New Internationalist

Letters

Issue 117

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[image, unknown] LETTERS

[image, unknown] BIAS[image, unknown]

Cartoon by R. K. Laxman. A slur on our lads
Will you kindly cease sending me your magazine. The latest edition on ‘Bias’ seems very biased indeed.

Having served in undeveloped countries for many years both as a soldier and in a relief organisation, I believe I know a little about the subjects you have been covering, I think it was the ‘mendacious’ article that irritated me most On page 15 the reference to Argentine troops, with its assumption that all troops become unclean tramps in war is simply untrue; and is a slur on our own lads and those of many other countries who know that the maintenance of cleanly habits is essential in combating those dehumanising factors that are certainly not only present on the battlefield.

On page 24 it is suggested that the use of the word ‘deter’ is mendacious. The sooner we all realise the simple fact that the horror of nuclear weapons has deterred aggression in Europe for longer than ever before, the safer we shall be. The ‘ties of common funk’ may not encourage the pride of the humanists, but in our desire to get rid of these awful and wasteful weapons, we must not forget that it is just those nations who do not possess a nuclear deterrent that have suffered most from war since World War II —Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, Iran and Iraq to mention a few.

Major Pott,
Aviemore, Scotland.

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Tax fiddling vs welfare fiddling
Your article on prejudice against the poor (NI 115, September 1982) was interesting, but contained one piece of apparently telling, but in fact misleading, evidence. You mention that Inland Revenue anti-fraud measures cost less than one fifth of the equivalent action against social security fiddlers. Presumably, it is hoped that the reader will infer that this is the result of a massive conspiracy on the part of the ruling classes, aiming to protect their own rackets while grinding the faces of the poor. In fact, the discrepancy in budgets has a less sinister origin; the Inland Revenue relies almost entirely on 'information received' about tax cheating and doesn't need to spy so actively. So its investigations are that much cheaper. Benefit cheats are less vulnerable to informers.

C.B. Eason,
Horndean, Hants, UK.

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Correction
In your own leading article (NI 115, September 1982) you state that it is well-known in Fleet Street that the ‘News Chronicle’ closed because it was starved of advertising income, perhaps because of its strong pro-Labour stance’. I doubt the Chronicle was a paper that supported the Liberal Party. Only naivety would believe that hard nosed advertisers would use political stance rather than popular appeal as a criterion for use. In the fifties, any 'popular' below a two million circulation was vulnerable.

Roger Jenking,
Oxford, UK

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[image, unknown] CHANGE[image, unknown]

Love, love, love
The New Internationalist issue on social and personal change portrays a troubled and puzzled world The only ray of light trickles from the Jim Cairns’ interview where he states that economics and politics, to which he had looked as a means of changing the world, ‘were really part of the old distortion’. Beatrix Campbell’s article on women’s liberation is also bound by the distortion. She may have a knowledge of the mechanics of sexual’ relations but she seems blind to the need of the main ingredient which is pure, true, selfless love, not the mockery which this distorted world has produced.

As for the Gay Movement, this portrays the degradation of mankind, for the Bible states that homosexuality is an abomination before God. But then this distorted world has made the Bible an irrelevant backnumber.

Jim Cairns concludes with the admission that he is only at the beginning of the process of personal growth; some people never make a start.

Tom Siddle,
Bradford,
West Yorkshire,
UK

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The sad price of sex
The article ’Wham, bam...’ NI 113, concerning the myth of the vaginal orgasm, raises some significant issues. I have always been skeptical of’ feminist politics’ because it smacks of blatant sexism by virtue of definition. Surely all individuals are much more than the labels ‘male’ and ‘female’. Ultimately it shouldn’t matter what sex we are, for it is a tenuous hormonal distinction which defines whether we impregnate or receive impregnation.

What has given rise to female exploitation is as much the fault of women as men. Both sexes have become victims of sexual usury purely due to economics. Just as it is expedient to put a price on a cup of rice, so it becomes pragmatic to charge for sexual pleasure or any abstract emotional need in a society fragmented by the hostility of competitiveness. What any individual craves is exploitable in a society based on money and profit.

I am a man through chance and not heinous intention. I experience the desire for warmth, affection, trust and empathy with a kindred spirit whom I wish was female. By stating this I feel like a heretic because I am told that I am a victim of the so-called ‘growing awareness’ of militant feminism which delights in my feeling threatened.

Not only is the vaginal orgasm myth a frivolous distraction but so are the whole gamut of sexual politics and the dissection of them. The sad price which Western society places on commercial sex is nothing but pathetic compared to the price of a cup of rice to a Cambodian peasant.

T Munro,
London, UK

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

Report from the front lines
One of the first magazines I saw upon my return to Canada from several years in Peru was your issue on child sponsorship organizations. I want to commend you on a fine piece of investigative journalism and a courageous stand against some very powerful international - aid’ organizations.

As pastor of a parish in Chimbote, Peru where Foster Parents Plan had a large operation for many years, I have witnessed the truth of your presentation of their work. It has been very discouraging to see the extensive publicity campaigns here in Canada by ‘The Plan’ based on very dubious factual grounds. I would argue that the arguments presented against these sorts of organisations are true in every respect. It is unfortunate that so many in the First World are seduced by their appeals and do not investigate before making such large financial commitments.

Father Richard Renshaw,
Chimbote, Peru.

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No interest in Canadian Indians
Having worked in India, seeing suffering and death in countless children, I became convinced that sponsorship was one of the few ways to ensure that at least one child would have a healthy, fulfilling life. And I could not see how my sponsorship interfered with community development programmes.

Ironically, in Canada, I have observed children dying from malnourishment on Indian Reserves where conditions are often as bad as those in the Third World. And the Indian poverty is imposed by the Canadian government However I have been unable to persuade any Canadian sponsorship organisation to sponsor children on the Reserves.

Dr C. Bagley
Faculty of Social Welfare,
University of Calgary,
Alberta, Canada.

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To test or not to test
In your recent Environment issue you reported that only 13 per cent of the 55,000 chemicals in commercial use have been tested for cancer in animals’. Does this mean you are advocating a massive increase in barbaric carcinogenic experiments on animals?

I am surprised that an ‘aware’ magazine like yours can be so oblivious to the rights of animals. You rightly criticise exploitation of Third World peoples; but why is it any more acceptable to exploit other species for our own benefit’?

Andrew Foster,
Chingfora
London, UK

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Policing the drug companies
To support the campaign for tighter controls on drug promotion in the Third World (‘Uncoded Danger’, NI 114), Hornsea World Development Group would like to receive printed examples of inappropriate or misleading drug information. These may be newspaper or journal advertisements, package inserts, leaflets from drugstores, etc. We are interested in all medicines, vitamins, tonics or other preparations, whether supplied by prescrip. tion or bought over the counter. Where we can establish a link with a UK-based pharmaceutical company or one with a UK subsidiary, we shall challenge the company concerned. Please send any likely material, with the date acquired and the source, to the address below.

Sheila Silcock,
3, Branch Hill,
Hampstead
London NW3 7LT
UK

Editors note: the International Organisation of Consumers Unions, P0. Box 1045, Penang, Malaysia is presently establishing a ‘consumers interpol’ on the inappropriate marketing of drugs in the Third World.

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To rename or not to rename
I hope you keep Internationalist in the name for your magazine.
Everyone knows what an Internationalist is.

PA. Rudolph,
Purley,
Surreg
UK

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