Bosnia's despair, our impotence

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Sir: Your paper has reported that the Serbian people are by no means united behind Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic. No doubt it makes no material difference to the Bosnians, but I wish a similar message could get through to them from Britain: that not all of us are insensible to their appalling plight; nor are all of us (including Tory voters) represented by our spineless and hypocritical Foreign Office.

Many here feel helpless to aid the brave and dignified people of Sarajevo, and feel doubly impotent when our Government is standing in the way of allowing the Bosnians, whose nation we recognised, to defend themselves against an aggressor. No wonder the Bosnians despair of us when we have cynically decided that we have nothing to gain from aiding them. Because they lack oil, Britain will ignore the strategic consequences of a potentially wider Balkan conflict; so much for our role at the heart of Europe.

Only under duress did Britain agree to give a pathetic contribution to help refugees, doubtless a tiny amount compared with annual Civil Service expenditure on sugar cubes. Can it be that only Unicef is appealing for donations to help the millions who are now homeless?

Since our Government shuns the chance to display leadership, perhaps other readers can suggest ways in which British citizens can offer real help to the Bosnians.

Yours faithfully,

REBECCA TINSLEY

West Deeping, Lincolnshire

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