Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 5. March 30, 1950
Young Generation Determined for Peace
Young Generation Determined for Peace
"The World Federation of Democratic Youth's 2nd World Youth Congress in Budapest was a demonstration second only to the Paris Peace Congress of the desire of ordinary people for peace. There were 637 delegates and 97 observers from 72 countries, and every speaker emphasised the importance to the young of a lasting peace and their active work to achieve it."
Thus a special report to "Salient" from Bon Smith, VUC graduate, and leader of the New Zealand delegation to the Congress.
"We met in the lofty chamber of the Hungarian Parliament. It was a week of hard work—the beautiful national costumes of the previous week's Festival were put into cold storage—and we struggled to listen to alt the speeches, get copies of all material issued, attend all meetings, meet delegations (eg. Indonesian and Russian) in which we were especially interested, and write reports home.
"As speaker after speaker mounted the rostrum, from David Busby of the Canadian Student Christian Movement to Mihailov of the Soviet Komsomols, one felt the power and confidence of youth to prevent war and to open the paths of a peaceful and abundant future to the young people of all the world.
"Words cannot describe the enthusiasm with which the delegates supported WFDY policy, and greeted outstanding figures in the fight for its achievement. The youth of China, struggling for literacy, health and higher living standards, were led by Hsiao Hua, youthful General in the Liberation Armies. The Chinese were the friendliest and liveliest group you could wish to meet, There was young Anna Mangou in British battleddress captured from the Greek fascists.
"From Britain, straight from six weeks in prison, came Alan Leicester. He served sentence for protesting at the U.S. Embassy in London at the statement of Congressman Cannon:
"'In the next war, as in the last, let us equip soldiers from other nations, and let them send their boys into the holacaust instead of sending our own boys. . . .'
"The American delegation. 38 strong, was led by a negro automobile factory worker.
"Then there were the Russian Komsomols—Ivan Kozhebub, wartime hero; Alexander Shashkov, young, tough steelcaster from Kuznetz, leader in industry; and Sergei Nongoljan, Doctor of Mathematics and Professor at the Erevan University at 21!
"I shared a hostel with the Canadian delegation, with young men and girls from Ceylon, Iran and Irak.
"The Congress was not limited to Budapest Its most significant leature, as of the festival before it, was the fuller mobilisation of youth organisations all over the world behind the fight for peace. Committees worked for months, fired by the spirit of the Partisans for Peace Congress. From Norway to the Argentine, from Tunisia to Viet Nam, and even far away New Zealand.
"There is room here to quote only one example. In Australia, headed by the Eureka Youth League, students and young workers united in one committee, Christians, Jews, Atheists—meetings, petitions, rallies. Two hundred thousands people sent 112 delegates from all comers of the country to Canberra, where they protested to the Government at the decline in living standards, at the White Australia policy which is used to divide Australians from their brothers in Asia, and at the policy of exterminating the Aboriginals.
"They elso protested to the Dutch and French legations at protracted wars against the people of South East Asia, and against the British High Commissioner at the military terror In Malaya.
"Result? A firmer unity of young folk around the programme of, WFDY and enthusiasm for the Congress and Festival. This was the pattern all over the globe."