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Africa's Needy and the U.S. Response

June 10, 2005

Re "Blair Gains Little in U.S. Visit," June 8: President Bush and many of his followers are so filled with pride at the amount of financial aid the United States provides for African nations that to suggest this country could possibly do more is laughable. In their next breath, they turn around and lament the fact that the corrupt governments of these nations keep the money for themselves and give nothing to their people.

Doesn't the U.S. State Department know this? Don't the international money-lending agencies know this? Of course they do.

But for some reason, they choose to support these despots. They knowingly give billions and billions of dollars to the governments oppressing their people instead of helping the people directly.

If I were they, I wouldn't stand so tall or puff up my chest about how great I am. I wouldn't congratulate myself too much, because supporting tyrants is not a good thing.

Brian Dean

Van Nuys

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With all the noise about morality and the "culture of life" by George W. Bush and his religious-right base, why is he putting conditions on healing the sick and dying and feeding the hungry in Africa? Did Jesus say to do those things only for those whose governments we approve of? Real people are dying!

Instead, President Bush, how about walking the walk and asking the question: What would Jesus do?

Barry Wiener

Los Angeles

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Thank you for Francine Orr's photo article, "A Land of Grief" (June 5). It was a startling reminder of the devastation that continues in Africa's heartland.

A "silent tsunami" of hunger, sickness and fear continues to ravage this forgotten and oft-ignored continent.

In the case of Uganda, the international community can make a difference. Through the United Nations, we should send human rights monitors, demand regular briefings at the Security Council and appoint a special envoy charged with facilitating peace talks.

We should insist on better humanitarian access to children and families displaced from their homes.

We should be adamant that the Ugandan government use international aid in ways that have a positive effect on all of its citizens' lives.

Finally, we should send an unequivocal message in support of a peaceful resolution and negotiated settlement of this horrendous conflict in northern Uganda.

Dean Hirsch

President, World

Vision International

Monrovia

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