Peacemakers ignore the Prince Charles factor at their peril

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I HAVE received many letters about the war in Bosnia, most of them wringing their hands in despair, quite a few asking for signed photos of David Owen and the rest merely asking for the latest score. All these I have naturally thrown away unanswered. But there have been others which laudably suggest constructive ways of ending the war; here are some of the best.

From Mrs Fairley-Newt

Sir: May I suggest that the quickest way of ending the war in Bosnia would be to appoint the Prince of Wales commander-in- chief of the UN forces in this unhappy country? One can imagine him at the front line, unblinking as shells fly by. While others run for shelter, he will coolly carry on working at his watercolour of the enemy positions.

For long he has sought a role in life commensurate with his lofty birth and it would, I think, strike a resonant historical note if, once again, we saw a prince ride into action at the head of his troops. It would also be an opportunity for him to drive away his own private gloom; I feel sure that an exposure to enemy fire would help him forget the recent tragic loss of his cuff links.

Yours etc . . .

From Sir Dudley Blackwater

Sir: The only reason I can think of for the British Army getting involved is that when Margaret Thatcher was in power we must have signed an agreement with the Bosnians to build a big dam for them somewhere in their unhappy country. Is it not time to cancel this project and pull out?

Incidentally, with reference to the last letter, has your correspondent stopped to think what might happen if, God forfend, Prince Charles was shot in Sarajevo? Don't forget what happened last time a Crown Prince was shot there. It is all that Sarajevo is remembered for.

Yours etc . . .

From John Mortimer and others

Sir: The proposal to litter the hills above Haworth with wind farms and to despoil the pristine Bronte country . . . sorry - wrong letter. We just wanted to say, in answer to your last correspondent, that Sarajevo does have one other claim to fame. It hosted the Winter Olympic Games 10 years ago. Does this mean that in 10 years' time we may see the quiet Norwegian town of Lillehammer torn apart by civil strife and genocide? We hope not, but we fear the worst.

Yours etc . . .

From Mrs Daisy Wheel

Sir: I would like to suggest in all seriousness that football may provide the answer to the situation.

Have you noticed that none of the small countries which have recently become independent and started to sport their own national football team - Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, etc - has become embroiled in a war, even though it was feared that a Baltic war would break out? Whereas Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, all without football teams at the highest level, have resorted to war to settle their differences instead.

If the Balkan combatants had felt that by shelling their neighbours they would be jeopardising their World Cup place, none of this would have happened. That is why I felt it was so vitally important that North Korea should qualify for the World Cup finals. Then the North Koreans would cease their sabre-rattling and start practising their near-post crosses.

Unfortunately, the North Koreans did not qualify. I fear for world peace.

Yours etc . . .

From Mr and Mrs Pergaudam

Sir: That's not the half of it. North Korea's arch-enemy and rival, South Korea, did qualify.

Yours etc . . .

From Mr Roland Quiver

Sir: Most of the troubles in the modern world have been caused by forced migration of populations. We British are among the most blameworthy.

We transported Indian labour to Fiji, African labour to the West Indies, white landowners to New Zealand and Australia, and so on, thus sowing the seeds for future racial disharmony and even genocide; I need only mention the partition of India.

Even the troubles in Northern Ireland were, of course, caused by our resettling so many Scots (Protestant]) agricultural workers from across the sea in the Catholic province of Ulster.

Mark you, I cannot find any way in which the British were responsible for the dangerous ethnic mix which gave rise to the present Balkan misery. But give me time, give me time . . .

Yours etc . . .

From Mr Radovan Karadzic

Sir: We in Bosnia are appalled to hear of the troubles you are undergoing at the war-torn Independent newspaper, and if there is any way in which we can offer aid or arbitration . . .