Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 4. 1966.
Operation 21 view attacked
Sir, Allow me to comment, point by point, on your "Operation 21" editorial.
Firstly. I did not expect some students would be impressed with the "Operation 21" pamphlet because it was not writ ten in the theoretical or scholarly manner that would appeal to the intellectually superior being. What we must remember is that the pamphlet was intended to be read by all young people in New Zealand and fortunately only a small proportion of this group consists of the cynical student or English critic.
Secondly, I fall to see how the primary aim of "Operation 21"— to inform on the problems of hunger and under-development— cannot meet with the approval of students; after all it is we who continually demand that the public be informed on international problems. Furthermore the very fact that many of our fellowmen are starving and suffering diseases of malnutrition should arouse in every self-proclaimed humanitarian student the urge to do something to help rectify this situation.
Of course, the pamphlet does not definitely outline what we can do, for it was never intended to dictate our individual line of action, or answer such questions as those you posed. For once we young people have been asked to think for ourselves (students will be in their element here) and it is up to us to devise ways of providing answers to these questions.
While we sit back and criticize all attempts at finding solutions to such problems as hunger, other, more practical, non-student members of our age group are, at the community level, making worthwhile contributions to realize the alms of "Operation 21." By failing to respond to the challenge ourselves we will only reassure other sections of society that the student community's concern for social justice is nothing more than a hypocritical facade.
English Penfriends Offered
Sir—I have started a private penfriend club and I have been requested, by about 50 to 100 young ladles (mainly young trainee teachers, etc, age 17-21 and nurses etc) to find them New Zealand college or university pen friends. They would like to write to young men in the 17-27 age group.
If you have any young men interested in writing to a single, well-educated. English girl, please append their names, in list form, and I will endeavour to find them suitable correspondents! Please also ask each one to send a 1/6 postal note to cover airmail reply.
The young ladies, who wish to write, are from the very best families and will write most intelligent letters. Many will possibly get the idea of coming out, later, for a year, on the exchange scheme, (as they are nearly all adventurous types).
This is not a matrimonial agency, of course, (Ha! ha !), but just a pen-friend club.
J. Irving (Mrs.)
137 St. Cuthbert's Rd., Newcastle-on-Tyne, 5, England.
Students' Association secretary, Michael King (who last issue was urging readers to write to Japanese girls) this issue suggests readers may like to take up this offer. He has an interim list from which selections may be made!—Ed.
Poem To The Editor — Vietnam
Sir—In a moment of acute sadness I wrote this poem. You might not think it a proper poem. However, that is what I felt about the war in our country. I would appreciate your service if you would publish it in Salient so that my Vietnamese and Kiwi friends can have some idea about Vietnam of the present.
A Scene Of Life
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
All over the country
The people welcome each other with cannon and machine gun fire.
Thousands of Vietnamese have died in agony Days and nights
In the jungles, up the mountains, down the valleys, on the rivers.
Everywhere the country is dyed with black smoke and red blood.
How many old mothers have become blind
Through weeping for their unfortunate sons
Who have passed away somewhere in the countryside
When they were still in the spring of their lives?
Innumerable married women are spending night after night in loneliness.
Wondering "what has become of him out there this time?"
And who feel their hearts tighten with sadness every time
Their innocent child asks them softly "Mummy.
Where is daddy?"
Many children cannot enjoy their childhood joy
Taking no more interest in play or in toys
When they see their mothers toiling alone to bring them comfort and joy
With their worried and skinny faces over the soil.
Where can I again find the peaceful life?
No more fresh morning air!
No more green valleys!
No more blue sky over there!
Nothing but a sky with black smoke and paddy fields fertilised with dead bodies
And soldiers with their eyes flaming with hatred and spite! for their very own people of the same country!
The whole people have been suffering.
And living in horror, sadness and despair
In the morning, in the evening, day and night.
Their future becomes dark as gunpowder smoke,
And their destiny uncertain as a small boat
Drifting away helplessly on the sea
On a dull stormy winter day.
Should I cry for this futile life
Without future, without meaning?
Or should I sigh and mourn over this war all the times?
No, sighing and mourning is cowardly.
Should I smile happily at this life
With nothing but sadness and sorrow
As cold as snow over the mountain top?
No. I would commit a great crime
To rejoice over the sorrows of my people's lives.
Let me live and struggle without complaint
In spite of life's incessant pain.
And let me not live in misery but in hope that the sun will shine
Some day, some time
After the long dark horrible night.
Sir.—I am" glad to see that at last your record reviewer has come down to earth, and reviewed some records that can be appreciated by the mass of students, who don't pretend to dig Stravinsky. Strauss and Sauerkraut on their turntables.
One minor point, though—Baez has never condemned Dylan's use of amplified guitar—in fact, she has said in public record that her next album will be pure rock and roll. If the amplified on "Farewell Angelina" is played by Bruce Langhorne. I fail to see how it can be monotonous, as any possessor of "The Freewheelin" Bob Dylan" and "Odetta Sings Dylan" albums will tell you in awed "tones of his prowess on acoustic.
May I suggest that the plugs for World Record Club releases are canned, in future? Albums that should be reviewed—"Bob Dylan" and "Highway 61 Revisited "'Tom Rush's "Blues. Songs. Ballads," and Robert Johnson. "King of the Delta Blues Singers," Opinions on these albums might find a more patient audience at the university Folk Music club (when they find time to stop singing "Little Brown Jug," and running Dylan down).
Still, it is nice to see popular records being reviewed in a manner that doesn't reek of the noncommittal nonsense dished out by weighty tomes as "The Dominion."
R. G. Pasley
Sir,—Readers of your article on Amnesty International who would like to join the organisation should contact either Mary Bryan (26168) or me (27412).
The Press V. Forum Debate
Sir,—So Mr. Ashenden has talked the executive into banning the press from Forum.
For as long as I can remember he has been chastising the press for inaccurate, irresponsible reporting of student news. If some journalists are hostile towards students, it is because of the lack of co-operation and hostile treatment they have received from people like Mr. Ashenden.
By preventing reporters from attending Forum, and by refusing to speak to the newspaper reporters and radio producers who have approached him for information. Mr, Ashenden has ensured that any future press coverage of Forum will be ill-informed and unreliable.
Forum is one of the few activities showing students in a good light that the press are interested in. If the press can't attend Forum or speak to its controller, where are they going to get any information from?
They can get it from ordinary students who may, or may not, have their facts right. They can make it up. Or they can ignore students altogether, except when a few idiots get drunk during capping week. By banning reporters from Forum. Mr. Ashenden is creating the very situation he claims to be avoiding.
John D. Harlow