Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 21, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuesday, March 21, 1972 THE 1ETHBR1DCE HERAID Eva Brcwslcr A gift today-corruption tomorrow pOUTTS Nigeria is much on my mind these days. As soon as somebody casually mentions oil in ii remote country, it spells trouble end it has been mentioned i" connec- tion with Nigeria too often late- ly. Tho pattern is always tho same: reporters move in, travel a continent in a levy days or weeks and believe, in all sincerity, to know a people it would take a life-time to un- derstand. "Revolution Is surely coming" or "Nigeria's Augean stable of corruption" is the out- cry that covers editorials in the press of the world. Pity and moral incY.gnalion through the developed nations and governments are poised to help, at a moment's notice, with anything from advice to military hardware. But lio'd it there for a moment and lake a closer lock at the people of that vast African country, my second home for many years, a people as happy and volatile as their sunny climrie, a cli- mate averag i n g temperatures between 90 and 120 degrees and knowing only -two ex- tremes, a wet and a dry sea- son. What we, in the West, call has existed in Afri- ca since the first men set foot on the 'dark bringing gifts as well meant as the words cf the Bible and Koran or as vicious as alcohol and guns to innocents. Gifts or as ths Nigerians call it, were the means by which tho white man 'earned' his right lo hunt, rule, and set up missions in Nigeria. Is it anymore sur- prising, therefore, that natives take a 'dash' from the white man for granted than it is in our society for a spoiled child to ask a well-to-do visitor: "Did you bring me a "Nigeria has changed since you left. The people have grown Is the argument I hear so often. Do your own children grow up in the span of a few short years? No? Why do you expect miracles then from a young nation whose people are often less than a genera- tion removed from cannibal- ism, where some people still oat monkeys and apes as a second best to human flesh now strictly forbidden? In those parts of Nigeria re- latively untouched by white civilization, tribal law with all its savage punishment for, what we would consider, minor offences, assured so high a standard of honesty, integrity c-rc for family and neigh- bor that we could hang our heads in shams comparing them with ours. Yet, where we have taken the African out of his environment, educated him in mission schools, British and American universities, we have imposed a thin veneer of West- ern civilization which is de- ceiving the foreign observer. It is characteristic that even the highest in the land often paid their first visit, on return from a university abroad, to the witch-doctor of their tribe. No amount of education has managed to eradicate their primitive fear of and be- lief in witchcraft. Take tho case of Bode Thomas, minister of communications in the 1950s, for instance. He was a neigh- bor of mine in Lagos, a well read, widely travelled and popular extrovert. He must have had an enemy though, for a Juju, an object of witch- craft, nothing more than a ball of feathers containing some dirt mixed with mustard, was thrown into the open ground- floor window of his large colo- nial house. This Juju implied, however, that Bode Thomas was doomed Lo die on a cer- tain dsy within two months. Everything possible done to save him. lie had bodv- guards, food taslers to prevent p o i s o n ing, regular medical check-ups and, to be on the safe side, tie visited witch doctor he hoped irrglit help. To no avail. Without a moment's illness, he died sud- denly on tho predestined day. A post m'jrtetu sh-wcd no rea- sons for his untimely death; his body and ell his organs were those of a healthy man ill his prime. "Corruption" is a word not easily understcod in the vast country of Nigeria. Where does it begin or end? Western- ers have as hard a time [o un- derstand African morality r.s some missionaries hcd to un- derstand their pagan congre- gation only a few years ago. When I lived in Voni, en the plateau of northern Nigeria, wo often saw tire pagans, naked except for a small table mat dangling from the back of a belt, scraping a precarious livi- ing from the barren soil amongst tha rocks. Tiere was much illness in their tribe duo to ignorance and malnutri- tion. They began to appreciate the hospital, built for ihem by a foreign mision, when Ihsy got for a whole family to move into it when one member was sick. Out of genuine gratitude flrey came to church regularly until the min- Have-not nations stay that way WASHINGTON We're go- ing lo hear a. lot of rcn m antic stuff this ye ar about helping Ihe world's disad- vantaged nations to "close the gap" with tlw affluent, indus- trialized countries. Nice idea, but il isn'l even going to begin to happen. It's a pretty well lold story, of course. Ihat the gap has grown wider rather than nar- rower in Uie Jast decade or more. From 1960 through 1970, what are usually called the "less de- veloped" countries did grow a little faster economically than the developed nations. But be- cause the poorer lands' popula- tion gvowlh was more rapid than in the rich countries, their per capita income advance- ment was less. So now is greater. This means that the two- thirds of the frse world's peo- ple who live in less developed nations have an average an- nual income of a year, as against the average yearly earned by those in de- veloped lands. By Drncc lliossat, NKA Service According lo g o v c r nmcnt sources, poverty in the riisacJ- vantaged areas translates into: perhaps as many as 10 per cent of the children dying be- fore ege four, some 25 psr cent of the population undernourish- ed (many to the point of se- rious physical 25 to 40 per cent urban unemploy- ment, and barely a third of the high school age population in school. The experts on wo rid trad e believe the less developed countries are surely to grow economic-ally in the dec- arhs just ahead. But their in- come base is so low that even a fairly fast increase not fit all foreseeable not improve things all that much. For instance, if a country with a S200 a year average per capita income boosts its gross national product by 10 per cent annually for a decade, then in 1931 its per capit n income would be Tliis assumes a population gain of 2.5 per cent for the period. Thst is siill not very impres- sive, set beside the rich na- tions. Furthermore, most u ndevel- opcd countries are unlikely to expand their economies that fast. A five per cent yearly ad' vance is more plausible at which rate they would not at- tain the average annual per capita income level until almost the year 2000. The less developed peoples have some knotty problems. In the last 20 years their share of world exports has dropped from 33 per cent to 39, mostly because of the sharp decline in prices of UK raw materials which have been their nomic mainstay. Also, these countries have not shared significantly in the grow Ih of trade in man u f ac- tured goods, There are a few exceptions, including South Ko- rea and Taiwan, where textile, shoe and radio-television manu- facture has lifted basic growth above average for the less de velop ed nation s and thrust average export growth to 18 per cent yearly. Our Building Industry Consulting Service helps architects, engineers and developers to control the communications explosion. The communications explosion occurs when a building can no longer keep pace with its tenants' growth. When new or expanding communications systems outstrip a building's ability to accommodate the necessary wiring and equipment needs. Thai's when problems begin. Serious problems, for everyone concerned. You can prevent them now, before your next building gets underway. Just by planning ahead. And our people will help you, Plan now for the complex communications facilities which make a modern building an efficient place lo work or live. If these plans are made before the blueprints are finished, no one will have to make expensive alterations later. Or add unsighlly wiring. Or worse, be forced to do without badly- needed communications systems. The symptoms of the communications explosion. For help in planning ahead, call AGT's Building Industry Consulting Service. They'll help you plan ahead so that a communications explosion doesn't catch you off guard. And their time and services are free, Call collect: in Edmonton 425-4901; in Calgary 261-3311. BUILDING INDUSTRY CONSULTING SERVICE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT TELEPHONES Lster of Lhe con grega ti on de- cided it tima the pagan women, at least, were made to wear clotlies to church. The mission supplied hales of red cotton and instructed Ihe pa- gans to make garments. Tire following Sunday all women had bright little red skirls on but still wore their breasls b a r e. "Please cover your breasts next implored the minister. They olxxlient ly in that (hey draped their little skirls loosely over Iheir .shoulders hut, this time, lower parts were as naked as Uiey had always been. The Mohampdan Hausa i n the north could, if he desired a new wife, declare three times, bowing to the Kzsl; "1 divorce thes" and was then free In keep the number of permitted spoiises dou'n to four, thus get- ting rid of the rcsponsibiiily of supporting of his previous number as he would have had to do under tribal law else- where. Those Nigerians educated in Catholic mission sciiocls often told me, if caught stealing or lying: "IVo worry, Ma'm, I go confess, Gcd, he forgive a'l." Butj just as they interpreted Mie Bible or Koran lo mean (hey would always be forgiven and cculd so gn out and nn again, they weic equally will- ing lo make allowances for each other. They don't accept our standards of corruption be- cause tftey are themselves a generous people. Why shouldn't they take flour and butter from the wealthy master's store and share in his prosperity? After all, as soon as a boy is pro- moled lo the enviable position of cook or steward he is the "prince" of his family and re- sponsible for, not only, his par- ents and other old relative-1; hut also for the education and ad- vancement of all his younger brothers and sisters down to distant young cousins. The larger the income, the higher the position a Nigerian attains, the larger family he supports and for eveiy gold bracelet an officer's wife may show in pub- lic, there will be a number of relatives, young and old, nol so visible under her roof. You will probably not re- member the case of Azikiwe, head of the Eastern Rsgicn of Nigeria who, just before Inde- pendence, had a Family Bank which went bankrupt to the detriment of very many small people who lost their small savings. There was a well doc- umented court case, reported on all over the world, with the famous British lawyer. Dinglo Foot, flown to Nigeria special- ly to act as defence counsel. Azikiwe was acquitted, re- elected as premier of Eastern Region and later made the first governor general of indepen- dent Nigeria. The bore him no grudge for act'bns most of them would have consider- ed regular under the circum- stances. I saw many a tearful young British bride who bad married a Nigerian prince she met at university in England. On ar- rival w her new homeland, she found (bat the palace of her dreams was often nothing more than a mud hut or that she shared her husband's affection with two or three African wives who had enabled her "prince'1 to attend university in the first place. Yet, he had probably not purposely misled h i s British bride. He is a prince in his household by tribal recognition. In Nigeria wives were a man's wealth for they repaid wifh hard work and industry a hun- d redfolcl, Ihe bride price the grcsm used to pay to her par- ents and often these wives were the breadwinners cf tho family. Therefore, if a Ni- gerian policem an helps i n his wife's business today, the im- plication might, well be that women are striving for more freedom and get help from their husbands to do so rather lhan (he interpretation wo would put on our police offi- cers running their own busi- ness. What I am trying to say is is a term of morality we have Iried to in- troduce to an innocent people, just as surely as we have in- troduced false material values, the means to achieve them and the guns and other hardware to keep them. The Biafran war has proved what outside inter- ference can do to fan tlio flames of hatred and that may be smouldering un- der the surface in any young, primitive people of so diverse a character as that of the Ni- ger ian 1 rLbes and regions. In Biafra too, oil was OUR of tho prime motivations for armed conflict and who supplied those arms for that vicious genocide? If we, the civilized nations of the world, cannot keep from meddling in African affairs, bo it from genuine concern, self- interest or po li t ics, G encra 1 Gowan, with ail his honesty and incorruptibility, will fight losing battle. The alcohol scourge The New York Times DISMAYING accounting of Ibe high cost of excessive drinking has been sent to Congress by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol addiction warps some nine million iives, costs about billion annually, causes di- rectly or indirectly almost half of r.ll ar- rests in this country, and accounts for about motor vehicle deaths each year. Alcohol abusers shorten their li'o span by 10 lo 12 years and cause in- calculable grief lo their unfortunate fam- ilies. Almost 40 years ago the nation decided that Prohibition was not the answer to this ghastly problem because it, simply did not work in the face of the profits to bootleggers End the earn with which in- numerable individuals coukl and did mcke bathtub gin. Today, when similar ques- tions are being faced with similar lack of success in, the field of drugs, no influen- tial voice seriously urges reinstatement of Prohibition; but Hie problem remains. What can be done lo help the five per cent or so of American adults whose addic- tion to liquor is as potentially lethal, if not generally as dangerous to others, as the corresponding weakness of the heroin addicts? Alcoholics are lo be found in bolh sexes, in every major religious and racial group, and at all levels of Ihe socio-economic ladder. What they share in common are psychiatric problems which they seek to ease or dull in the euphoria of alcohol. Ideally, every heavy drinker should he sub- jected to intensive psychiatric therapy. Unfortunately even psychiatric treatment is not always successful, nnd in any case the nation has allocated neither the funds nor the personnel nor the facilities that would be required for such a massive ther- apeutic effort. Beginnings are being made in establish- ment of treatment centres for alcoholics and in research into the causes and cures of this disease. But much more is needed. An effort is also required lo remove the veneer of respectability and social approv- al from even moderate alcoholism. Drug education programs need lo include warn- ings about the perils of liquor. There is a large, profitable and flourish- ing industry built on liquor in the United States, aixl there is no reason why its re- sources should not be tapped for additional funds necessary (o treat problem al- coholics, lo do research on prevention and cure, and lo educate the public that al- cohol abuse is in a class with many other forms of drug abuse. Competition for stockmen The Oil Bank Pioneer Press 'TODAY'S livestock prices are the high- est in 20 years, which must he a ler- rible thing if we listen to the moaning from politicians who represent the big cities and the East. But the fact is that stockmen today are getting about the same as they did 20 years ago for their cattle, and paying al- most twice as much for everything they nesd to produce the cattle. Wages too have gone up, up and up some more in the cities and elsewhere, which is perhaps a good thing, but stockmen too should make proportionate gains. Which leads to the present drive also from the cities and back East to allow more beef imports from other lands "to hold beef prices down in the United States." This can be a very serious threat and should be watched with caution. The beef industry, Publisher Forrest Bassford of the Western Livestock Journal said recently, "is pinned in a competitive situation and we'd better not forget it. "Tills giant and growing U.S. market for meat, particularly beef, is like a sponge sucking imports and to synthet- ics. "Mexico is, in a sense, an extra United States heef breeding pasture. This past year we took around thin cattle from that friendly land for our ranges and the Denver publisher continued. "Canada can expand breeding herds to supply more feeders. And can turn more of its grain production to cattle finishing, with more of the end product coming our way. "New Zealand, n land the size of Colora- do, carries 60 million sheep and is rapidly expanding in cattle. Cattle numbers ItMy are now well past eight million. Much too many for local consumption, so our sponge soaks up hundreds of tons of New Zealand exports. "Australia has barely scratched Its sur- face in beef production. This land 'down under' is a great friend of America and a great buyer of our products. Naturally tho Aussies look for, and get, a major share of the quota we set on meat imports, and the quota goes up each Bassford said. "Australia has professed no intent to grain feed cattle. Don't let. them kid you. They're doing it. They will do more, much more. They will compete here with our grainfed product and come into competi- tion with us in the markets for this type of beef, markets which we have been open- ing in Japan and other lands." The publisher of the Livestock Journal also warned of growing competi- tion from textured vegetable non-meat pro- tein products. "These can't he laughed he said. "They will be cheaper. Tile door is open- ing to them in the school food service field, cultivated by high powered promotion of the manufacturers, who will also pound on the doors of institutional kitchens and of the less affluent people. "Our battle to maintain the market we've built for meat will be a difficult ha concluded, "and even tougher to further ex- pand." Which is straight from the shoulder. It is important that stockmen and others in the West be increasingly aware of these dangers, and to the threat of government meddling. JIM FISHBOURNE Disturbing revelations have been several stories re- cently from London, Canberra and even staid old Ottawa based on newly re- leased documents from the Second World War. The tenor of these stories makes it quite clear why they have been hushed up for as long as possible, presumably the 25 years provided for in the Official Secrets Act. Some of these stories, depicting soldiers, politicians and others in roles distinctly less heroic than those reported a quarter- century ago, are more than a little dis- turbing. Not that it matters if cerlain prominent characters were something less or more than was claimed for them at the time, but if a government could arrange lo make heroes of cowards, wise men of fools, victories of defeats, at a time when Ihe world's fate was in the balance, as we were told, why should it scruple to make the images it pleases at other times? Also disturbing, to one who spent a good deal of lime in an Empire uniform, is Ihe lone in which some of our erstwhile allies dwell on these uncomfortable revelations, the loving care they lavish on the describ- ing and elaborating of eacli alleged error or indiscretion. Those of you who were mixed up in the events, or who have read closely the literature that bears on war- time recall the unease of our American friends at Churchill's assertive- ness in the political and often the mili- tary sphere, and how Iruly maddening they found the very existence of Empire particularly British generals and ad- mirals. (Remember when Montgomery was put in charge of cleaning up the Battle of the Bulge It isn't really surprising, then, that accounts of Imperial short- comings are popping up in so many II.S, periodicals, and that the comments of mili- tary and political authors are becoming less and less restrained. One can't really blame them, J suppose. U bothers me a bit, though, as a pro- Empire type who served with enough Com- monwealth troops to have picked lip a pretty fair opinion of their fighting ability, and who has always a bit o! a soft fipot for Churchill. So forgive me, you an- glophohes, if I point out that it doesn't take much soldierly or even political prowess to say how much better you could nave done the job, some twenty-five years later. An analogy miglit be some Canadian or other Empire smart-alec explaining how things might have been better managed in Indochina, a few years ago. Congregational over sigh t By Dong Walker rrHE clerk of at JJcKillop United Church, Harold Skolrood. takes his re- sponsibility of oversight of Ihe congrega- tion very seriously. One Sunday, after the conclusion of the sendee, ho rebuked me for having yawned during the singing of the final hvmn. If Harold had been expending himself in the singing of the hymn, like I was, in- Etcid of gazing around at the congrega- tion, he might have yawned himself. At least he wouldn't have caught me in such an embarrassingly unguarded moment.