Stones from glass houses
And yet Indonesia as a member of the A SEAN bloc of countries repeatedly condemns Vietnam for its occupation of Kampuchen, a monumental hypocrisy that hardly any news reports on the region have bothered to point out
Whilst ASEAN’s anti-communist group, backed by the West, has become almost obsessed with the notion of getting the Vietnamese out of Kampuchea — despite the positive aspects of overthrowing Pol Pot and forming the only credible defence against his return to power— they have shown no regard whatsoever for the self-determination of the peoples of East Timor and West Irian.
But then our politics are slightly right of centre, aren’t they?
Crackpot and wishy-washy
Albert needs glasses or a radical rethink. Where and how does he ‘see’ that blacks have all the jobs and houses? He provides no facts or figures but an appeal to irrational emotionalism. Black unemployment in Liverpool was last estimated as 65 per cent or more, whilst white unemployment runs between 14 and 35 per cent in different ncighbourhoods. This dismal picture is consistent with the rest of Britain. How can blacks have all the jobs?
Editor’s note: We publish letters that we judge will interest our readers. They are not censored to correspond to our editorial position. After all we have the rest of the magazine.
Scotland the brave
There are clearly more urgent and tragic issues in the world today than Scottish independence. But the people of Scotland will not be able to fully contribute their solution until they themselves have political power.
For ‘nationalism’ in your article, read ‘jingoism’ and an otherwise excellent piece of writing will have its integrity restored
Campaign coffee: a bitter sweet brew
Most coffee growers are ‘ordinary people’ and constitute one of the most exploited groups of Tanzanian peasants. In the 1970s, producer prices fell by a third in real terms and the proportion of the export price received by the growers fell from 80 per cent to less than 50 per cent (all coffee beans are sold to the government which decides on the annual price). Consequently peasants are reluctant to continue growing coffee, and in some areas by-laws have been introduced making the neglect or uprooting of coffee trees a punishable offence.
Tanzania is a typical African country in more ways than is generally admitted. It nonsense to think that buying Tanzanian coffee helps ‘ordinary people’ in some obvious way.
You should buy Tanzanian coffee because it is very good and because you think North-South trade is an essential element in Third World development. But don’t buy it to fool a liberal/Christian conscience into thinking that you are helping ordinary Tanzanians.
Traidcraft’s reply: Tanzanian coffee growers were, and to a large extent are, one of the more affluent groups within the peasant community. The decline in coffee prices largely reflects the decline in real terms of coffee prices on world markets. Tanzania is desperately short of foreign exchange and coffee is the major source of foreign exchange. Without excusing the weakness and possible mis-management within the Tanzanian economy it is understandable that such income is needed to keep the country ticking over.
It is a fine example of how a western country allows itself to be exploited, as the 400,000 Tasmanians will have to pay over one billion Australian dollars for 178 megawatts of power which they will never use.
Setting the record straight
When Help the Aged raised funds in South Africa for two University Chairs in geriatric medicine it chose two universities which are ‘open’ to black and coloured students. We believed that medical students coming out of those universities, whether black or white, would be better equipped to go into the community helping elderly people of all races.
Help the Aged’s fund — raising operations in South Africa were concluded in 1978. We continue to send modest grants to South Africa and these go to help black or coloured people only. Help the Aged is in no way in support of apartheid.
Hugh Faulkner, Director.
The scheme I am helping was started by Barnabas Mulubi who is headmaster of a mixed primary/secondary school Virtually no primary school in Kenya has a library so the children have only their textbooks to read Mr. Mulubi has recently told me that, as a result of receiving English books from the UK, he has been able to allocate more of his very scarce money to buy books in Swahili.
Editors note: correspondence on this issue is now closed.
In our society mothers usually breastfeed for less than a year, and from six months the child will only be having one or two feeds a day. So it is only in the early months that breastfeeding could cause some difficulties at work. And adequate creche facilities, a little planning and the cooperation and understanding of colleagues and employers should solve any problems.
The acceptance of breast-feeding and parenthood would be life-enhancing and perhaps help us all to get our priorities right.