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Statistics Department receives appeal from Croatia

In an electronic mail transmission from a Yugoslav colleague who was a visiting scholar at Stanford, Prof. Ingram Olkin, statistics, received an appeal last week from the chancellors of four universities and the dean of a medical school in Croatia.

Citing violence against Croatians by Serbs -- including the shelling of hospitals in two Croatian cities -- the appeal calls for solidarity from their friends and colleagues in academic institutions abroad.

The appeal includes four letters, the first signed by the chancellors of the universities of Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka and Split.

This undated letter chronicles "the organized terror, killing, injuring and abuse of innocent people, predominantly Croatians in their Croatian homeland . . . by armed groups of Serbian civilians, controlled by and for the most part brought in from Serbia."

The letter said that elements of the Yugoslav army are cooperating in the violence, which it characterizes as a belated attempt by "dogmatic Communists and Serbian expansionists . . . to restore Serbian hegemony."

Two more letters, dated Sept. 16 and 18 and signed by the dean, faculty and students of the University of Zagreb medical school, describe the bombing of general hospitals in the towns of Osijek and Gospic. Both hospitals are branches of the Zagreb medical school; both were full of civilians and soldiers wounded during the bombing of the towns. The letters blame the bombing on elements of the Yugoslav army.

"It should be emphasized that the hospital is large, properly marked with numerous red crosses," each letter says. "There could not be any mistake for some other object."

A fourth letter, addressed from the "Office for Cooperation Between World Health Organization and the Republic of Croatia," calls for recognition of Croatian independence. "In the name of God, in the name of humanity, in the name of children, please help to stop this dirty war in Croatia," it reads.

Olkin received the electronic mail from Vesna Luzar, a scholar in statistics and computer science from the University of Zagreb who spent 1989 and 1990 at Stanford. In a personal letter accompanying the appeal, Luzar said she and her family had taken refuge in bomb shelters 12 times, but so far were unhurt.

Olkin has distributed the appeal over an e-mail network and, through the Stanford News Service, forwarded it to the major national newspapers and science magazines.


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