'Africa' article left readers in the dark


I am writing in response to the "Kidnapped in Africa!" article in the June 21 issue of the Summer Wildcat. Although the cover was certainly intriguing, and the story was an admirable account of the student's escape and successful continuation of his work after being held hostage for three days, there was one important question left unanswered.

Although I try to keep abreast of a lot of world issues, I must confess I know very little about goings-on in West Africa, although I vaguely remember hearing about indigenous Tuaregs fighting Mali's leaders. In this article readers were left completely in the dark as to what Tuareg rebels might be doing in Mauritania and Mali, what the situation is like there, etc. It's definitely possible that Len Milich, the captured student, was not aware why his captors chose him or what they hoped to accomplish, and his story is interesting enough in and of itself, thought the context is sorely lacking. In this age most college students, without the map you provided, would not even be able to locate Mauritania and Mali on their own, there is a crying need for journalists to inform the public on what is going on in other parts of the world. To simply tell the story of this one person, and have a sidebar about the dangers of being an "ugly American" or just not a very careful American abroad, is to take a very American-centric perspective. I only hope readers aren't inclined to take the same conclusion from this story that Milich seems to have that it's time to learn how to use a gun. No, it's time to get educated about what's going on in the world especially in a university newspaper.

Nik Trendowski

Los Angeles, CA

I also happen to be the ex-spring city editor and fall diversions editor of the USC Daily Trojan that's where I got the {Summer Wildcat} copy. Overall, though, I have to say after reading numerous college papers that the Wildcat is usually one of the best.

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