New Internationalist

Letters

Issue 116

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[image, unknown] LETTERS

[image, unknown] CHANGE[image, unknown]

Cartoon by R. K. Laxman. Individual will and purpose
It is unfortunate that Chris Sheppard’s article 'Thought, word and deed' (NI 113) contained so much Marxist rhetoric. It would have been more helpful to those who work for change if he had provided a little more explanation of what such political statements mean to the individual.

His reference to Marx's statement Men make history but not under circumstances of their own choosing,’ is especially inadequate in this regard. The quotation seems to imply that Marx completely denies the role of individual will and purpose! Surely. the intent of both the article and Marx’s writings is that individuals could attain something they want if they got together with similar-minded people for the common purpose to change society for the better. Isn’t that something like the individual fulfilling his or her will and purpose’?

Don Abbott
St. John’s,
Newfoundland, Canada

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Rivers of blood
The article ‘Growing Up —Swastika Style’ in the June issue ignores some vital facts. Skinheads with whom I have spoken say that Enoch Powell is a true racial prophet as in his famous speech in Birmingham in April 1968 he warned the country that the continuation oF coloured immigration would lead to rivers of blood. The Skinheads and others are part of this powerful white backlash which is gaining strength. When young whites who are unemployed see blacks in jobs they naturally react because no government has ever had a mandate from the British electorate for the establishment of a multiracial society. Until the general election of May 1979 all political parties. the churches, the trade unions took all possible steps to prevent the public debating the issue of coloured immigration. When for the first time the Conservative party raised this it took away many votes from the National Front.

The policy of Enoch Powell and others for an immediate halt to coloured immigration and a start to repatriation offers the only hope to white people of jobs and houses. In all future elections, parliamentary and local, the Nationalist Parties will raise the issue of coloured immigration and it cannot be ignored any longer.

Albert Elder
East bourne,
Sussex, UK

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[image, unknown] AGEING[image, unknown]

Teaching pool
Congratulations on your issue NI 112 concerned with the problems of the over 60s. and against the unfortunate tendency to ever-earlier retirement, either forced or voluntary.

It would have been more pragmatic, however, to have emphasised the enormous pool of high level professional technical and administrative services available from the over-60s in the developed world and available at minimum cost to the Third World.

My own experience in this regard might be illuminating. Malcolm Fraser entered into an agreement with Mr. Mugabe to assist in providing teachers from Australia for the Secondary and Technical schools in Zimbabwe. I had a very satisfactory interview and my qualifications verified together with satisfactory reports from my referees. Unfortunately this all came to nothing since the Zimbabwe authorities banned anyone over 60.

Dr F. Molineux
Victoria, Australia

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[image, unknown] CHILD SPONSORSHIP[image, unknown]

Small-scale adoption
What attracted me above all about sponsorship, and it still does, is the personal contact which it affords. My two young Third World friends benefit not only from better diet and schooling, but from the fact that someone, however far away.

I have seen a similar effect in two young men whom I visit in prison - both had been rejected by their families and had no one to visit or write to them. Although their criminal careers have covered quite a few years. I find them both delightful, generous and gentle because they are able to react in that way to someone who cares. It's a privilege to be able to do something for them -as it is for my sponsored kids. Adoption is another parallel in my opinion and sponsorship is like adoption on a small scale. As a Christian I believe that a personal relationship with Christ has to be the most important thing in life and we can spread His good news in personal relationships with each other.

So perhaps the answer is for more careful screening of sponsors and/or training for them. There are bad parents would you abolish parenthood? Surely the answer is to take action which enables them to do the job better.

Miss J. Chaplin
Cheam,
Surrey, UK

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Only one Mother Theresa
Quoting Mother Theresa does not help in a world which so clearly is not populated by Mother Theresa. The world is inhabited by fallible people, some of whom have turned to child-sponsoring agencies as a seemingly direct and uncluttered route to another living. breathing human being who appears to be in need.

You allege that sponsoring organizations are, after all, doing a disservice to already disadvantaged people and that the individual sponsor is a naive bourgeois. The only possible alternative you offer is a passing word about Gandhian organizations’, or that non-sponsoring organizations have a more cost-effective programme. No documentation. No facts.

Your assertions may be true but unfortunately you offer nothing resembling conclusive evidence. If you can’t, then all you have done is add more to the mistrust, uncertainty and confusion which the world has already in abundance.

Marian Sinn
Perth, Ontario,
Canada

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[image, unknown] BABYMILK[image, unknown]

Battle for the minds
Congratulations on your superb issue on Infant Formula This issue is sure to become a collector’s item. I particularly liked the warning poster. Since this battle for the minds, I had been struggling to find an effective way to put over the ill effects of the ever-present bottle. My almost dog-eared copy now forms the centre piece of all my campaigns.

Recently I carried out a very interesting exercise. I asked the teachers in a primary school in Trinidad to ask girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 11 years to draw a picture of a mother feeding a child’. We received 110 drawings. Thirty of the pictures showed women breastfeeding; the scenes were warm with babies cuddled in their mother’s arms (often the mothers were sitting in rocking chairs); pictures on the walls with home sweet home’ messages, rubber duckies and well-kept dogs completed the pictures.

The bottle-feeding pictures showed babies held at arms length from the mothers with bottles aimed at the babies’ mouth like guns. What was most interesting was the context in which mother and child were situated; smoking mothers, the prevalence of disposable diapers and an intimate familiarity with bottles which were drawn in great detail.

I now intend to make this into a fuller study of what is in children’s minds concerning the normal’ way to feed an infant The results I hope will help us to develop appropriate messages in contexts which will reverse the acceptance of the bottle.

Keep up the good work!

Hazel Brown,
Caribbean Regional
Co-ordinator for IBFAN,
Trinidad

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Filipina action
This is to congratulate you on your April 1982 issue giving importance to worldwide campaign for breastfeeding.

We are a group of 11,382 women in Metro Manila, Philippines, who are all in favour of breastfeeding and we are campaigning for it, especially in the 89 health centres that most of us are running.

We are pleased to inform you that in the Philippines four national non-governmental organizations set up a coalition for breastfeeding. We are supporting this movement strongly.

When 100 of us visited the United States last May-June. 1982 we decided not to buy Nestle-brand products such as chocolates. Tasters Choice and L’Oreal shampoo.

We trust you will continue to champion our cause.

Leonarda N Camacho,
(Chairperson, Metro Manila Council of Women)
Manila, Philippines

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Libraries and literacy
The Ranfurly Library Service is an organization with considerable experience in the collection of second-hand books in the UK and their despatch to libraries in the Third World their 9 millionth book was sent in October 1980! Perhaps John Humphries and Anne Forbes might like to liaise with it However. Anne Forbes is right to question the suitability of some material that gets presented. Because of the high value placed on books for themselves, it can be difficult to persuade the recipients that a book might not be worth keeping or that duplicates might be passed on.

Many Third World libraries retain tatty, out-dated books on their shelves, while in one African reference library I saw three sets of a major French encyclopedia, two in pristine condition and with few textual changes. They had cost their donors hundreds of pounds. but not many of the library users spoke French!

The uses for a mobile library will be limited. Only the major roads may be tarred and even these may become damaged and flooded in the rainy season.

Indigenous publishers should certainly be supported. if possible. especially if they publish in local languages. They have tremendous handicaps, usually small markets. shortages of paper and spare parts for the printing machines. and few retail outlets. Book-week Africa’ at the Africa Centre, London. in June. was a stimulating experience, but despite considerable African-published material it seemed to be dominated by British and other non-African publishers.

Peter A. Moll
Loughborough,
Leicester, UK

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