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The outcome matters

I object to the attitude expressed in your editorial in Issue 2-1994 where we read: “As most of the world knows by now, the civil war in Rwanda took a tragic turn in April. Who was fighting whom and for what reason or who ‘won’ could be considered incidental – as wars go.”

How is it possible to say that it does not matter who wins or loses a war? Would you have said that of the Second World War? Of the American civil war? Of all those other wars on whose outcome depended our slow progress to a more just society and more respect for the individual? Even if the term “winners” and “losers” makes little sense at all except militarily speaking (since it is obvious that the Rwandan Patriotic Front won the war that was triggered off or at least flared up again simultaneously with the government-orchestrated massacres), the outcome matters a lot.

It is also not right to infer that a civil war was going on in Rwanda when the killings started on April 4. It is a flagrant distortion of the truth when outright organised aggression against minority groups is – for the sake of ease, or from sheer ignorance or indifference – called civil war.

Laetitia van Drunen
Ferney-Voltaire, France

 
 

Double standards

I refer to the article “The Bosnian Quagmire” by Urs Boegli in Issue 2-1994. I strongly condemn the views expressed in the article, particularly under the heading “The European Factor”. It is astonishing to note that on the one hand, the ICRC merely “keeps malnourished Sahelians from war-related starvation and guides them back to their customary level of misery” while at the same time in Bosnia, resources seem to have been spent on alleviating the “deeply felt loss of house, car, television, refrigerator, deep freeze and holidays on the beach”. To trumpet European material well-being in the face of extreme human suffering is obscene and insensitive to say the least. To have the ICRC’s relief operation directed by someone who holds these views is a sad state of affairs indeed.

R. Suryanarayan
Middlesex, UK

Editors’ note: Urs Boegli wrote that the recipients of ICRC’s basic food and medicines were disappointed that they had not been given more to compensate them for the deeply felt loss of their house, car, etc. In the former Yugoslavia, as elsewhere in the world, the ICRC concentrated on responding to emergency needs and saving lives.

Universal language

Thank you for regularly sending me your magazine. It is a pleasure to read it, although I have to admit that an article in Issue 2 – 1994 was slightly disappointing. Reading the title “Speaking the universal language”, I expected an article about Esperanto. I hoped to learn something about considerations of using Esperanto within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Unfortunately, this was an error.

Anyhow, I am convinced that sooner or later in the field of international communication Esperanto will turn into the world’s most important language. An idea whose major target is understanding among people of different religions and races, from different countries and continents, must succeed.

E.J. Meinhardt
Berlin, Germany

 
 

Short and sweet

We are a postgraduate medical school concerned with public health issues in developing countries with a staff and student population from almost 100 countries. Your magazine is an informative supplement to the academic journals that form the majority of our collection.

Brian Furner
London, UK

It is a good idea to publish a joint magazine for this noble Movement of ours. It sums up our objectives of the sixth and seventh principles, unity and universality.

Ghana Red Cross Society

This magazine is very informative. I am enlightened by every issue. I think we have to pursue world peace eternally.

Tamotsu Murabe
Tokyo, Japan

Excellent. The magazine broad-ens my knowledge of Red Cross – from the small, rural town and chapter activities to international activities. Bozeman is such a tiny spot on the globe, but the magazine gives me a feeling of great pride in the volunteers and paid staff of the entire organisation.

Louise Mickelsen
Bozeman, Montana, USA

Your photographs are excellent. They really capture the true scenario of our unfortunate brothers in devastated areas in the world.

Benedicto B. Bulaclac, Jr.
Manila, Philippines



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