New Internationalist

Letters

Issue 100

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[image, unknown] LETTERS

[image, unknown] DISARMAMENT[image, unknown]

Cartoon by R. K. Laxman. Waiting to pounce
I was not surprised to observe how perfunctorily you dismissed the threat of a Soviet take-over if the West abandoned nuclear weapons. Dexter Tiranti just said: 'Oh, we'd be quite safe, we'd still have all the US nukes behind us'. But these, as well as our own, are precisely what the CND are hoping to eliminate. Small comfort there.

Isn't it rather unrealistic to imagine that the Soviets with their failing economy, would forego the rich pickings to be had in a defenceless West if we gave up the Bomb?

Perhaps an agonising death from radiation would be worse than a life of terror under Russian rule - but not much.

Margaret Taylor
Woodbridge
Suffolk

The editor replies:
CND is working for just British disarmament.

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The right to choose

Our elected officials have assumed the responsibility for nuclear disarmament. But 35 years of negotiations have resulted in 35 years of arms proliferation. The people of the world should be allowed to demand an end to the continual and increasing threat of nuclear annihilation. In the name of freedom we should support the Global Referendum on Disarmament. Such a referendum is not an act of madness. On the contrary, I believe that the annihilation of the world would be the true act of madness.

Willern Van Leenhoff
Quebec
Canada

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Stocking the arsenals

I am surprised and dismayed at the one-sidedness of the articles in your March magazine (NI No. 97). I wonder why your contributors suppress the strategies of the USSR and the Budget allocations of the Eastern bloc and Third World nations as well as belittle the technological sophistication of the USSR missile weapon system.

J. L. de Vries
Department of Health Planning
University of Michigan
US

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[image, unknown] CULTURE[image, unknown]

Growing links

In the 'History of Culture' feature (NI No. 98) it was stated that urban civilisation developed in four independent sites in the world. This claim is not corroborated by recent research, and my book, 'The Spread of Ancient Civilisations', argues that all the early great cultures had links, which were to act as stimuli which directly led them to civilisation.

R.A. Jairazbhoy
Northwood
Middlesex

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Out of date

In tracing the history of culture (NI No. 98) you have for some strange reason departed from the Internationally accepted dating system. Millions of people know that America was discovered in 1492 - but you would prefer to date it as 500 BP! Next year this will become 501 BP, and so on. The actual date of the discovery of America will never become stabilised in the mind in this manner.

I cannot understand your obsession with multinationals. You do not give much credit to the wisdom and common sense of governments of countries whose interests you wish to protect. In the last analysis it is up to the government whether a multinational is allowed in.

I grew up in India and owe a great deal to Sunlight and Lifebuoy soap, at first imported from Britain and later manufactured in India by Unilever. Long may it live!

Terence Khushal
London

The Editor replies:
Much of the world is Christian, but should we insist that others divide their history into events occurring before and after the birth of a foreign culture's god? 'Before Present' was employed in the spirit of a feature which tried to counteract the European bias in history books.

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What price sacrifice?

Is it fair to blame North American evangelists ('Selling Salvation', NI No. 98) for a thriving Korean church sending out their own missionaries? Kim Ik Do does not sound like an American name. And if South Korean Christians wish to make sacrificial gifts to spread the Gospel of Life why should they not? Acquisitiveness was never a Christian virtue.

Cammy Wilson failed to note that the Roman Catholic church holds the allegiance of most Christians in the Philippines. Most North American evangelists would be Protestants.

Tony Ford
Assistant General Director
Christ to the World by Radio
Weybridge
Surrey

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In safe keeping

Regarding the impressive claims of conversions among Cambodian refugees, I should have thought that all Christians would rejoice in this striking growth of the Christian community among the Cambodians, and that it should not be the basis of a rather snide remark.

It may look smart to report a conference participant saying 'You have to get somebody "lost" before you can get him "saved". But the New Testament makes plain the spiritual truth that we are blind and have first to realise this and then accept the light of the gospel.

It is a wholly unjustified smear to suggest that, because Billy Graham's brother-in-law is Vice President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the finances of that body are a closely-kept family secret. The BGEA has, I understand, been commended by the US tax authorities for the scrupulous way they have kept and displayed their accounts.

Gordon Landreth
General Secretary
Evangelical Alliance
London

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[image, unknown] EXPERTS[image, unknown]

Finish the job

Congratulations for the article 'Checking out the Bank' in Bangladesh (NI No. 96). Investigation of the Word Bank programme should go further, however. If a search were made of land documents in areas where the pumps are located, you would probably find that those with pumps on their land would have bought land from their less advantaged neighbours. Result? Wealth for the few. Poverty for many.

Peter McNee
World Vision of New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand

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The first Fourth World

May I draw your attention to 'Aide a tout Detresse', a Fourth World Movement founded in France in 1957, which has since spread to six European countries and North America. We try to identify and combat poverty by drawing attention to the lifestyle of the 'sub-proletariat' who have missed out on development. The organisation has a UK branch at: 48 Addington Square, London.

As with Mr. Papworth's movement, there is a great deal of idealism - but also 20-odd years of experience.

Gordon Blakell
Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges
London

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Faith in the Fourth World

With respect to the Fourth World Assembly (NI No. 97), you are mistaken to suppose that 'there is no sign as yet of them surfacing with practical ideas'. We have made a start by helping promote the twinning of Third World villages with First World neighbourhoods which Action Aid have now taken on with their Community Link scheme.

Our aid is to strengthen the networks of secessionist movements working to decolonise the present world empires - whether in the American or Soviet blocs, in China or India, or closer to home within Europe - the Bretons, Catalans, Welsh and so on.

We believe that the gradual dissolution of the superpowers - a process underway in Poland and elsewhere today - is the surest way to avert the threat of global nuclear war.

Nicholas Albery
General Assembly
The Fourth World

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Saharan suspicions

Mr A Hyman's review of the 'Western Saharans' (NI No. 98) shows a complete ignorance of some local facts as well as a suspicious readiness to transform the Sahraouis problem into an East West issue, with his emphasis on the Sahraouis' Soviet weaponry.

I would particularly like to take him up on three points. The first one relates to his dismissal of the Polisario Front as 'a motley assortment of Sahraoui patriots and mercenaries'. Let me remind Mr Hyman that Morocco has so far failed to produce any evidence of 'mercenaries' taking part in this war and that a mercenary would be better off fighting somewhere else, since Algeria already finds it difficult to cope with the number of refugees swarming into Tindouf (South of Algeria).

Secondly, Algeria's support cannot but originate from its long struggle against the French and the popular help it has given Liberation Movements around the world since independence. Its refusal to negotiate with Morocco at the Sahraoui's expense, despite lavish financial promises from the Saudis, clearly shows that. Finally, I would like to draw Mr Hyman's attention to the fact that neither Mali nor Niger have suffered any domination from Algeria, although they have both enjoyed its support since independence.

N. E. Anane
Smethwick
West Midlands

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Ciba again

Clioquinol, whose horrific side-effects you describe in your January issue (NI No. 95), is not the only dangerous drug manufactured and sold by Ciba-Geigy. Drs Paul Epstein and John Yudkin have described in The Lancet (August 1980) how a young British woman nearly died and suffered terrible facial damage after taking Cibalgin in Mozambique.

Cibalgin contains amidopyrine, a drug known to produce such side-effects since 1952 and withdrawn from the market in Britain, Sweden, the US, and elsewhere. Ciba Geigy announced that they would withdraw amidopyrine from all countries by the end of 1977, but in 1980 it was still on sale in much of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

It was ironic that the incident should have happened in Mozambique, one country tackling its pharmaceutical problems in a determined way. Mozambique is drawing up a list of around 350 essential drugs, establishing a central purchasing agency, phasing out private pharmacies and forming its own drug manufacturing unit.

Sandy Cairncross
Ministry of Public Works
Mozambique

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