Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 17:00:35 -0600
From: Ellen Johnson EJOHNSON[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU
Subject: vowels for Bosnia
I've been away for a couple of weeks. Forgive me if you've already seen this.
CLINTON DEPLOYS VOWELS TO BOSNIA
Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients
Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton
announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of
Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will
provide the region with the critically needed letters A,E,I,O and U, and is
hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.
"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr
and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton
said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say 'Enough.' It
is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their
incomprehensible words. The US is proud to lead the crusade in this noble
The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State Department, is
set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and
Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes, each
carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air Force
Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.
Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels.
"My God, I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln, 44, said.
"I have six children and none of them has a name that is understandable to
me or to anyone else. Mr. Clinton, please send my poor, wretched family
just one 'E.' Please."
If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States will
go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130's airdropping
thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are
expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British "A's" and 6,500
Japan, rich in A's and O's, was asked to participate, but declined.
"With these valuable letters, the people of war-ravaged Bosnia will be
able to make some terrific new words," Clinton said. "It should be very
exciting for them, and much easier for us to read their maps."
Linguists praise the US's decision to send the vowels. For decades they
have struggled with the hard consonants and difficult pronunciation of most
Slavic words. "Vowels are crucial to construction of all language," an
Illinois Institute of Technology multimedia specialist said. "Without them,
it would be difficult to utter a single word, much less organize a coherent
sentence. Please, just don't get me started on the moon-man languages they
use in those Eastern European countries."
According to the multimedia specialist who wished to remain anonymous,
once the Bosnians have vowels, they will be able to construct such valuable
sentences as: "The potatoes are ready;" "I believe it will rain." and "Can
you give me another box of ammo and a few grenades?"
The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign
country since 1979. During the summer of that year, President Jimmy Carter
ordered the shipment of 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities
like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae, and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's,
S's and T's. The consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast
quantities of the letters were intercepted and horded by violent, gun-toting