Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 26, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, Oclobor 26, 1971 Carl Rowan Canadian demonstrations Peaceful, impressive anil moving demonstrations in Canadian cities by those protesting treatment, of Jews in the Soviet Union have made their point. In sharp contrast to their be- havior is the frightening incident in New York, attributed to the radical Jewish Defence League, when a Rus- sian family mercifully escaped a sharpshooter's bullet while they slept in their headquarters at the Soviet Mission to the UN. Other incidents have occurred in New York involv- ing 15-year-old children, who have admitted that they are members of the JDL. These 'kind of incidents, have as usual, done a great deal more harm than good to the Jewish cause, as this kind of irresponsible violence always does. The Canadian demonstrations, most of which Premier Kosygin did not see. but must have been very much aware of, could result in further re- laxalion of Russian emigration laws, but no one is counting on it. Recent reports indicate that a So- viet Jewish cybernetics expert who was invited !i> Israel, has been ex- pelled from Hie Communist party and deprived of his university post. (Would be emigrants from Ihe U.S.S.K. are required to produce evi- dence of an "invitation" before they apply for permission to No one really knows how many Soviet Jews would leave Russia if they could, but estimates run as high as "a million. Mr. Kosygin said, at his press conference in Ottawa, that Russia does not propose to spend a lot of money educating young people for the benefit of Israel. Nor does he want to send prospective soldiers there. (The Egyptians for instance, would not look on the mass exodus of Russian Jews of military age lo Is- rael with a kind Still, Canadians, whether of Jew- ish, or any other minority who have protested about treatment of minor- ities in the Soviet Union with the exception of the unfortunate mili- tant responsible for the deplorable incident in Toronto have behaved with restraint and common sense. can only hope that. Mr. Kosygin will take note of what he was un- able to see with his own eyes, and act with compassion in allowing I'ur- Iher emigration by those longing lo whom? Imprisoned head of East Pakis- tan's Awami League, Sheikh Mujibur has been found guilty of crimes against the slate and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military tribu- nal. That's what "authoritative sources" say. These sources are in reality a Pakistani diplomat who de- fected and told Indian diplomats that the information had been circulated to all Pakistani embassies abroad. As far as anyone knows the death sentence has'not been carried out because both the U.S. and the Soviet Union have urged clemency and be- cause President Yahya Khan wants to demonstrate lo the world that he means what he says when he claims that he will exlend amnesty lo all "those who have wavered from the chosen path." The chosen path is the path of Yahya Khan who now says he will convene a National Assembly on Dec. 27 and will cede power to a new cen- tral government soon afterwards. The world knows that the Assembly should have been convened last spring, bill because East Pakistani members of the Awami League un- der Sheikh Mujibur. outnumbered President Khan's West Pakistan par- ty, the meeting was called off. Near- ly all the legitimately elected mem- bers from East Pakistan, by far the most populous half of the dismem- bered country have fled to India along with millions of their country- men and terrible bloodshed, starva- tion and disease has been the result. They aren't likely to come back in spite of Mr. Khan's promise of a proposed new constitution. No win- dow dressing on his part, no prom- ises, nothing but the reinstatement of the duly elected members will sat- isfy them and even then the ter- ror is so profound that it would take enormous persuasion to force those eight and a half million refugees lo return to their devastated homes. Against all the principles of pri- vate organizations engaged in assist- ing disaster victims, a field worker for Oxfam in a burst, of angered frustration has criticized world lead- ers and called for sanctions against West Pakistan. The organization says that condi- tions have not improved since last June when appeals were broadcast and the spine-chilling pictures of un- believable suffering were shown to millions of TV watchers. They are worse now than they were then. Oxfam is working in the midst of the disease and the death. It has earned the right lo speak out and lo be heard. And Ihe message is that the massive suffering is beyond the scope of private agencies to deal with effectively. All they can do is to help a pitiful few. A solution on an international po- litical level is the only effective way of dealing with a disaster of such mag- nitude. Now that the UN is finished with the China question, surely Pak- istan must come up for and aclion. In Ihe meantime millions of East Pakistanis lie dying like mongrels in the miserable mud of their disease-ridden camps. Help-Halloween is around the corner By Eva Brewster Halloween is around the cor- ner and a question I have had buried in my subconscious for the past year, is rearing its ugly head: Do we depart, in good time, for Timbiictn (Mali province, Central Africa, in case you don't know) or paint our house blue to protect, it from the "Evil Eye" as the Arabs have done, more or less successfully, for centuries? Last year, the Eve of All Saints' Day started innocently enough. Having clear- ed the table early to be ready for the ghouls and goblins calling for their treat or trick, we arranged nearly a hundred little heaps of goodies and then waited, with pleasurable anticipation, for the first callers to earn their treats. When the little souls came trooping into the hoase, singly or in groups, leaving a decorative trail of mud all over tiles and carpets, I asked them what they were going to do to earn their treats: sing, re- cite a poem, do a handstand or a conjur- ing trick? They looked at me with wide, horrified eyes as though T was a visitor from another planet. I retreated, thorough- ly ashamed at my suggetion that those poor children should work for their treats, and watched their grubby little hands shovel sweets into sacks, often bigger than their owners. This was clone so silently that I wished desperately somebody would say something anything. However, when a little boy no ir.ore lhan five or six years old did open his mouth, I regretted it. "Sure you did not put grass in your He asked. "Grass? Wiry should I bake them with I enquired, thinking of UK lawns in the garden and wondering why Uio child thought of it when the cookies did not even have green icing. "Not lhat kind of grass, .stupid. Pot, you know, Mari Marilm Me could not pronounce it. "My Mum says 1 must not accept unwrapped sweets because there may be drugs in My heart sank with the pity of such fear in one so young. Trying to make light of this incident, I asked the children to let me have their bags to put apples into them. This time a small girl, blond cm-Is escaping from under a foci's jingling cap, piped up: "I must not give my bag to Granny says, "some people put razor blades into ap- ples." The little ones departed to make room for older ghosts, clowns, pirates and Red Indians. They talked cheerfully enough and the treats vanislied rapidly. Most of the children asked for two or three help- ings of sweets because "my brother and sister have the measles and can'l come out." Many of the brothers and sisters, recognizable under their masks, appeared later. We did not mind that little decep- tion, regarding it as a valid "trick" and added everything we could scrape up to satisfy the growing demand. Eventually the last stragglers left and, taking stock, we decided Halloween could have been a lot worse. At least, we thought it could have been worse till we discov- ered the next morning the dents in our cars caused by rocks which if they were not meteors mast have been thrown by some malevolent ghosts. One car had lost all its valves and was sitting on deflated tires and the other, when driven off, gave one last, shuddering gasp and followed suit. Rows of neatly ham- mered-in nails made the tires write-offs. It was a costly Halloween in more than one sense. Costly to us in hard earned cash much worse, costly to small chil- dren in the loss of trust and spontaneous joy which is their birthright. On second thought, I won't go to Tim- buctu. Hopefully, the little souls have learnt to trust us; there will not Iw n measles epidemic and the unhappy- rock- throwing lirMloflating ghosts may have found peace and Rood nil! towards men. Columnist defends self against charges WASHINGTON A liitle venom drips from the edges of the mailbiig these days. A letter to Uie Cincinnati Enquirer accuses me of writ- ing "seditious garbage" and "a tirade against the U.S. govern- ment, and against law and or- der." The vehement critics go on to charge that this commentator supports violence on cam- puses supports hippydom and black militants and ac- cuses our courts of being gen- erally unfair. He justified the smuefihiig of arms to convicted prisoners and justifies cer- tain forms of lawlessness and crime." Many such letters I quickly flush into the Potomac because they contain charges that are completely without foundation. For example, I defy any read- er lo produce a column in which 1 have "justified the smuggling of arms to convicted prisoners." Yet. I cannot throw all the critical letters into the trash can, for many come from peo- ple who seem honest and de- cent but deeply disturbed and confused, both as to what our society ought to be and what my role as a columnist should be. These people de- serve to be heard and answer- ed. I am bothered, for example, by the suspicion raised in many letters that, whereas I used to be a nice guy, I have lately become a practitioner of "ra- There! That takes care of that. cism in reverse." A Palatine, III., reader charges that "if a man is black, you automatic- ally defend him. It makes no matter whether he justifies de- fence, or is a murderer, you defend him because he is black." Nonsense! I was demanding stem punishment for Week per- petrators of violence when white judges were slapping their wrists on grounds that "They are just like children and not responsible" or be- cause "all he did was cut up another nigger." It is true, though, that in rny column I have insisted on giv- ing blacks and all others the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. It is an unas- sailable fact that, except in rare jurisdictions like the Dis- trict cl Columbia, the entire system of justice is close to lily-white. The judges, the pro- secutors, the grand juries, the bailiffs well, everyone but the courthouse spitoon cleaner, is white. In situation, a black man or woman who faces death or life imprisonment de- serves a voice of protection. I make no apology for trying to make my column that voice, crying that these underdogs must have every protection af- fored by the Bill of Rights and the 13th and 14lh Amendments. Take the case of Angela Dans. Too many readers and long ago declared her 'guilty of a mon- strous crime even though she has been convicted of nothing. Readers seem angry that I have not written columns con- demning her, and they write to ask if T am silent because she is black. I am silent because it Would be "un-American" to leap to a presumption of guilt and help make even more meaningless a trial in our courts. The vituperative letter writers ignore the fact that I also have refused to leap out, before the trial, with allegations that Miss Davis is totally innocent and simply the victim of racist op- pression. Me a reverse racist? The temptation is irresistible to pa- rade the cliche that some of my best friends are white and my worst enemies black. When I harpoon the Nixon ad- ministration, it is because it pursues policies that I fervent- ly believe are inimical, even lioslile, lo the interests of this nation's disinherited her black, brown, poor, young. If that seems it can only be because there is such a paucity of blacks with any voice in formulating those poli- cies that I deplore. Even if Mr. Nixon's fop le- gal adviser were Little Black Sambo rather than John N. Mitchell, I would still find his preferences for the Supreme Court pjcdiocre, inclined to- ward racism and" oppression, an affront to millions of intelli- gent Americans and a discredit to the presidency. Apparently it was my writ- ings about the Attica prison tra- gedy that provoked most of this baseless nonsense about my "defending murderers" and being against law and order. One critic, who says he has "long been an ardent admirer of now assails me with this argument: "No one in his right mind doubts tlrat Altica was, is, a rotten hole. Let no one doubt that it held rotten men, mostly congenital killers, savage psy- copaths, generally hopeless of redemption. These savages weren't converted by their lives in jails and prisons and in New York alleys, their native habi- tat, where they robbed and slew, into savages by the bru- talizing systems of our jails and prisons. They are (were, if they're dead) abysmally cruel men out of a very bad genetic egg. They asked for precisely what they got: the death of the sword." Must a columnist accept, this cruelly sanctimonious view of those who inhabit our prisons and jails in order to be ad- mired, or to remain immune to charges of If so, Uie ranks of my admirers will dwindle to nothing, and I shall be proud of it. T continue (a say that this nation cannot abandon compas- sion, a concern for Ms down- and-out people, a belief in hu- man redemption, a fervent re- gard for the Bill of Eights. For in doing so it would be left only with the tragic fruits of vindictiveness, selfishness, ha- tred and oppression. If saying that is sedition, then let the record slow that my heart as well as my typewriter is pregnant with guilt. (Field Enterprises, Inc.) A dark side of the green revolution in the offing Graham Chedd, in New Scientist, London of the new crop varie- ties which have swept the world and given it new hope of feeding itself are in imminent danger of becoming stranded on a genetic razor's edge. They represent the present pinnacle of the plant breeder's art but their very excellence has meant that they are getting very lonely and increasingly precarious up there at the top. For their widespread cultiva- tion is cutting wide swTathes through the rich diversity of plant varieties from which the new crops have themselves been painstakingly constructed. And should the definition of what makes a plant excellent change most dramatically as the result of the emergence of a disease able to devastate the existing varieties plant breeders will be left devoid of the genetic resources needed to build still newer excellence. The consequences to a world only recently given succor by the "green revolution" itself are unimaginable. One of the plant breeders who has recently called atten- tion to the situation is William Steam of the British Museum. Stearn has pointed out that the present devastation of coffee plants in Brazil is the result not only of poor wealther con- ditions but also of their extremely narrow genetic base and consequent vulnerability lo leaf rusl disease One aspect of the origin of crop varieties us incontrovert- ible: the enormous diversity that is presently threatened by man's activity was created ori- ginally by his intervention some years ago, when he first began to till the soil. Until agriculture developed, the "wild" plants which were destined to become crops led a fairly settled existence. Their immediate environment re- mained undisturbed through season after season, the ecol- ogical relationships between plant species were nicely bal- anced ami new varieties aris- ing from natural hybridization and cross breeding, couldn't get a foothold in the cosy, tight- ly-knit communities. But Own nlong came man with his hoe and wooden plough, and tho ecological stability was wreck- ed. A whole range of new hab- itats was created, ranging from the fully cultivated lo the wild. Perhaps one of the greatest champions of the need to con- serve plant gene resources is Erna Bennett, of the Food and Agriculture Organization She tells of an area just to the west of the Ana- tolian plateau in Turkey where this sort of process can still be seen going on today. Between fields of cultivated wheat and the wild grasses from which it originally evolved stand thick "hedges" of hybrid plants. The great majority o! these are sterile, but it would need only a very small per- centage to produce viable seed for new varieties to emerge. The effect of early agriculture, with its creation of countless different habitats, led to a tre- mendous evolutionary explo- sion. For much of the history o! agriculture, the pattern re- mained unchanged and diver- sity continued to increase. But with the introduclion of mod- ern plant breeding methods during this century, based upon the young science of genetics, the picture began to change. Picking carefully from among the immense genetic resources at their disposal, breeders were able to create exceptional plants which were rapidly ta- ken up by farmers all over Ihe world. Faced with the cossetted cultivation of these new va- rieties by modern agricultural techniques, the original "primi- tive" races from which they wore derived began their re- treat. In the past decade or so, this retreat has been turned into a rout. As the tentacles of civili- zation push further and fur- Iher into "backward" parts of the world, the primitive crop varieties arc being wiped out by the thousand. Indeed, the best correlation that Erna Ben- nett has found with the dis- appearance of variability is the appearance of tarmac. Just five years ago, local ce- real varieties could be collect- ed easily and in quantity throughout Asin Minor. Today, picking the odd native plant from among otherwise uniform stands of high-yielding imports is becoming an increasing- ly difficult task. In Iran, Ihe species Triticum spella, which once existed there in thousands of varieties, has disappeared completely in the Insl 15 years. Even in isolated valleys in tho high plateau of the Koh-i-Baba in Afghanistan imported wheats have appeared and native races are becoming rarer. The same thii.g is true of Ethiopia, a country formerly very rich in wheat varieties, while in Turkey, too, thousands of local wheats have become extinct. At its best, the reduction of the tapestry of variability to a few thick strands means that these arc the strands the crop varieties that we are stuck with; further improve- ment will be impossible without the genetic resources to breed from. But what if one of these varieties the Mexican wheat, for instance, which is the basis of the green Letters To The Editor fall prey lo a newly evolved dis- ease organism? It has happen- ed before that a narrowly based crop variety has succumbed to disease. The coffee in Brazil is one example; the potato blight which led to the great Irish fa- mine another. If Mexican wheat went down before a new dis- ease, the result would be a glo- bal catastrophe. Often the mod- ern crop varieties are resistant to existing disease organisms because of the protective effect of a single gene. Sooner or later, this gene will be outfox- ed by the disease organism. It is of vital importance, there- fore, that as much of the va- riability that still exists is res- cued before it is loo late, so Student clarifies problem I am writing concerning the letter published in the October ]8th issue of The Herald. The title was, Leadership, action needed, and was written by the worried parents of Bow Island. I would just like to ease the minds of these worried parents by telling them the real facts about the situation presently in Bow Island. Firstly, the drug problem was over-exaggerated in saying that there were rumors that 80 per cent of the kids are on drugs. This fact is in reality only approximately 15 per cent have even tried drugs. The teen dances are far from being a station for drug peddlers, for as a fact there is little drugs brought in, and I should know because I am a teenager. These parents are worried about the police force not clamping down on the pushers bul what really can they do if they don't have any evidence? If these parents know who is peddling, then speak now or forever hold their peace. There are many other things Astonishing! It is interesting lo note that no politician has ever been ac- cused of insulting the intelli- gence of Lcthbridge voters. "JUST CURIOUS." Lcthbridge. mentioned in the letter that we the teenagers disagree with, but they are too numerous to mention. I only wish that the worried parents would have been fair enough to sign their names. KEVIN KNIBBS, GRADE 12 STUDENT. Bow Island. that it might be used to breed even more resistant varieties. What is being done to con- serve the meager and diminish- ing genetic resources that re- main? Erna Bennett has a sim- ple answer to lliis question: not nearly enough. In the past, most collecting of crop varie- ties has been done by plant breeders working on a specific problem who have run out of variability Although many lens of thousands of crop races have been collected in this" way, the method has serious shortcom- ings. The most dramatic of these is that, having searched through his newly collected va- rieties, the plant breeder tends simply to discard the "duds." And what might be a dud as far as the breeder's present needs are concerned, could turn out to contain just the charac- ter that he or some other work- er requires on a subsequent oc- casion. "The world is beleaguered as far as its genetic resources are argues Emu Ben- nett, "and we have already waited until we can see the whites of their eyes." Increas- ing numbers of plant breeders, particularly the younger ones are becoming aware that the time has come to shoot. All they need is the ammunition. Looking backward Through The Herald The skating rink ft Coalhursl has been all remod- elled in preparation for the coming hockey season. I9'll Two-hundred men are employed in relief road work. The work is being carried out in the Fcrnie district, and has been progressing favorably. It is reported that op- erations at the Magrath Wool- len Mill are very salisfaclory and that business is good. City workmen are now busy working on the howl- ing green which will be part of Ihe Civic Sports Centre. liifil The playgoers put on their production of "Blithe Spirit" at the Capital Thcalre. The leading roles were played by Kayc Watson, Bill Mathe- son, and Fred Pritchard. The Lethbttdge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lcthbridgc, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publisne Published 1905-1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Vail Registration No. 0012 Member of Tho Canadian Press ana ino Cnnoainn Dally Newspaper Publishers' Association find tho Audit Bureau o( circulations CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor nntl Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Mnnaaor JOE DALLA WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY r- MILES DOUGLAS K WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Pago uJltor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"