It was with some surprise that I read Mike Johnson's castigation of the British ambassador to Latvia ["Letters," TBT #549, Vol. 10, March 22 - 28, 2007]. Mike seems to feel the good ambassador is responsible for the despicable desecration of the Freedom Monument by a bunch of urinating British binge drinking yobs. Come now Mike, a parent may be responsible for the conduct of a child but at what age does the individual become answerable for his/her own actions?
As you are well aware, an ambassador represents his/her country as a diplomat and not as a policeman or social worker to some drunken miscreants who treat the guest country with scant regard.
Would you hold the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad) responsible for the actions of those criminals in uniform who are currently serving long prison sentences for dreadful crimes committed in that country? Surely not.
However, you have a right to be outraged. To see one's "sister" country treated with such disdain by people who in all probability will be on the plane home the next day without so much as a backward glance is indeed a bitter pill to swallow.
Sadly, this little episode occurs all too often. Like a badly written and predictable soap opera it seems destined to run and run.
There are usually at least two police officers in the vicinity of the monument, with mobile back-up a short distance away. Dare I ask why it's not possible to incarcerate the guilty parties for a night so they can pass on the message to other would-be stag party-goers who might harbor similar marks of disrespect?
These people are not tourists and should not be treated as such. They have a league table of cities which they consider "easy" 's usually cities new to the EU Low airfares and relatively cheap alcohol means they can easily afford it, and with the summer approaching gangs of them will be rushing to their travel agents to book their flights. Don't make it too easy for them, and enjoy the "good" groups such as the Irish boys who were here during St. Patrick's weekend. They were a joy.