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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 14. 1967.

Letters to the editor

page 13

Letters to the editor

Autocrats not needed

Sirs,—In your issue dated September 22. your reporter quotes the Rev. Allan Brash as saying that dictatorial government is "inevitable and necessary' in the underdeveloped countries of Asia and envisaging with some amount of optimism "that it will be a centralised and authoritative government which will rule India."

While I can sympathise with the sense of agony and frustration which led Rev. Brash to this conclusion, I am inclined to doubt whether he weighed very carefully the consequences of the alternative he suggests for the admittedly sloppy methods of democratic reform.

Such methods have for long been under heavy fire from interested quarters, but one does not expect the voice of the Church to add to the confusion that already to some extent clouds our future citizens' appreciation of the important moral issues relating to means and ends.

Taking India as an example, we all deplore the perennial privations her people suffer, enhanced in recent years by unusual natural calamities. But the democratic character of the government in India has at the very least forced it to beg or borrow from abroad to keep people alive.

Under an authoritarian government in 1943 two million people were allowed to! die of starvation in less than four months, the government arguing all the time that no real distess existed. (Reminiscences of this event will be found in Ian Stephens' Monsoon Morning published last year.) No authoritarian government can be expected to own up to its deficiencies With all the News Media under its sole control it is inevitably led to the suppression of unsavoury truth.

Despite their privations. Indians today do not have insult added to injury in the form of cooked-up figures to establish that the privation is a myth. A reasonably free Press and public demonstrations keep governments on the alert. No Indian need drivel himself to neurosis for fear of a visit from the Secret Police at dead of night or of a denunciation in public from his erstwhile colleagues.

What Asian countries need, therefore, is not less of democracy, but more of it of a better kind. Like all democracies in the midst of crisis, they need political parties with sound programmes, imaginative leadership and dedicated fellowship. The mere suppression of democratic freedom and the advent of an autocrat will hardly improve matters.

D. C. Bhattacharyya

Senior Lecturer in Economics, Victoria

University of Wellington.

Some went too far

Sirs,—I realise that students must now be tired of Executive elections: this is the third set this year. But this does not explain some of the events that have occurred in the last few weeks.

Firstly, it is interesting to notice that the ballot forms still indicated that students were to vote in order of preference for candidates. I was under the impression that preferential voting was abolished in the new Constitution. Why has this practice continued?

Surely it is not the job oft candidates, however zealous and righteous they may be, to go around taking election notices down the night before elections begin. The returning officer is being paid 30 dollars to run the elections. Let him do his Job.

The whole tempo and spirit of electioneering has noticeably increased. This is commendable to an extent, but when campaigning extends to sending anonymous letters to candidates, the boundaries have been overstepped.

A letter was received by a candidate telling him "to go home to Aussie, that he was not wanted here, and that if he got on to Executive 'we would isolate him." I deplore such tactics, whether In a joking way or seriously. The letter suggests that there is a group on the Executive who will make things uncomfortable for those they do not like, if they are elected. I wonder about the calibre of some of its members or their friends. An anonymous letter, however funny, indicates a gutless individual.

Defacing of candidates photos and posters seems to have become a tradition. But again I think the limit has been reached this time. When burning a candidate's poster causes damage to a Student Association notlceboard, students have really gone too far. Perhaps they should have stopped to think what they were doing to other people's, and the Association's, property, before they began.

Certain students, especially some of the so-called student leaders, should be somewhat ashamed of their shabby, dishonest behaviour.

Rose Booth.

Students thanked

Sirs,—I would like to use your columns to thank those students who helped with and contributed to the United Nations Appeal for Arab refugees held during the second week of this term. Enclosed is a receipt from the United Nations Association of New Zealand for the amount raised, S15.36c. This will be sufficient to provide the food, shelter, clothing and education for one refugee for almost a year. About half of this will be spent on education.

People who are interested in making further contributions to alleviate what is both an urgent human need and a 'contributing factor to instability in the Middle East should get in touch with the United Nations Association. C.O.R.S.O., or the National Council of Churches.

David Holm.

Salient congratulated

Sirs,—Congratuations to Salient on the most excellent tournament and arts festival coverage I have ever seen.

R. P. Harland

Ban the shoddy, sordid and debasing says mother

Sirs,—Being the mother of sons and daughters, some of whom are probably older and others certainly younger than the writer of your editorial. "Censorship Should Go," I expect to be relegated to the— "dying forces of Victorian Puritanism."

Did you not know that that sort of thinking died with your grandparents? Obviously the writer has not read "Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It." by Mae West. No outcry because it is well written without a hint of crudity, yet very little left to the imagination in parts.

On one point I am in wholehearted agreement. Violence and corruption—of which the crude presentation of sex is a part—should be ruthlessly exterminated from our literature and films.

Anything shoddy, sordid, debasing, should be banished from our Tv screens, with odd accents and poor grammar allowed only on rare occasions to give cogency in the Shavian tradition.

Let's face it. You are what you think.

If your only knowledge of England was what you have seen in Coronation Street. Meet The Wife, and Steptoe And Son, would you eare to admit that you are English?

Continual presentation of poor quality situations, attitudes and values on screen has far greater impact than floods of written matter which would pass unnoticed but for outcry in the press.

Could it be an organised publicity gimmick to get certain books moving? It certainly appears so; the pity of it being that in the process honest citizens are swamped in the backwash of insult to their integrity.

Preoccupation with wordy. dissonance and the unconsidered suggested remedy of "organised opposition" is ineffective because it is destructive. Ask any medical student what flight and fight does to the metabolism.

Norine Standish.

Mrs Standish appears to believe some literature is "bad" for people and therefore should be banned.

The writer also assumes it is possible to distinguish between what is "good" literature and what is "bad."

As with other advocates of censorship Mrs Standish fails to offer any evidence which suggests children are in any way corrupted by "filthy books." What evidence there is suggests the juvenile delinquent and his friends don't read books.

My argument is that censorship has been a restriction on the liberty of the individual and is fundamentally evil. Before it can be justified, it must be proved that censorship will prevent a greater evil. Such circumstances I believe could occur during a national crisis.

I would submit that the proponents of censorship have no rational basis for their case.

It appears to be based solely on an intense personal dislike of some literature. And because these people find these books personally repugnant, others should be prevented from writing, publishing and reading them.