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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 1. 28 February 1972

[Letter from Michael O'Neill to Salient. Vol 35 no. 1. 28 February 1972]


From time to time we all must feel pangs of uncertainty whether our protests In this God Forsaken part of the Universe are worth It. Both on racist sports and Vietnam issues protestors are Justified In claiming part victory, but often full victory seems to be beyond our generation's present capacity. A letter written on September 21st, 1971 justifies, I feel, the need to protest in solidarity with those, who won't win heroes medals but are heroes to the cause. The letter was from the Concerned Officers Movement, of U.S.A. end I would like to quote a few details of interest. "Several Com chapters are making efforts to attract enlisted men (I am one) end there are quite a few active G.l's in my Chapter. The military services are still trying to break up Com, but we are still growing. The Air Force of which I am a member has recently enunciated new policies aimed at "honourably" separating officers and airmen who participate in Com. My commander has personally councelled me. The honorable discharge they offer is a ruse. Future employers will know the reason for the discharge. To get out one must concede his behaviour is improper. Who is charging whom with bad conduct? In any case I wish to finish the few years I have left in the military and help make Com grow. Com is starting to work closely with Vietnam veterans against the War. Together we should have an appreciable impact on the American public. We enjoy hearing of your work".

So you see, in time, what is the more important or era all equally important? Having thousands out in the streets, or having veterans and enlisted men working from within? Should one go Awol or stay and fight from within? Should one become A Co. or join up and fight from within like Australian's are attempting. I believe Christchurch Mobe had the right idea, with its various subcommittees dealing with their own sector. After all, I feel if we can get one Catholic Bishop to condemn our participation in the war, or if we can get the clergy to speak from the pulpit, than I feel we might be having a better impact on public reaction than say N.Z.U.S.A. resolutions which everyone knows will be ignored by the apathetic majority of 36,000 students or the Fol resolutions which at least in Chch are treated as rubbish by certain unions' hierarchy.

Just to close - I am an admirer of Robert Muldoon for not whet he says, but that he Isn't afraid to say it and apologize if he makes an error. Society needs such men so that the apathetic throng can be shaken. It is not Imperialism or communism, that endangers N.Z. it is materialistic requirements and apathy.

Michael O.Neill

C/- P.O.Box 407, Christchurch.