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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 12. August 20, 1947

Editorial Notes and Comments

Editorial Notes and Comments

There are so many subjects which demand out attention this week that we are forced to confine our comments on them to a few brief remarks. With a Tournament in the offing, we would be in order in bringing out (after a slight dusting) a few well-known platitudes on the social and education value of Tournaments. We will forgo this privilege, however, and restrict ourselves to this remark (and even this is superfluous)—"Have a Good Time!"

The progress of the Atomic Age produces an endless succession of struggles which have repercussions throughout the entire world. One such struggle is the breakdown of Imperialism, manifested at present by the successful termination to years of negotiation to bring independence to India, and another is the struggle of the Indonesian people to achieve a similar happy state of affairs.


While the Union Jack was being hauled down in New Delhi, a rainbow appeared in the sky. At the same time a celebration was being held in Wellington, where speeches were made by prominent members of the Indian Community, by the Prime Minister, and by representatives of several organisations, including VUCSA, which was represented by its President, Harold Dowrick. Generally speaking, I could not feel proud of the showing made by the New Zealanders who spoke. Mr. Fraser reproduced some well worn cliches, emphasising the responsibility which goes with self-government and almost implying that this was lacking. His sentiments were echoed by the other English speakers, except Mr. Dowrick, who stressed the part played by India in two world wars, and Mr. Gapadhar, also a VUC student, who outlined the history of British domination in India.


A full account of the VUCSA Special General Meeting appears on the opposite page. The issue has been decided, but the broader question of principle remains, which is, briefly; "are we to continue to express publicly views which we believe to be right, but which may be objected to by possible future benefactors,' or are all our future public utterances to be restricted by their possible effect on certain influential citizens?" In our opinion, it is the perogative of University students, clubs and staff, to express whatever views they wish, without regard to any restriction but the laws of the land.


Thirteen students who took part in a demonstration in Sydney similar to the one recently held here, were arrested by an emergency police squad, which included many plain clothes men.

A protest meeting was held at Sydney University and was attended by 2,000 students and members of the teaching staff. A committee was set up, which includes two-professors and representatives of the SRC (Executive to us), the SCM, the Labour Club, and Rehabilitation Scheme Council. A delegation was appointed to forward the resolutions of the meeting to the Premier, the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General and the Chief Secretary, It is alleged that forceful methods were used to break up an orderly march and demonstration, that the people who broke up the demonstration did not reveal themselves as members of the police force, and that those arrested and others present were manhandled by these people. This contention is supported by statements of sixty witnesses, and by films and photographs of the demonstration. One such film is at present being screened in Wellington, but it has been cut in places.

International Union of Students

The IUS Council Meeting has opened in Prague. Ex VUC student John Ziman, who is representing NZUSA, writes: "Everyone has a good say and there are no blocs. There is a political tinge, of course, but the draft reports all touch on the student side of things and have not gone off into generalities. The only trouble is the multi-lingual polygot of people, but the whole atmosphere is one of co-operation and I am very enthusiastic about the whole show."


The World Youth Festival opened in Prague on July 25, when representatives of 56 nations marched in a colourful procession headed by the delegations of Democratic Spain, Greek, Indonesian and Colonial youth. Behind all the colourful display, there is a grim realisation of the struggle that has made such a celebration possible. After the Festival, volunteers' will go on to do reconstruction work at Lidice and in Yugoslavia.

WFDY is at present preparing a delegation to Spain to investigate the case of 20 young people between 35 and 20 who have been held in prison for many months without trial, nine of whom have been condemned to death. This is the issue on which VUCSA Exec recently sent a telegram protesting to General Franco.