Letters: Feb. 21, 2000

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As a child of the Kohl era, I look at the future with great anxiety. While I never much approved of the way Kohl ran the country, which was traditionalist and conservative almost to the point of perfect numbness, it cannot be denied that he possessed the enormous power necessary for maintaining the chancellorship longer than anybody else and that he kept Germany going. Though apparently not endowed with high moral values, Kohl is dreadfully skilled in wielding power, asserting himself and, most of all, managing people. This scandal may prove useful in one respect: at a time when the role of Big Politics is changing, this affair shows us democracy and transparency are more important than ever. THORSTEN WEIGERT Munster, Germany

In a strange way, Richard Nixon and Helmut Kohl seem like soul mates. Both achieved remarkable goals internationally but stumbled at home. Nixon scored a success by opening up a closed China, but is also known for the Watergate scandal. Kohl opened up East Germany, but will also be remembered for internal financial monkey business. KJELL H. MARTINUSSEN Kolbjornsvik, Norway


There will never be peace in Chechnya so long as the area is ruled by a motley band of clans and gangs of marauders [WORLD, Jan. 24]. When the war is over, the international community would do well to support (in cooperation with the Russians and the Chechens) an effort to establish some form of democratic government dedicated to making Chechnya a respectable nation. This would give the people of Chechnya hope for a better future. The present policy of imposing demands, which the Russians must consider unreasonable and insulting, is only supporting the rise of militarism and nationalism in Russia. ARNE FINNE Lidingo, Sweden


Your article about the world's most endangered primates [ENVIRONMENT, Jan. 17] was correctly titled "Death Row." However, if there is a force that may change people's minds toward the environment, it is the media. TIME is one of the few magazines that care about the environment and alert us to fight against its destruction. But it is up to every one of us to help preserve nature. The future does not look promising. ANNELIESE F. THOM Sao Paulo, Brazil

Those monkeys you showed may be your relatives, but not mine. MUHAMMAD ALI PERVAIZ Karachi


Re Jack E. White's commentary on flying the Confederate flag over the South Carolina statehouse [DIVIDING LINE, Jan. 31]: I'm from the South. I prefer living here. My great-grandfather was born in Greenville, S.C. His uncle, a crack rifle shot, died in the battle of Petersburg, Va. The Confederate flag was flown then, but the one flying today does not represent the South now. It stands for a seceded South at war against the U.S. 135 years ago. It was a war that won slaves the right to have something to show for their efforts, to pursue happiness. The South lost the war. Lose the flag. JEFFREY LOCKHART Weatherford, Texas

I am a southern, white, college-educated American and have just as much right to choose what symbolizes my heritage as any other subgroup of Americans. The Confederate flag symbolizes Southern white heritage, not slavery or Jim Crow. The folks who don't agree with that view are the true racists. JOE CREAMONS Mount Dora, Fla.

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