Just a footnote to the Jan. 25 Rowland Evans and Robert Novak column, "The Soviets' Deep Roots in Afghanistan." The situation with the "involuntarily dispatched" Afghan schoolchildren, however outrageous it is, may not be as dangerous as it appears.

Evans and Novak recall that the Soviets did the same thing with the kidnapped Greek schoolchildren after World War II. Many of them were settled, if this is the correct word, in then-Stalinist Hungary. What Evans and Novak probably don't know, or may have forgotten, is that in 1956 these Greek children (young men by that time) sided and fought with the Hungarian freedom fighters against the Russians. Western newsmen covering the revolt were amazed. The Hungarians were not.

Evans and Novak also mention that Russian is now the required second language in Afghan schools. The same was true in Hungary. Though there is nothing wrong with learning Russian -- we badly need men and women who speak this language in government, diplomacy, business, etc. -- the compulsory teaching of Russian in Hungary completely backfired. The reason was partly sabotage: students were unwilling to study the language of the occupiers, and more important, there was a lack of teachers. It was bordering on the ridiculous: those unfortunates "selected" to teach Russian had to prepare themselves from day to day not to be completely helpless when they had to face their students in class.


Chevy Chase