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Famine can be directly alleviated

To the Editor:

I am so disturbed by Simson L. Garfinkel's column, "Famine uproar hides issues" [March 12], that I must ignore his plea for no more letters regarding famine in Africa.

I wholeheartedly agree that the issue of nuclear annihilation does not receive enough sustained public participation and media attention. I also welcome his exhortation to the MIT community to exercise its considerable influence "in the areas of weapons research and space technology" to reduce the nuclear threat.

However, I reject Garfinkel's allegation that participation in<>

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famine relief efforts precludes involvement in the fight against nuclear war. I know many concerned people who are at work on these and a number of other pressing global and local problems.

One significant difference between nuclear destruction and famine is that the latter can be directly alleviated, to a certain extent, with money; it requires political action.

The fact that the world could blow up any minute has frightened me into action, but it does not lessen the impact of famine in Africa and elsewhere. It makes a great difference to me if "ten<>

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thousand or ten million Africans die of starvation in 1985." I am insulted and astonished by Garfinkel's charge that famine relief "is another instance of the White Man's Burden." There may be a few individuals so motivated, but surely genuine concern and compassion -- not pity -- are more widespread! American relief efforts are multiracial.

We're doing what we can. The world has many problems. Please, Mr. Garfinkel, address future sermons to people who are doing nothing about any of them.

Nicole Sage Cormen->