Tue, 11 Apr 2000

The need to stick to the subject

I refer to the letter from Mrs. Kahina Nesreddine-Payraudeau Honesty principle ignored in The Jakarta Post, April 10, 2000.

Mrs. Nesreddine-Payraudeau attacks my letter on the problems in Kosovo for lack of references to the "war" in Slovenia and the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. My opponent seems to expect me to squeeze the history of the 20th century into a half- page letter to the editor on a completely different subject. I really am not capable of doing this in a responsible manner. Instead, I tried to stick to the subject.

When I write about Kosovo I write about Kosovo. When Mrs. Nesreddine-Payraudeau writes about my letter on Kosovo, she writes about Bosnia and Afghanistan. She didn't bother to quote one single line from my letter that she is supposedly referring to. Instead, she accuses me of things I am not responsible for and she comments on things I have never said or written. I am not going to play this "shifting targets" game with her.

All this put aside, of more concern for me is the following: My opponent does not know the first thing about me, but she takes the liberty of getting personal: she "knows" that "Serb sharpshooters" are "my pals"; she "knows" that I have a hidden agenda of "gaining public support of the world's largest Muslim country for the killers of Muslims". All very serious allegations which I hope my opponent can either prove or otherwise risk being justly labeled a liar.

I am not going to engage in further debate with a person lacking basic decency, whatever high "intellectual honesty principles" she might claim for herself. I expect from her, and also from the editor, one thing only: an apology.


Tangerang, West Java