Mobutu Is Best Hope for Stability in Zaire

The Dec. 10 article, "Zaire's Future Uncertain as Rebels Advance in the East," correctly identifies the instability caused by the rebel insurgency in Eastern Zaire. Ethnic Tutsi rebels in Zaire, who are financed and/or led by Rwanda's Tutsi-led government, which itself is linked to Uganda's Tutsi-led government, have created a civil war aimed at ousting Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko and carving out a greater Tutsiland in Central Africa.

Zaire, one of Africa's largest nations, has a population of 43 million people, made up of 120 ethnic groups. The author is quite right to point out that, because contemporary African borders (a colonial legacy) completely disregard ethnic boundaries, the fall of the Zairean state could ignite a powder keg throughout Central Africa.

Now, President Mobutu has returned to Zaire, and he will devote his full energies to preserving the Zairean nation. He is the symbol of Zairean stability and national unity, and he has unequaled stature in Zairean politics. Diplomats around the globe have hailed him as the only person capable of restoring order in Zaire.

In order to support President Mobutu's efforts to stabilize Zaire and the Central African crisis, the United States would be well-advised to restore its alliance with Mobutu, its longtime cold-war ally.

Nkashama Nkonko Washington

Ambassador-at-Large for Zaire

Thinking only of US

The Dec. 12 article, "Clock Ticks to Expand NATO Russia-ward," incorrectly identifies NATO as the "North American Treaty Organization" instead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Please make a correction to help many xenophobic Americans understand that we live in a world community.

Peter Kotilainen

Bolton, Mass.

You had to be there

In the Dec. 10 interview with Elie Wiesel for the "Conversations With Outstanding Americans" series, you quote author Kali Tal as saying that Wiesel "thinks [Holocaust] survivor witnesses are the only ones who really know about the experiences." Though I don't know the exact context in which this comment was made, I must say this: Of course they are! How can others, regardless of how many books they have read, or interviews they have conducted, really claim to "know" what happened? No one else knows what Wiesel (or any survivor for that matter) understands about the Holocaust. Intellectual knowledge remains a far cry from true understanding.

I applaud Wiesel for attempting to communicate his own powerful, experience-based understanding of hatred and intolerance through his actions and writings.

Paul Van Horn

Ft. Wingate, N.M.

Central Park clarification

I was dismayed to see in your Nov. 26 article on the Central Park Conservancy, "A Woman's Vision and Dream Turns Central Park 'Green,' " that our role with respect to large-scale events and donor recognition was inaccurately reported.

The Conservancy does not "host" large-scale events in the park, nor do such events put "millions in our coffers." As the private partner with the city in managing the park, the Conservancy does not advocate the use of Central Park as a venue for large-scale events, which are negotiated through the city. Any proceeds that the Conservancy receives from the events are usually minimal and cover the expenses we incur for cleanup and restoring damaged landscapes.

With regard to donor recognition, Central Park depends increasingly upon the support of private citizens for the restoration and maintenance of its landscapes and historic structures; however, it does not change historic park names to recognize donor support.

Karen H. Putnam

New York

President, Central Park Conservancy

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