Sr,—In your leading article on India (June 6), you seem to have
laid yourself open to the charge of camouflaging expediency with hypocrisy.
You say: No matter how ignorant. no matter how illiterate the millions the vociferous but accredited leaders claim to represent, against their demand for freedom we have no answer but to hand over power. That is probably perfectly true but the tone of the leader is to suggest that though the motives of the Government may be anything from expediency to sheer funk, they are in fact carrying out a policy which would be the only one possible to a high-principled government.
In India we have been in much the same position as the driver of a car with a learner-driver beside him. The normal way of handing over the controls would be by stages: first the learner sees the thing done; then he gradually takes over, practising in byways to start with and graduating by more important thoroughfares till he can handle the car in the heaviest traffic with competence. Until the learner is perfectly adequate in all conditions, the intelligent instructor remains at his side. Then, and then only, the instructor may (and in our case, must) quit.
The case of India, though, is not quite so simple. There are several learner-drivers as it turns out and they are at varying stages of proficiency (we may even allow that some of them are capable of handling the car in all conditions). but they all want to drive at once and they agree neither in the method of driving nor in the ultimate destination.
In the circumstances there is a lot to be said for the instructor's getting out of the car at the earliest opportunity; if he is unable or un• willing to prevent the crash which will result when several learners are fighting over possession of the steering-wheel, he may as well save his own life and perhaps his reputation as an instructor by removing himself before the crash comes. Indeed, this may very well be the only practical course to pursue.
gm,—Last week a correspondent had a few remarks on our recent Exhibition and I beg leave to reply.
First, let me admit we did not ask a Catholic artist or architect for " free " advice nor did we approach the Church Artists' Agency. The labourer is worthy of his hire and as we could not pay for expert help we did the job ourselves. We had already mortgaged the Association to the extent of nearly £300, with very few funds to back it, and had to can a hail. Had we anticipated, what your correspondent now knows, that some 17,000 would visit us we would have speculated still further. The result of our want of " foresight " was, as he suggests, a certain lack of artistry in the display.
I would submit, however, that your correspondent's condemnation of our efforts contains an implied compliment. It was the tremendous success of the Exhibition which draws attention to its shortcomings. Had it been a " flop," I venture to suggest no such letter would have appeared in your columns.
Therefore, a description of the Exhibition as " very bad " is inaccurate. Inartistic. I agree but, as achieving its purpose, it was wholly succesful and good. Its effect on the overwhelming majority of visitors has been remarkable. Enquiries are coming in from all parts of the country for information and help. The very " dumping" referred to in the letter, in itself, drove home the lesson that our Catholic schools can produce unlimited examples of good work and not merely a few hand-picked samples of perfection. We have received many thanks for the help given by this our first exhibition to both teachers and parents.
Next time, perhaps, we will consider finesse; this time we were more concerned with encouraging teachers to go ahead, with pleasing the children and with getting the parents to see what we were trying to do for them. A " very bad" Exhibition ? No, I don't think so, Sir.
C. H. &MILL. Hon. Sec..
Metropolitan Catholic Teachers' Association.
ARABS AND JUSTICE STR,—I would be grateful if you would permit me to comment on the item (May 9) headed "Catholic Arabs Appeal to U.N.0." The appeal asks that justice be done to the Arabs who claim only what is " natural "—the cancellation of the Mandate and the proclamation of Palestine's independence.
I realise that political morality has sunk so low that the respect for sanctity of a promise is not what one might desire but it is extremely difficult to comprehend how any Christian organisation can regard as " natural " the simple "cancellation" of any obligation or promise let alone an international obligation which has received the signatures of 52 nations, most of them Christian.
The essence of a promise is that those to whom the promise has been made shall expect that what has been pledged will be fulfilled, and so act accordingly. The Jews having been promised that Palestine will be a Jewish National Home, did act accordingly under British aegis, and contributed their sweat. labour, industry to drain marshes, irrigate the land and bring back to life a country which was daily being lost to the desert. So much of the contract having been fulfilled by one side it would be most " unnatural " and inequitable for the other side to break it.
As for " Justice " to the Arabs who have since 1919 received seven independent states I would say in Dr. Weizmann's words, " By what tortuous logic can our morsel be taken away and added to their feast ? " In any case, one wonders why those voices which are now lifted in the name of what they call Justice were never heard when the Jew was being massacred and butchered in Europe and no country would admit them.
MAURICE A. JAFFE, H.C.F.
68, Gloucester Drive, London, N.4.