Thank you for making Africa the focus of the last issue, as it is projected to be the region to experience most of the world’s population growth during the rest of this century.
Your articles about Rwanda were insightful and hopeful. It is widely believed that population pressures in that small but beautiful country were the primary underlying cause of the genocide. Thank you for your work in helping to prevent future such horrible situations.
It boggles the mind to imagine an Africa of 2.5 billion and still growing. As you point out, government policies are most effective in preventing problems and working toward solutions. Let us support those leaders who are interested in the welfare of their people in this respect. Thank you for pointing out examples of successful collaboration so we aren’t overwhelmed with pessimistic despair.
Brian J. Sprenger
As a longtime member of Population Connection, I wholeheartedly endorse its relentless fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to harm family planning, as well as many other progressive values in our country.
What I object to is your term “so-called leaders.” While I am bitterly unhappy about the results of the 2016 election and its effects on our country, the sad reality is that Donald Trump, Mike Pence, et alia are our leaders. Saying anything to the contrary is part of the denial that helped elect them.
Henry S. Flax, EdD
In your editor’s note in the March 2019 issue, you were both mistaken and foolish to suggest that there was some kind of balance between the killings perpetrated by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 and those subsequently perpetrated by the Tutsi army in the Congo. There was no such balance. What the Hutus did was premeditated, government supported genocide that aimed to wipe out a single ethnic group. The victims were almost entirely civilians, and mortality estimates range from 800,000 to 1 million—70% of the Tutsi population of the country.
When the Tutsis regained control, their army, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), pursued the Hutu murderers into the Congo, where it is estimated that between 25,000 and 60,000 people were killed. While the RPA targets were clearly the genocidal militias that had perpetrated the initial massacre of Tutsis, it’s true that Hutu women and children were also killed—some caught in crossfire and some, undoubtedly, in retribution.
No one is suggesting that the RPA behaved like angels in the Congo, but what they did cannot in any way be termed a genocide, and was on a completely different scale from what the Hutus did in Rwanda.
I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the RPA killings were equivalent in scale, premeditation, or genocidal intention to the Hutu Power killings of Tutsis. I’m sorry to anyone who I offended, if that’s how my column was interpreted.