In your excellent interview of Olafur Grimsson there was an incorrect reference to Douglas Roche as the founding president of Parliamentarians for World Order, now called Parliamentarians for Global Action. The group has existed for many years. Doug Roche probably was the most active president, aided by an able staff person Nick Dunlop of New Zealand.
Ross Smyth, Montréal
I was pleased to read the article by Tana Dineen and Lori McElroy taking sexism to task. As a woman who is childfree by choice, though, I questioned their use of that quote from Erik Erikson to the effect that, through fathering, men may develop pacific traits possessed by women and may then use technology for the development rather than the destruction of "mankind." This assumes that parenthood makes one more interested in peace. One doesn't need to be a biological parent to want to avoid nuclear holocaust and the possible destruction of the species.
Ruth Latta, Ottawa, Ont.
I enjoyed Sheila Sullivan's article, War Toys -- at least until I read the suggested toys I activities list. Vouchers for outings to zoos are not a non-violent gift. To enjoy viewing caged animals teaches children to view other living beings as things. Zoo realities include: shooting mothers in the wild to obtain their infants; selling surplus animals to hunting farms for "sportsmen" to shoot; animals gone insane in their confinement (note pacing, self-mutilation behaviors); young animals dying from being overhandled in petting zoos; all animals having had their freedom removed. etc. Don't draw the line of compassion short of other living beings. Children, later in life, easily extend their view of non-human animals to "lower classes," visible minorities, etc. because they have learned that it is okay to exploit some beings "lower" than ourselves.
Carolyn Vetter, Lac-Masson, Québec
P.S. Animals are extensively used in weapons testing (staked out to take the blast at nuke test sites, irradiated in labs, eyes burnt out by lasers, nerve gassed, crashed in pilot-escape cockpits, shot to provide "war casualties" for army doctors) without anesthetics.
I want to ask for your urgent intervention and solidarity action in the matter of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli peace activist, who was abducted to Israel on Sept. 30, unlawfully imprisoned there in a secret jail, tortured, isolated from the rest of the world, and now is facing a secret trial on charges trumped up against him by the government of Israel. One charge -- of "high treason" -- carries the death penalty.
What was Mr. Vanunu's "crime?" An employee of the six-storey underground thermonuclear bomb factory in Israel's Negev Desert, he saw it as his duty to reveal to the whole world the nature of that genocidal enterprise, and that during the past 25 years it had produced over 200 thermonuclear bombs, all of which are deployed as warheads on missiles or in storage. So after leaving Israel for Australia early last year, he eventually made contact with the London Sunday Times, to publicize the evidence he had of the genocidal enterprise in Dimona, Israel. Mordechai Vanunu was no spy and never tried to be! Being a peace activist myself (1 left my native country following (and because of) the June 1967 war I know that this precious man, Mordechai Vanunu, needs and deserves the active support of all peace-loving people all over the world.
Benjamin Merkav, Melbourne, Australia
P.S. I have written to two dozen newspapers in Australia, U.K. and USA but to my knowledge none was published, except for one letter published in a distorted way. The press in Israel, which is all Zionist, has been very hostile to Mr. Vanunu, even though he is a loving son of humanity. He has been portrayed as a traitor, spy, reckless and unstable. And now they are trying to murder him officially. So please help!
My attention has been drawn to an article, "The Day NORAD Was Born" by Peter Dale Scott in the Dec.1986/Jan.1987 edition of your magazine.
My recollection of the "incident" with John Diefenbaker is very dim and lacks the drama and adrenaline of Scott's detailed version. Moreover, I doubt if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could have pulled an end run of the elegant simplicity described by Scott. After all, Diefenbaker was no fool in matters of proper procedures, and was never a rubber stamper so far as I know. And I cannot imagine myself as "ashen faced" -- not really my tint, even under strain.
In any event, what mainly concerns me now is the clear implication in the Scott piece that I was opposed to NORAD. This was and remains not true. On the contrary, I was and am still a supporter of the agreement.
John A. McCordick, former Ambassador
I appreciate that it is difficult to edit two hours of conversation into a three-page article ('Views on Eastern Dissidents", PEACE, Feb/Mar. 1987). It is inevitable that some important points will be left out.
For the record I would like to restate one of my comments that was not included -- namely that I support the right of non-official peace groups to work in the Eastern bloc and that l do not oppose the idea that peace groups in the West would do support work for them. I only disagree with the idea that this issue is central to the work of the peace movement in Canada or that it needs to be addressed as one of its major demands.
Of more concern tome is your editorial note before the second on "Nonalignment." "Nonalignment" in this sense is a term that those who have a particular view of peace movement strategies have chosen to use to identify themselves. It's one view among many, not one view among two as your introduction suggests.
It is unfair for those who hold this view to say that all who do not, are therefore "aligned," just as it would be equally unreasonable to suggest that those who do not participate in nonviolent direct action tactics are therefore for violent action. The implicit editorial policy of PEACE Magazine is to support "non-alignment." Fair enough. But your framing of the issue either reflects this bias or is a rather careless opening to the discussion. Misidentifying the question in the opening comments does little to help us "work our way through" this debate, as you have suggested we should.
Bob Penner, Toronto
I have read your issue VII with great interest. While there are serious errors in the articles on "Eastern Dissidents" and on "Eurocommunism," I limit myself today to questioning the term "independent" for dissident peace movements in the East"; it implies that the mass peace movements affiliated with the World Peace Council are somehow "dependent." The World Peace Council has always appealed to all governments in support of peace. Not only Communist governments, but many others have reacted positively: e.g. India, Mexico, Finland, Tanzania, Panama. Closer to home, the Toronto Disarmament Network enjoys support from Toronto City Council; do you consider the TDN not independent because of this?
I want to deal with your errors concerning the Helsinki Agreement.
Nowhere in the Helsinki agreement is there a word on the right to dissent or the right to emigrate. In my opinion their denial in the East violates human rights. It does not violate the Helsinki Agreement, which is silent on these. However, the Agreement does oblige all its signers to give it maximum publicity. Canada reneges on this obligation. Have you ever tried to buy a copy of the Helsinki Agreement?
Hans Blumenfeld, Toronto
As we go to press, we hear of a new concession by the Soviets to accept, in effect, what the U.S. has been demanding -- an agreement on the intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe without any conditions limiting Star Wars. We invite a discussion by our readers on this issue. What is likely to be the effect of this new situation upon the peace movement's agenda? Will this concession make it easier or harder to stop Star Wars? Two of the articles in this issue argue that the elimination of nuclear weapons is unlikely to take place without a simultaneous solution to the division of Europe and a reduction in conventional weapons and troops from both sides. Does the Soviet offer disprove this view? We will pick up these themes in the next issue.