After the HolocaustIn reference to the article about my...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 17, 1994

After the Holocaust

In reference to the article about my work in the Today section March 11, I would like to clarify my position regarding the comparison of the Holocaust to the situation in the Balkans.

First, the quote about the movie "Schindler's List" was in fact a composite of two comments, and I am concerned that misunderstandings of my position might occur as a result of this combined quote.

What I said was that I personally could not see the movie and watch people cry about the events of 50 years ago because, psychologically, I was not prepared to handle this due to what I know about the situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Later in the interview, I remarked, "What is the point of remembering the Holocaust, other than to honor the memory of the victims, if we do not learn from it and do something about what is happening now?"

I have spent the past 3 1/2 years working with and on behalf of Holocaust survivors and those persecuted by the Nazi regime, of all backgrounds.

It is precisely because of the terrible suffering by victims of the Holocaust and what I have learned from them that I was moved to do something about the situation in the Balkans -- and for victims on all sides.

My life has changed irrevocably as a result of the inspiration the survivors and other volunteers at the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center have given me.

I would never diminish the significance of the Holocaust as a unique and terrible tragedy that should never be repeated, or wish to shed any doubt on the importance of the recognition of the long-term impact upon those whose families and communities were destroyed.

I only want to apply the lessons learned to current tragedies -- and I believe this is owed to the memory of those who perished and suffered due to the ethnic hatreds that resulted in the Holocaust.

Diane Paul

Baltimore

The writer is director of the American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center.

Men and Women at Work

Susan Reimer's Feb. 28 column ably addressed the folly of young women who seem to think that feminism doesn't matter any more. She points out that sexism is far from dead, that there are still battles to be won, that sex does still matter.

I know that it happens far too often (once is too often) that a woman is hired just because she is a woman and therefore good for the affirmative action statistics, or looks good around the office, or can be hired for less than a man would have to be paid.

And of course it is a fact that workplace sexual harassment is widespread to the point that it will probably happen at least once to virtually every woman who steps into a workplace.

We all know, too, that reprisals against harassed whistle-blowers are a fact of life. All of these things are true, and all are reprehensible and must be fought until they are stamped out.

What is not true, however, is that all the men a young woman encounters in her working life can be expected to act this way in the absence of legal constraints, as Ms. Reimer seems to believe.

Men know, as she says, that ". . . the world is watching how they behave toward [women]." We know it very well. And for some of us, that is the only reason we treat a woman properly at work. But not for all of us.

For many of us it isn't that we're being watched, or that we think we're "too cool" or "too correct." No, believe it or not, there are men out there who treat women with the respect they deserve as human beings just because we think it's the right thing to do.

There are men out there who think that the sexist system in which we were all raised is wrong.

Some of us have to fight against the sexist attitudes we were fed from childhood to do the right thing, but we do it.

In short, some of us do it just because we're decent people, and that's what decent people do.

I realized that the focus of the column was the problems women encounter in a still-sexist world, but these kinds of sweeping generalizations about men take us exactly no distance toward change for the better.

Rick Wright

Baltimore

Pension Money

Reading The Sun's March 6 article, "Pension trustees question McLean plan," left me dumbfounded.

To think that $10 million of what is ultimately taxpayers' money would be invested in a brokerage firm was a bad idea before Jacqueline McLean was indicted and it is a bad idea now.

It seems that the city trustees had approved an investment that did not meet the basic guidelines to invest only in companies with "long and prosperous reputations." This is an investment that could prove to be far costlier than the initial $10 million.

Not only does the Chapman Co. not have "a long and prosperous reputation," but if revenues were extracted that are related to those which were awarded because of their minority ownership, you have what I think to be a dramatically different profit picture.

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