Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 21, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Wednesday, July 21, 1971 TH? LETHSRIDCE HERALD 5 Colin Smith The new Raj in East Pakistan In the downstairs bar at the Intercontinental Hotel a table of West Pakistani officers in civilian dress raise their glasses and, breaking into English, solemnly drink to Home Sweet Home. At the other side of the room a din- ner jacketed pianist, a big, balding man with a little mous- tache, was playing I Should Care from a U.S. special ser- vices "hit kit" published in 1944. Bengali waiter: marched at light infantry pace from table to table, making a great shov of their anxiety to serve the masters of the new Raj. There can now be little doubt that the Pakistan government is determined to rule Ihe seces- sionist Eastern wing and its Bengali people in a thoroughly pukka colonial manner. Most of the Bengalis who held key positions in the ad- ministration before the army went into action against scces- sionism on 25 March have now been replaced by West Pakis- tanis. These include (he inspec- tor-general of police, informa- tion secretary, home secretary and education secretary. At the moment almost all the armed police arc West Pakis- tanis, mostly Pathans. New pol- ice are being trained, but as a visiting British Member of Parliament discovered recent- ly, these are Urdu-speaking Biharis whose loyalties lie firmly with the Western half the country. "These are all Bengali peo- ple who have volunteered to be said the army of- ficer giving a guided tour of; the new police barracks. (Most of tire Dacca police stations were destroyed by the army on 25 March.) "Hands up, the commanded the MP. Up went every hand. The idea of the Punjabis and Pathans trying to pick things up where the British left off when Pakistan became inde- pendent in 1947 is os sad as it is ludicrous. Some quite well- meaning West Pakistanis are already strangely reminiscent of those last colonial Britons of the mid-1950s, who used to try and blow back the winds of change with quotes of empire- worship from their houseboy. (You can still meet them in Rhodesia.) An officer in the Pakistani police, surrounded by frankly admiring businessmen from the Western wing, says that he thinks they've got the situation safely under control now. Any- way, most of the little blighters didn't want to secede, y'know. It was all those infiltrators the Indian kept sending in. "Saw an old woman on the road the other day. Stopped my jeep and asked her: 'What do you think of this Sheikh Mjibur Rahman Do you know what she (breathless pause.) "She said she thought he was a rotter." The anyone-fw-lennis Eng- lish, like the mothballed songs, is all rather elegiac, but no- body can deny that some sort of love affair does exist bje- tween the big, arrogant fighting men from the north-west of the sub-continent and the people who ruled over them for 200 years. The recent stinging criticism of the British government, press, and television includ- ing accusations that newsreel film of smashed homes was ac- tually taken at the time of the cyclone disaster all sounds a bit like a lover's tiff. After all, Ihe American press has, for the most pail, been just as critical, hut Pakistani papers do not print long articles about its de- vious self-interest or analytical pieces about the villainous and wilful innacuracies of its re- porters. (True, they did ask the New York Times man to leave Dacca last month, but he was the only correspondent present actually based in New Delhi and this probably had a lot to do with it. On a more personal level, the relatiionsliip between senior Pakistani officers and British reporters is probably best sum- med up by the brigadier who told a group of Fleet Street journalists over dinner in Ms mess: "Y'know, you chaps just haven't been playing cricket with us." There are constant state- ments of the kind that "you British knew how to handle the Bengalis" and of course it would be naive to think that the British Raj, even in its last years, was run without bay- onets. The West Bengalis who rioted in Calcutta in 1M2, when the British had just been chased out of Burma by the Japanese, were quite bloodily pui down. A former regular soldier in a Scottish regiment who was there at the time he has since become a tea planter and married a Bengali girl told me that there were certainly cases in his unit of men killing Bengalis without orders to fire. "How do you think we kept India with But there the comparisons must end. Britain never really relied on force alone. When tilings were working well it was always the last resort, locked firmly away in the canton- ments as military camps on lh'5 sub-continent are still call- ed and hidden behind the be- nign smile of the colonial of- fice. The task of ruling India would probably have been im- possible without the Indian civil service and Britain never seem- ed to have much difficulty in finding willing collaborators to man it, men who had taken the salt of the Raj and would work loyally against their own coun- trymen if necessary. The Pakistanis think they can do without these people. Their army's brutal, heavy- handed tactics are contrary to every known principle of coun- ter-insurgency warfare where the good will of the local popu- lace is one of the first require- ments. They do not seem to be making any real attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people. Instead, reprisals are commonplace. A single sniper's bullet can mean a burning vil- lage, and for an incident in Sylhet district a tea garden worker is draeged screaming through his estate at .the end of a rope tied to a jeep because it was felt that he might have known guerrillas were about. At best Ihe army can expect to find apathy among the locals when they try fo find out the movements of the "mis- creants" as the secessionist guerrillas are officially known. The atrocities, for there is no other word for them, continue and absolutely no attempt is made to restore the confidence of the people in the govern- ment. Even if it were possible to Open Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday 9 am. to 1 p.m. Thunday ond Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Salurdoy 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. College Shopping Mall 2025 Mayor Magrath Drive hold 70 million Bengalis at gun- point, the military docs not have the strength or the equip- ment in East Pakistan to do it. They do not Irave helicopters, which might com- pensate with mobility for what they lack in numbers, and even their motor transport is mostly a crazy hotch-potch of com- mandeered vehicles. (UNI- CEF's entire 400-vchicle fleet is missing.) They are facing bigger and belter organized bands of Mukti Bihan.' (Bengali freedom fighters) who have introduced the terror of mines to the countryside and learned that even a Punjabi soldier cannot withstand odds of ten to one. They are particularly well or- ganized on the eastern border with the Indian state of Tripura where a determined effort is being made to immobilize the Sylhet tea industry. From safe bases in India the Mukti Bihani come across the border at night to attack factories and mine roads. They might never reach Vietcong standards, but then they do not have to. A fairly modest in- crease in guerrilla activity might stretch the army to breaking point. They just do not have the men to be everywhere at once. As home leave be- comes a luxury I met a de- tachment i! military police who had already been in East Pakistan for two years and saw an indefinite stay ahead so morale becomes another factor to be considered. There is never any sensation of civil war here, but always the feeling of invasion and an army of occupation. Even in West Pakistan the army is re- moved from the people. The soldiers live in their canton- ments, little islands of good or- der and hygiene with about as much in ccinmon with the real Pakistan as Aldershot. All around thsm they see chaos, corruption and filth. In the end the civilians' sloppy behavior becomes too much to bear and they decide that, for the sake of Pakistan, they must take over. Usually, the first thing they do is clean the drains and order all food shops to use fly nets. Good, simple soldierly stuff. Their difficulties come later when they get involved with politics. Although most foreign obser- have seen evidence of the kind of ruthless behavior the Pakistan army is capable of, Europeans and Americans tend to feel closer links with the cricket playing colonels than the Bengalis, who some- times behave in an obsequious and cringing manner unless gathered in great numbers. In return, no amount of pro- tests by their government and threats to withdraw from the Commonwealth seems to daunt the senior members of West Pakistan's officer corps in their determination to be as British as possible. "Well, what shall we the pianist asks the homesick officers in the Inter- continental "Scots or (Written for The Herald and The Observer, London) Good news Calgr.-y Herald PIGURES published recently by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics show that Cana- dians comprise a majority of the full time staffs of Cana- dian universities. This should help to dissolve fears resulting from other, ear- lier 'estimates which purported to show that Canadian uni- versities were being dominated by instructors from other coun- tries, particularly the United States. DBS reported that only 15 per cent of Canadian university staff members were from the U.S. as of the start of the last academic year. This compared with a 61.5 percentage of Ca- nadian staff members. Another 10 per cent were British. France accounted for 2.B per cent, and India and Pakistan. 2.1 per cent. A staff mixture of such proportions can scarcely be regarded as alarming for institutions whose chief con- cern involves collecting and im- parting universal knowledge. These are factors that call for close examination, however. For example, Ihe largest pro- portion of U.S. instructors were in the humanities and social science families, 24 and 20 per cent respectively. These areas are extremely sensitive in de- veloping distinctly Canad i a n outlooks and fostering under- standing of Canadian ways and institutions. It seems logical to assume, also, that U.S1. teachers, parti- cularly in (hose faculties, are likely lo prefer U.S. textlxioks ns background to instruction. This could have a definite in- fluence in discouraging Cana- dian scholnrs from writing text- books nnd Canadian publishers from printing Canadian works submitted. FCC loans The Winnipeg Free Press recently published annual report of the Federal Farm Credit Corporation giving statistics to the end o! March 1971, is a good reflector of condi- tions in Canada's agricultural community. The report indicates that, as of that date, FCC had over billion outstanding on loans to some farmers, despite the fact that lending during the yeaj had de- clined by 29 per cent from the preceding year. Commenting on the reasons for the de- cline in new loans, Chairman George Owen remarks, "Probably the most signifi- cant feature is the reduced demand for credit to purchase land The de- cline in the purchase of land to enlarge farms reflects in part the unwillingness of many farmers to expand their business during a period of uncertainty in the ag- ricultural industry. It also results in part from the lack of satisfactory allernab've employment opportunities for low-income farmers and thus a reluctance to sell their farm units which, though yielding an in- adequate income, provide a measure of se- curity. These two factors and the relative- ly high rates of interest for long-term credit have resulted in a marked slowing down in the rale of adjustment in the structure of Canadian farms." Mr. Owen refers to "z significant in- crease in the amount of current ar- rears" over the past two years when farmers have been faced by severe mar- keting problems. "Marketing he notes, "are now operating with broad jur- isdiction and marketing quotas have been established for a number of commodities One effect of the latter development, he points out, is that "marketing quotas themselves are becoming salable between producers, frequently at very high prices. "Thus the earning capacity of a farm business in some types of production may become more dependent upon the owner- ship of a marketing quota than upon the productivity of the farm itself." He does not say that this is bad, but the inter- ference is there and would undoubtedly be endorsed by many farmers, especially on the Prairies. Again reflecting the plight of many farmers is Ihe fact that, of the mil- lion in new loans approved during the past year, million went to repay loans previously made by the corporation a point that is further illustrated by statis- tics on the total principal amount still out- standing. Despite Ihe decrease in new loans for 1970-71, total principal outstand- ing rose from in 1969-70 to at the end of March this year. The report makes no specific reference to the gap between decreasing farm in- come and increasing farm costs, but the statistics speak for themselves. It is a gap that must be closed if the farm commu- nitty, especially in the west, is to have any hope of economic recovery. Election trick may backfire The Ottawa Citizen pERHAPS we spoke too soon in congratu- lating Premier William Davis on moving st last to extend the vote to 18-year-olds in Ontario. Sure, they're going to be able to cast a ballot in the coming provincial election. But if they are university students, llic government is going to see that they don't get a chance to indulge in an exhibition of student power at the polls. By a sly amendment to the election law, the students will be allowed to vote only for a candidate in their "home" consti- tuencies, not Hie place where they spend the academic year. For many, that will mean making an uninformed choice, since they are unlikely to have the opportunity to follow the local campaign issues in Uie community where their parents reside. In another highly questionable amend- ment to the law, the Conservative govern- ment has reversed itself and ruled that deputy returning officers and polling clerks are to be chosen at the pleasure of the governing party. A previous amendment had left the choice of poll clerk to the lead- ing opposition party as a counter-balance to government domination of the polling operation. It's a small point, perhaps but It reeks Df oldfashioned pork-barrel politics. Premier Davis should take a lesson from (lie bitter experience of the Saskatchewan Liberals, who tried to ensure their re-elec- tion by redrawing the province's electoral boundaries in their own favor. It didn't wbrk in Saskatchewan, and such tricksterism could backfire on the Tories in Ontario. Fry., freeze or choke The Toronto Globe and Mail AS the humble layman prepares to journey through the remainder of this century, surely he should know whether to pack long woollen underwear or tropical shorts. All that the experts have done to assist liim is shower him with contradic- tory assessments of temperature change. Researchers for the U.S. National Ocean- ic and Atmospheric Administration warned the other day that man may be headed for extinction in a second ice age caused by his own pollution: contamination of the atmosphere by small dust-like particles is blocking the sun's warmth. Just as we were getting ready to scream for a place in the sun, we read the opinion of gene- ticist David Suzuki that concern about en- vironmental pollution is a passing fad. At this point, we were lured back to the progressive chill theory by Morley Thom- as, a regional climatologist with the fed- eral Transport Department, who said there has been a drop in average Canadian tem- peratures in the last decade. On the other hand (wouldn't you know he acknowl- edged that there is a scientific school of thought that a steady rise in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going to produce a warning of global tempera- tures. Perhaps all these factors will cancel each other out and we will be left willi normal temperatures in a polluted atmos- phere that chokes us to death. Maurice Strong, former head of Can- ada's foreign aid program, presented an ominous prospect as he assessed the wave of new pollution problems expected from developing countries, for whom environ- mental problems are not a major preoc- cupation. Mr. Strong, now an Undersecre- tary-General of the United Nations with responsibility lor environmental matters, added that not even the most elementary steps have been taken with regard to dumping poisons in the sea. If all this seems remote for Toronto citizens, removed some distance from both oceans and developing countries, a greater sense of immediacy can be derived from Dr. Max Fitch, a provincial health officer, who said recently that hospital staffs should be ready for an air pollution episode similar to the one held responsible for deatlis in London in 1952. There are, all in all, so many prepara- tions to be made that we don't plan to hold our breath. Wage consols Spokane Spokesman rjNE OF the more astonishing statements of the last few days has been that of George Meany, president of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Indus- trial Organizations, to the effect that the President should impose wage and price controls. In a curious accompanying disclaimer, Meany said he was "not advocating con- trols" but that if he were in the President's shoes "1 would impose controls at this time." His net position seems a trifle obscure, but out of the comments comes the clear idea that he thinks government controls would be a good thing. The Nixon administration has turned aside suggestions mostly from Demo- cratic spokesmen (hat economic controls be imposed. One of tha reasons implicit in the Nixon position is that he would not want to arouse the ire of labor by such an action. Now comes Mr. Labor himself, say- ing, in effect, to the President: "You should take steps to keep wages from increasing so rapidly." The other, and unspoken half of the idea is that prices, too, would come under re- striction. Mr. Nixon's business constituEncy probably wbuld not like that. The two are inseparable, for the chief element in prices is the wage rale. It is a strange thing to hear the man who is the No. 1 spokesman for labor in this counlry advocating ceilings on wage in- creases. Shocking news By Doug Walker came home from n coffee party one day with Ihe shocking news that one of the ladies in tlxs neighborhood doesn't read anything on the editorial pages except Ihcse fdlcrs. 1 I should Ire pleased Hint sho doesn't just bypass Ihe pnpcs entirely as In the back shop contends most people do. But what if The Herald management discovered that people weren't reading UK editorials and articles? I'd bo out of a job, that's what! So neighbor, if you want to keep rending Ihesc fillers you Kid belter storl. sampling Ihe scrimis pieces, loo.