How should the West respond to Rwanda's cry for help?

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From Mrs Rosalind Ingrams Sir: Robert Block, in his heartfelt piece about "the world's inaction in the face of modern ethnic slaughter" in Rwanda, and your correspondents who write (1 February) in support of him feel that not only has "the world" shut its eyes to an abomination, but that "the world" has double standards, since it is, at this moment, commemorating the end of the Nazi abominations in Europe.

No one could possibly deny the abomination of the Rwanda massacres, but isn't it a bit too easy to make a parallel with the Nazi persecutions? Unlike Germany, Rwanda (and the Balkans) have been in the process of civil war. Civil war is notoriously bitterand it begs a genuinely difficult question: what does, or can, the rest of the world do while a country deliberately tears itself to pieces?

Who is going to say that outside troops should go in and sort out the trouble, supporting one or other side? And isn't it disingenious to assume that "western" values (dishonoured though these may be in the West too) are firmly established in Africa and other non-Western areas of the globe?

Mr Block's cry for "something to be done" implies near-imperial moral duties. This is just what the UN is finding so very difficult in the Balkans. Everyone would agree with Mr Block's emotion. It is not quite honest however to accuse the world of cowardice and inaction.

Yours sincerely, ROSALIND INGRAMS Oxford

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