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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 19, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta By TOM TIEDE SUEZ CITY, Egypt (NEA) At the time of its completion in 1869, the Times of London wrote of the Suez Canal: "It is Greenwich Fair, Barthlemey Fair and a Donneybrook a J'Arabe that is, without wo- men." One hundred and four years later this most strategic waterway has lost its circus at- mosphere but remains, alas, a womens Arab donneybreok. Occasionally, an Egyptian jet will shriek over the water to meet a real or imagined chal- lenge from Israel. Bang, boom the still air echoes with can- non fire and sonic blasts. And when the smoke clears, and everyone sticks their heads out again, there is shouting and congratulations as the govern- ment hurries to pass out an- nouncements of another "stun- ning Egyptian victory." BALONEY Baloney, of course. There haven't been any stunning vic- tories on either side of the Suez since it became the Middle East's front line after the six days of combat in 1967. Israeli combatants have made some terrible strikes this side of the water. Arab propagandists have countered with blustery verbal offenses. But victories? Says one observer: "There have been only losers in the canal's closing." It was Pharoah Sesostris who first tried to link the Mediter- ranean and the Red Sea, years before Christ. Number- less potentates, using slave lab- orers, carried on with the task to one degree of failure or an- other. Then, in the middle of last century, French diplomat Fer- dinand de Lesssps won an ul- timate approval to construct 103 miles of man-made river. The work took 10 years. Twenty-three thousand men a month were used. Seventy-five- million cubic meters of earth were dug (15 million by so that, as one dreamer of the time said: "Mutual co-opera- tion here will bs a symbol of peace in this part of the world." SAD Sadly, the symbolism has never materialized. Suez own- ers of one nationality or anoth- er have used the water for poli- tics since its inception. Egypt has never allowed Israeli ships to pass. Now, for the past six years, the canal, blocked by a dozen Egyptian-sunk hulks, and lined on both sides with the bitterest of antagonists, is perhaps the most agonizing symbol of war existing in today's world. The water itself has remain- ed almost precisely what it was after the Six Day War. Fifteen ships, including two American freighters, are still idle at an- chor, trapped for 68 months. Two Swedish ships have been given up as insurance losses, but all the boats are continual- ly manned. Rotating crews who complain about the job keep maintenance if not faith. says one former crew- man, "it's boring as hell." The crews visit one another, set up trees on Christmas. "But most- ly, by damn, all you do is wait, just wait." UNCHANGTD So too does the land wait, on this side anyway, virtually un- changed in a half dozen years. Suez City, bombed to rubble in 1968, is a ghost town of window- less buildings, caved-in walls and dead trees. Once people lived here, thriving on the canal trade. The city's pres- ent governor, Badawil Kholy, claims 500 of the residents were killed by Israeli attacks and more were injured. As for the rest: "They didn't want to go. They wanted to stay and fight. But we decided for their own sake they must move to safer areas." In all, according to Egyptian nearly three-quarters of a milion people were moved back from the length of the Suez. Most of them lost every- thing they owned. Says one, living now with relatives north of Cairo: "I was a merchant in Suez City. Now I have nothing. What do I do? I ask for tips from the tourists at the pyra- mids. How long will I do this? Who cares? I am homeless but no one cares. Do you hear any- one crying about the Suez refu- MINIMUM There is, to be sure, only a minimum of world sobbing over anything connected with the it all are lost to most, and the canal itself, say some, has for- feited its worth. Many of the world's sophisticated ships mammoth tankers up to tons have simply grown too big for the Suez. In the last year of its operation the canal could accommodate ships up to tons. Thus, says a Beirut- based oil executive: "It's now cheaper to use the old world shipping route around Afri- ca's Cape of Good Hope. Rath- er than send four small ships through the canal, we can send one giant ship around the Cape. It's as simple as that." Egypt, understandably, dis- agrees with this analysis. Gov- ernment spokesmen explain that Gamal Abdel Nasser, be- fore his death in 1970, bad begun plans for a canal expan- sion. Supposedly, engineers are still ready with blueprints for widening and deepening. Op- timists say the Suez could be widened from 200 to 300 yards and dredged anoth- er 20 feet. Pessimists argue that the plan is too expensive for what it's worth, and advocate building a whole nsw waterway. DEBATE But, for the moment, all of this debate is fiddle-faddle. Just to open the canal to its pre- vious operation would take eight months minimum and at least million in speculation. And not even this can be done until Egyptians and Israelis agree that it should be done. Small chance for that right now. Israel vows not to retreat "one foot" from the Suez until binding peace agreements are signed by the antagonists. ested in opening the canal as a prerequisite for peace because, as an official puts it: "If the canal opens there will be no more interest at all in the Mid- dle Bust situation. Once Europe can get to its oil again, it will forget that Israel still holds thousands of square miles of Egyptian territory." STALEMATE So the stalemate Suez these days. The politics of Egypt, for its part, is not Big rooms. Comfortable rooms, and more of them than practically any other hotel in Calgary. With the best dining in town on the first floor. And the best entertainment right alongside it. The Calgary Tower is next door with theatres, shops and more great restaurants. You don't even have to go outdoors to get to them all. People who have been staying with us for years keep coming back. Why? Not only because of the convenience and excellence of the services. More perhaps because they like the feeling, the atmosphere of the place.. because this is where traditional Calgary Hospitality began, i for the khakied minir function- aries: "The soldiers shout back and forth across the canal, for something to do. But the Is- raelis are sometimes unfair. Sometimes they broadcast prop- aganda using a sexy woman's voice. That is bad for us. I'll tell you the way to peace let us send some Egyptian womtn over to the Israeli soldiers, and let them send some women to THE Downtown at 9th Avenue and 1st Street S-W. CPMotafeQ In Leihbridge phone ZE 0-7337 for continues One Egyptian, recently re- us. afterwards, we would never lieved from Suez duty, says it fight again. .Tls-ridoy, Aprfl 19, 1973 THI LETHBRIDGE HERALD 31 Canadian observer has faith in South Vietnam By HAROLD MORRISON CP Foreign Editor PLEIKU, South Vietnam (CP) Unlike many other Canadian officers who feel the Communist advance is inevi- table, Col. Keith MacGregor is convinced the South Viet- namese can hold their ground. This prediction is astonish- ing to a visitor after listening to gloomy forecasts of Cana- dian experts in other regions but MacGregor recalls that he was risht when he fAW a writer in Syria years ago that King Hussein would not be toppled from his throne. MacGregor, of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light In- fantry at Calgary, is a tough, resilient performer who worked endless hours to or- ganize and deploy the Canadi- ans over the vast highlands region. Pleiku is the centre of the highlands, the home of the Montagnards who, MacGregor said, are on the side of the South Vietnamese. It also is the headquarters of the four- country International Com- mission of Control and Super- vision There is a story about the Montagnards that may reflect on the character of the peo- ple. Canadians repeat it wher- ever you go. When a Montag- nard chief wants to put on a special treat for his guests, he brings in a monkey, teases it to stimulate the blood and then slices off the top of the skull so the guests can dip into the monkey's brain. HAS NO ILLUSIONS MacGregor said that story is true though he has never been asked to participate in this culinary experience. He gets along well with the re- gional Montagnards chief, as well as with the Poles and Hungarians at the ICCS head- quarters and, even more as- tonishingly, with the Viet Cong commandant at the ICCS teamsites in Viet Cong territory. But MacGregor, housed in this armed camp which he points out to back tro his pre- diction, holds no illusions of what the ICCS can accom- plish. He knows that when an investigation goes against the Viet Cong, the Poles and Hun- garians will not sign an ICCS report. "If we get he said, re- ferring to the Canadians on the ICCS, "then we may be removing a safety valve. "We can be accused of wrecking the ICCS." But as in other regions, the Viet Cong's so-called sional Revolutionary Govern- ment has failed to send repre- sentatives to the new two- party Joint Military Commis- sion MacGregor's second-in-com- mand, Cmdr. -T'' .ic -f Ottawa and Calgary, argued that the presence has tended to reduce the size of clashes. NOT IMPARTIAL In another region, Col. Lay- ton Baumgart of Saltcoats, Sask., took an opposite view. He said be doesn't believe the presence of the Canadians has any psychological impact on the fighting. "Our reservations in com- ing here are he said during a visit to his head- quarters in Danang on the South China Sea coastline. "I am not over-optimistic about' the effectiveness of the ICCS. If the Poles and Hungarians were impartial, the situation would be different. But they are not." SOUTHERN ALBERTA BUSINESS SAMPLER TtoMggest selection of motor home deals ever IKS'IH Onr lag Spring RaHy of motor homes is on! And we're ready to deal on brand new Winaebagos in every size and price range. See tins famous Winnebago motor home line. Completdy self-contained. From the galley, bath and books to the entire spacious interior constnjctwD. Loaded with, standard equipment we want yon to ask about. And ask how Winnebago backs then- products through more than.300 full service dealers coast to coast. YonH see why it's true; Winnebago gives you The Spring Rally ends soon, so don't mist R! Come in today for a took and a lesl drive! Experience motor homing at its best! We give you more. ELDORADO SALES 2910 First Ave., South LETHBRIDGE ;