisty rascal possesses.

His novels are masterpieces of suspense and detail that put his colleague in Annapolis to shame, and his interviews crackle with his colorful and unique style.

We in Baltimore are indeed fortunate and proud to have a writer of such caliber on The Sun staff. Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for giving us so much pleasure, while teaching us the art of film watching.

Virginia A. Stein


Recycling Chance

Your Feb. 8 editorial said, "Another encouraging sign is the report that the owners of the Pulaski Highway incinerator in East Baltimore might replace the plant with a regional incinerator."

Huh? Are you advocating breaking the law? Or have you forgotten that the citizens of Baltimore fought long and hard to pass a five-year moratorium on building new incinerators -- specifically to prevent the above scenario from occurring?

Baltimore already has one regional incinerator right downtown (the RESCO plant). We certainly don't need another one.

According to the Northeast Maryland Waste Authority, if the outdated, polluting Pulaski incinerator was torn down (as well it should), the remaining waste facilities would be adequate to handle both Baltimore City and the Baltimore County's trash.

Instead of advocating incinerating surrounding counties' waste (using an outdated technology which causes air and water pollution and is incredibly expensive), why not offer an alternative that would create jobs, reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and help the local economy?

The Pulaski site would be an ideal location for a recycling facility, much like the state-of-the-art facilities in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

It could also host a light manufacturer of recycled products. Just think of it, an industrial center that would accept, sort and process recyclables and then turn them into products that could be sold locally.

Ideally, this would be run by a community development corporation that would employ local people and invest much of the proceeds in neighborhood projects. Baltimore would then be a model for the rest of the country.

The people of this city have already made it clear that they will not accept more incineration. But "not in my backyard" is not a waste management strategy. We have a vision of Baltimore that calls for creative thinking.

We hope that you and the owner of the Pulaski incinerator will some day share that vision.

Dan Jerrems


Taxing Benefits

Why should Social Security recipients pay taxes on over 50 percent of their benefits?

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