National Geographic : 2002 Jun
Forum Central Asia Unveiled Having lived and traveled in all of the Stans, I wholeheart edly agree with your description of the rigidness by which the majority of these countries are ruled, and the tenuous chances they have to break through the economic, political, and social chaos rocking their very souls. If any of these countries are to make real gains, it will be by improving the rule of law (through benevo lent dictatorship or democratic values), which keeps foreign investment flowing. J. L . JACOBS Lebanon, New Jersey It was disappointing that the ten statistics you provided on each country did not include their population growth rates. They range from .03 percent in Kazakhstan to 3.5 percent in Afghanistan. At that rate Afghan istan's population will double in 20 years. THOMAS P. MCKENNA Montpelier,Vermont MEMBERSHIP Please call 1-800 -NGS-LINE (1-800 -647-5463). Special device for the hearing-impaired (TDD) 1-800-548-9797. Online: nationalgeographic.com/ngm AOL Keyword: NatGeoMag NATIOAL GEOGAPI In your article on the Stans, the map on page 119 shows Kashmir as a part of India. Pakistan came into existence in 1947, and since then the northeastern region, Kashmir, has been a disputed territory. The people of Kashmir have never been given the right of self-determination and have been fighting a war for their independence. United Nations resolutions support that area as a disputed territory. MUHAMMAD QASIM CHOUDRY Galesburg,Illinois As noted on our map, India's claim to Kashmir is exactly that, a claim. For more on the disputed region see "Kashmir: Trapped in Con flict," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, September 1999. Search for a Cure I am a student of anthropology who has conducted research into local interpretations of HIV/AIDS in the Venda region of South Africa. The depressing conclusion to your article is that without a cure there is no hope, but this is too simplistic. To achieve real progress in the worldwide fight against HIV infection, there must be more sensitivity shown toward how people in other societies under stand the virus. Only then can NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * JUNE 2002 February 2002 Stories on sprawl in Salt Lake Valley, infectious diseases, and the "Stans" of CentralAsia caused readers to question humankind'spopulation growth. "What is often perceived as a shortageoffood, arableland,jobs, housing, schools, and health care is usually a 'longage' ofpeople," wrote a reader.Many felt the world's more visibleproblems were just symptoms of this underlying, yet far-reachingissue. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. 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