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Australia

February 12, 1988

As I helped my daughter with her history homework, I couldn't resist noticing how the author heaped great praise upon the likes of Magellan, Balboa, Cortes, Pizarro, etc.--the conquering heroes of this particular chapter. Then I happened to read your "Fair Dinkum" editorial (Jan. 26) in praise of the Australians and their bicentennial.

It's quite a serious matter when The Times lauds the exploits of past or present-day heroes or conquerors and gives little or no mention of the suffering by others which accompanied those exploits. Europeans, unfortunately, have a clear record of force, violence and destruction in their contacts with people of color throughout the world. Couple this with an unusual need by whites in general to dominate--to control the land, its resources and its people--then you have a very negative situation for those who are not white.

So it becomes my duty to more realistically explain to my daughter what really happened when European explorers came to the New World. It is also up to me to explain who the first Australians are and why they have very little reason to celebrate the past 200 years.

STEVE MILLER

Los Angeles

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