- The Washington Times - Monday, November 19, 2001

I'm thankful that I'm an American

"Where are you from?" I've answered that question so often that I've stopped counting. Because I can't get rid of my accent, I have to keep answering.

The rumbling of Russian tanks in the streets of my native Czechoslovakia 30 years ago gave me the final push to leave. The passivity and unwillingness of my former countrymen to stand up for their rights was equally disheartening.

I came to these shores wide-eyed, not knowing what to expect. Setting foot on American soil was overwhelming in spite of the fact that the word "America" and the names of American heroes such as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshall and others had been on the daily menu of discussions between my parents since the end of World War II. I had added a few other Americans to that list, such as Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and Duke Ellington. My status as a political refugee gave me an easy entrance, and I didn't have to go through the rigors of immigration. Nonetheless, I was on my own.

My first years here were not easy: The Vietnam War, Watergate, the oil embargo. After wrestling with the difficulties of daily life, there was nothing much on which to lean. Then came the man whose words started to bring back memories of the optimism of my parents, who much admired America. Ronald Reagan opened my eyes with his faith in the goodness of American ideals and his unwavering faith in Americans. While my affection for the place of my birth never faded, my loyalty to my new home has become undivided.

The past decade of moral relativism and political correctness has greatly eroded the pillars on which America was founded. The name "American" has acquired many adjectives: African American, Hispanic American, male American, female American. The English language has become optional. It is as if someone wants to see us divided and is pitting us against one another to bring the country down. We have paid dearly for not paying attention. The widows and orphans created on September 11 will always remind of us of our negligence.

Should you ask me where I am from, I will say "Virginia." If you look puzzled, I might add, "Originally from Czechoslovakia but don't you ever, ever call me Czech-American."


PETER MOTYKA

McLean

Multiculturalism represents a multiple threat to liberty

Commentary columnist Paul Craig Roberts is correct to say that some cultures are simply incompatible with our own ("Multiculturalism's nascent stress points," Nov. 16). Consider the idea another way: How many Americans would choose to live in Saudi Arabia? Who would want to raise a daughter there?

While we read citations in the press from the Koran purportedly demonstrating Islam's good will toward all, one gets a different impression from examining Islamic cultures. Where are the Islamic democracies? Where are the Islamic regimes that respect free speech and diverse opinion? What is the position of women in their societies?

Islamic culture fails on all these counts, with women getting the worst of it. Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia, vote in Kuwait or earn a living in Taliban Afghanistan. Hundreds of women die every year in Pakistan from so-called "honor" killings, in which men murder women in their own families for even imaginary slights of a rigid gender behavior code.

Multiculturalism's claim that all cultures are equal is a terrible lie, especially in regard to women's rights. American women should realize that multiculturalism represents a threat to hard-won political gains and safety.


BRENDA WALKER

Berkeley, Calif.

Croatian president owes Serbs apology

During his visit to Israel, President Stipe Mesic lamented wartime Croatia's active role in the Holocaust (Regional Briefing, World, Oct. 31). The Jews, however, were a mere sideshow for the Croatian Ustasha regime.

The genocidal terror unleashed by the Ustasha was directed mainly against "schismatic" Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia whose only political ambition in 1941 was to lie low, given that Serbia proper was under brutal German rule. Their only crime was possessing a national and religious identity. Hundreds of thousands were murdered. Some of the Croatian clergy were accomplices of the Ustasha. There also was the shameful spectacle of the forcible conversion en masse of surviving Serbs to Catholicism. In addition, there are unanswered questions concerning the escape of the Ustasha leadership and collaborating clergy to Argentina via European monasteries after the war.

Fifty years later, this unfinished business spawned repercussions aplenty. The Krajina Serbs balked at the prospect of being railroaded into a Croatian secessionist state led by President Franjo Tudjman, who was unrepentant about the Ustasha's grisly misdeeds. The legitimate fears of the Krajina Serbs Mr. Tudjman, after all, proudly boasted during Croatia's first free elections that his wife was neither a Serb nor a Jew were dismissed by most outside observers as best-forgotten ancient history.

In August 1995, Zagreb's American-trained army murderously expelled members of the Krajina Serb nation.

One of Mr. Tudjman's closest associates during Croatia's break with Yugoslavia was none other than Mr. Mesic. He eventually distanced himself from Mr. Tudjman, but it was over Zagreb's Bosnia policy. Mr. Mesic owes an apology to the Krajina Serbs.


YUGO KOVACH

Twickenham, England

Conservatives hypocritical about popular vote in election 2000

Should I tell you why I found your Nov. 15 editorial "This just in: Bush won the election!" amusing? Alas, it seems conservatives find it far too painful to recall that before the election, the Bush campaign was prepared to challenge the legitimacy of a President Al Gore, electorally victorious but absent a popular majority, which they considered a distinct possibility. Even Rush Limbaugh was convinced of this possibility and took pains to rally his slavish dittoheads to be prepared to deluge the media and Congress with e-mails should that happen. I would dearly love to have a recording of Mr. Limbaugh's urgent bleatings in those broadcasts just before the elections. They would represent an open-and-shut case on the stunning moral dissonance that characterizes the conservative wing of the Republican party and the Bush administration.

Conservatives were stunned, as was everyone else, when Mr. Bush won without a popular majority. It is monumental hypocrisy for conservatives now to be characterizing Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe as being unduly partisan when he was just doing what the Bush campaign planned to do all along. The only difference is that the Bush campaign would have been before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing precisely the opposite case from what it recently argued so successfully. I have no doubt the same Supreme Court would once again have sided with the Bush argument. Such is the state of politics these days.

There is an old, shopworn adage that often gets passed around in our national lexicon: "What goes around comes around." Conservatives might want to keep that little gem of karmic wisdom in mind, because I assure you that one day, you are bound to reap the bitter harvest you are sowing today. Revenge is sweet, and it will come quicker than you think.


GARY W. JACKSON

Mona, Utah


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