Houses or hospitals
As a nurse I was puzzled by many treatments and inefficiences and at one point wondered whether I’d have to opt out altogether because I was party to promoting so much ill health. But I can’t go all the way with you on being anti-hospitals. The NHS has saved the lives of several close friends and relatives or eased their dying a great deal - though it has also killed two friends and crippled another with massive doses of psychoactive drugs.
But what do you do with those temporarily defeated and demented? Two of my friends lost custody of their children permanently whilst homeless and the wounds will never heal. I was lucky. I spent ten days in a locked mental ward after a prolonged period of homeless-ness and stress. I’m sure my toddlers were better off not seeing me (though it was very painful for us all) and their father was able to care for them and continue to try and sort out a permanent place to live. Though, at the time, I was outraged by the cost of keeping me in there when the same sort of resources spent on housing could have prevented it all.
Large hospitals, high technology and drugs are very dangerous. As a community nurse, what I fear most is being used as an elastoplast just to hide the festering sores of our society.
Poised for invasion
The December issue (NI 130) about US policy in Central America struck me with considerable impact. What was again reinforced was the paranoia of the Reagan administration which does not want to understand that governments, such as the one in Nicaragua, can be of a leftist persuasion and be supported by the general populace.
History has shown that Reagan and his predecessors have always been the first to condemn Soviet actions in such
places as Afghanistan and Czechoslovakia. But a look at the list of American interventions, even in just the last twenty years and most recently in Grenada, makes for an appalling track record. It now appears that we’re simply waiting for the invasion of Nicaragua by the US troops now poised in Honduras.
James R Noble
Why don’t you issue the calendar from the centre pages of the January 1984 issue (NI 131) as a separate publication in colour? The only fault I find is that to Latinise the names is, again, to make them Euro-centric.
Sidney J Holt
I am ashamed to admit that I was born and lived for 11 years in New Zealand, a country about whose history and indigenous culture I know nothing. I am not a true New Zealander, but a displaced white Englishman whose cultural roots are English.
Any Pakeha who claims to be proud to be a New Zealander is merely playing colonial games. The same can be said of white Australians, white South Africans, white Americans, and white Canadians. It is us, the white intruders, who have no right to dictate. And yet it is our culture that is taught in schools throughout these countries, our buildings and urban sprawl that pollutes the land, and our interests that are served through ruling white ideology and government.
I only wish it was possible to ‘repatriate’ every ‘greedy, grasping, calculating, tricky white face’ from both New
Zealand and every other country in which our presence has been forcefully imposed.
I am one of Ngate Te Korou’s ‘cultural aliens’ (NI 128), a third generation Pakeha Aotearaan (white New Zealander) who would welcome repatriation to Mrs Thatcher’s British Tribe; that is, providing Ngate Te Korau, whose forebears migrated to Aotearaa as ‘cultural aliens’ to disturb a primeval land a few centuries before mine, pays my air fare to Britain and Mrs Thatcher grants me entry through the British citizens channel of Heathrow.
Ngata Te Korou (Maori for Enoch Powell) should be heartened that the British discriminate against their own kind with their migration laws.
After reading John Forsythe’s article ‘Sleep in peace now, the battle’s over’ (NI 128), I was left with the feeling that it was written by a defeatist who fell into the same trap as the Scots did in the 1979 referendum: namely the 40 per cent rule which effectively precluded the possibility of a
Scottish Assembly before the referendum took place!
The rule said that 40 per cent of those on the electoral roll has to vote in favour of the Devolution Bill. When one considers that 65 per cent is an average poll in a general election, the obstacles become apparent. This rule was simply an expedient measure designed and introduced by a ruling establishment to ensure their views prevailed.
On the whole, I liked your issue on minority rights (NI 128) - the profile on Canada provided a nice touch. Given the things that are said elsewhere in the issue about patronising attitudes, however, Wayne Ellwood’s story is as good an example one would ever care to note of the way Anglo-Canadians fumble with the reality of French Canada. Giving an example of what you’re talking about is an effective way of making your point. But I wonder how far it was intended that way?
In reference to the report on Tibet in your November issue (NI 129), I am pleased to note the contents are fairly balanced. The Chinese came to ‘liberate’ Tibet and ‘educate’ the barbarians. They justified their activities and even claimed them necessary. Crushing the 1959 revolt with tens of thousands of Tibetan lives is an eminent example and China feels no guilt for this massacre. The United Nations International Commission of Jurists have criticised the Chinese occupation as ‘genocide’, and the invaders have spelled death to one million men, women and children.
After a glimpse of relaxation, repression has once again returned. In late August 1983, more than 600 Tibetans, most of whom are political activists,
arrested on such trumped-up. charges as black marketing and robbery, were executed. China also planned additional executions in its continuing effort to crush Tibet’s nationalist movements. Its victims were to be chosen from the 3,000 political dissidents China was rounding up. This clearly shows the sad conditions of my people under the Chinese colonialism. Losang Chophel
In the November issue (NI 129) of New Internationalist you say that ‘Tibet has been virtually independent for much of its history.’ While I wish and pray that this nation be fully free and independent, I would like to point out that seven centuries ago Marco Polo wrote that Tibet was an autonomous region of the Chinese empire. The communist authorities of Peking, and the KMT ones of Taiwan, have lots of reasons to be grateful to that Venetian traveller.
Boys for the jobs
With reference to Clare Hudson’s letter in the September issue (NI 127). Unfortunately, it is not just the white racists in South Africa who refer to their black male servants as ‘boys’. The French and other Europeans in the Ivory Coast use the selfsame word.
Might it have been the British who gave the word this offensive connotation in the days when they were colonising Africa?
Readers of New Internationalist do not need to be reminded of the shocking and tragic links between the arms race and world poverty. Today, Berk
shire in England is associated with images of high technology, weapons research and missile sites; not least because Greenham Common is on our doorstep. But Berkshire is also the fertile centre for research and practical work on intermediate technology, alternative energy sources, improved food plants, rural enterprises and small co-operatives: projects which are as relevant to the current needs of the United Kingdom as they are to the developing world.
Unfortunately, this action to create a positive future for rural communities world-wide is little publicised. So a group of people have set up a cooperative to organise holiday study tours based on these local activities. Participants will have the opportunity to visit a variety of enterprises to find out about the work. The programme will include opportunities for discussion and there will also be visits to places of general and historical interest.
If you are interested please write to me for our brochure including a stamped self-addressed 9" x4" envelope.
Can I draw your readers’ attention to the misprint in the Action section of your Central America issue (NI 130)? Our address is listed as 27 Compton Terrace, instead of 21 Compton Terrace. As we are a new Committee, we would be very grateful if you could print a correction.
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