Bush’s pricey patronage
Re: “Our Man for Madrid”

This is just another example of the Shrub’s tyrannical leadership in which we the taxpayer are forced to support and spoon-feed the rich with our tax money in order to pay for Junior’s political favors. I’m sure the that the salary for this “rent-gouger” is not going to come cheap.

Victor M. Torres


Women should be central
Re: “Demanding to Be Heard”

Women’s rights should be one of the main concerns of a post-Taliban government. There should be a stronger stand than the moderate Gailani proposed. It should be sanctioned by the United Nations and laws written to guarantee freedoms to women and girls.

Nancy Dion


Fellow traveller
Re: “Inside Uzbekistan”

I visited Uzbekistan in June 2001. While it is certainly true the Uzbek bureaucracy can be extremely overweening, it is fairly polite to foreigners these days.

However, local citizens complain rightly about the corruption, disintegrating public services, low wages and heavy-handed control of political life. Most unhappy are the non-Uzbeks who resent having to learn Uzbek and who have seen their standards of living plummet in the last 10 years. The Uzbeks are less negative because they feel like they have self-rule now after more than 100 years of Russian colonialism.

As for the “pious Muslims,” the government is most nervous about Afghanistan and the ever-volatile Ferghana where Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan and the other Central Asia republics meet and where Islamic fundamentalism is strong. Most Uzbeks, like other Turkic Muslims, have little liking for Islamic fundamentalism. They just want a higher standard of living and, to a lesser extent, more personal freedom.

Eric Trachtenberg