By ANDREW BOYLE There are many attractive features about the Colonial Exhibition in Oxford Street to please the modern eye and ear.
Cross the threshold, and you are plunged at once into the realistic atmosphere of the West African jungle. Concealed lighting throws up the shadows: a heightened temperature prickles the skin; and while the nose is assailed by the heavily scented blossoms of leathery creepers, the ear is filled with jungle noises from a hidden amplifier.
Concise and clear facts and figures beside the exhibits demonstrate how the material wants and aspirations of some 63 million Colonial people are cared for in Crown territories.
Clearly, the Central Office of Information has stone to considerable pains and expense in its effort to " stimulate interest in the colonies" by portraying to the British taxpayer what the colonies I are like.
Which is precisely schy 1, UN a British taxpayer, was staggered by
the insight the whole exhibition gave me into the earnest but frankly materialistic mentality of the Colonial Office.
Despite the fact. flashed out in electrically-lit letters on a map of the globe, that two-thirds of Britain's Colonial subjects are Africans—nowhere is it even suggested that not far short of half of these are Christians.
MERCHANTS AND . . .
And beyond lumping the missionaries with the explorers, and the merchants as the men who began the opening-up process, there seemed to me to he no trace of a hint that any development has taken place other than for the Glory of Progress. God is not mentioned once.
listened with particular interest to what the smooth recorded voice had to say about " The Problem of Education." Here tribute was freely paid to the pioneering methods and successes of the missionaries. But the tribute trailed off; and I was left with the disturbing impression that " the missionary stage " was now admitted to be drawing to a close.
When i asked Fr. Alfred Howell, White Fathers' Provincial. for his opinion of the Colonial Exhibition, he said:
"In one way I am astonished at the apparent official attitude behind it. Wewere not even told there teas to be cm Ethibition — far less askedout of courtesy whether we would co-operate.
"I'm afraid the accent throughout is materialistic. The work and ends of the missionaries—who in Africa alone have 18 million Christians to care for. 10 million of them Catholics—are left severely alone.
"Considering only the Catholic part in education — such neglect is unwarranted," said Fr. Howell.