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ETHNIC CLEANSING OF SERBS STARTED THIS WHOLE MESS

While I sympathize with an Amherst family's dismay at the destruction in Croatia, we disagree on how it came to be. The horror and devastation as cited in a recent News article was the result of Croatia's policy of ethnic cleansing of the Serbians, who resided there for over 400 years.

In March 1993, Ivan Cicak of Croatia's Helsinki Committee stated: "Serbs have been victims of an ethnic-cleansing campaign to drive them completely out of the country." Of the 770,000 Serbs once in Croatia, only a few thousand remain.

In August 1995, the largest single act of ethnic cleansing since World War II took place in Croatia, when 250,000 Serbians were driven from their homes. As of December 1997, the remaining Serbians in eastern Slavonia -- most of them refugees -- were told to "leave or be killed."

It's unlikely that Croats and Serbs will learn to live together since Serbs no longer live in Croatia and are not allowed to return, even though the Dayton Accord stipulates they should be able to.

MIKE IZGARJAN Buffalo

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