LETTER: Bosnian refugees: sickening indifference of Western politicians

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From Mr Sam Clarke and others

Sir: As our attention is draw to the terrible plight of the refugees from Srebrenica now sheltering in Tuzla, the costs of racism and sectarianism are plain to see.

Alarmed by the UN secretary-general's suggestions that Sarajevo may soon fall, we are writing as representatives of the UK Support Group for the Academic Lifeline for Bosnia, a group concerned with one of the main bastions of multicultural and secular life in Bosnia-Herzegovina: the universities.

In both Tuzla and Sarajevo, the universities are attempting to work against all the odds. Teachers and university staff work in primitive conditions: professors read by candlelight. Students are anxious to study (Tuzla has a massive teacher-training programme) but are being drawn into the army. University buildings are shattered; neither students nor teachers have any money; and many of the best are being forced into exile.

While the defence of Bosnia is decided elsewhere, we believe its future lies in the continuing tolerance of the young people inside Bosnia to all religious and ethnic traditions. We are therefore encouraging universities in Britain, academics and students to support their counterparts in Bosnia. What is being requested is books and equipment, exchange programmes and academic support.

We would encourage everyone connected with academic life to help in whatever way they can.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Clarke, World University Service; Paul Bennett; Malcolm Keight; Celia Hawkesworth; Bill Tribe; Zoran Pajic

Academic Lifeline

Support Group

London, N1

14 July