TAKING A LONG, COOL LOOK LEFT AND WEST
By ROSEMARY SHEED
APERIODICAL which I find very impressive at the moment is "The New Left Review", a bi-monthly put out by the New Left group, and edited by Stuart Hall.
It's great merit is the constant application of principle to our political auti cultural scene; even where one disagrees with what is said, one must respect it. Ind, eveti more important. one is forced to re-think one's own positions, (With so many of our ideas it is not even a question of rethinking; we have never thought aoout them at all.)
JEWS AND OTHERS
Tthings struck me especially in (he most recent (May-June) issue. There is an article. a propos the Eichmann trial, -Jews and Others" by Norm Fruchter which makes several interesting points.
Mrs Fruchter discusses the changes that have taken place among Jews themselves, showing how, outside Israel, they have lost much 01 their sense of national identity — largely. he submits, because there is less anti-Semitism than there was.
People began to see that "the chain that begins with polite antiSemitism ends in the concentration camps". But this is not the only reason; being Jewish became respectable after the war because the Jews had been the greatest sufferers under the Nazis; they represented the "humanity" we liked to think we had fought the war to sales.
'GUILTY AS HELL'
BUT, he suggests, no nation would ever have gone to war to save Jews, Negroes. Catholics, gypsies — or anyone else — as long as Hitler had stayed inside his own boundaries. And he goes on. "No group of nations can light a war like the Second, complete with unconditional surrender, saturation bombing, mass atomic incineration. assorted personal in
humanities . unless someone is guilty as hell after it's over , . Using the dead six million, whom no nation had cared enough to
save, as an excuse . . the victorious allies brought the Nazis to trial".
Nuremberg was our proof that we had fought the war to punish the Nazis' crimes against humanity.
Well, it makes you think. doesn't it?
Our attitude to the Nazis is tinged with the same brand of "them-and-us" as theirs was to the Jews. We like to say of the great, "They're just the same as us, really" — but there are some people, equally human, of whom we cannot bring ourselves to feel that way.
A 'COOL' LOOK
REVIEWING. in this same Review. Ruth Glass's book "Newcomers: The West Indians in London" (Allen and Unwin, 2ls.). Mervyn Jones makes this comment: "A country which can't digest an immigration amounting to half of one per cent of the population. made up of people who resemble the older inhabitants in citizenship, loyalties. language, religion. and all but the most superficial of social habits, and who are distinguished quite simply by the colour of their skin . . . needs to take a long cool look at itself". This book. he says, is the long cool look — informative about the West Indians, hut really searching about Britain.
"Cool" of course is the operative word. Was there ever a discussion about the Colour Bar in which someone did not ask heatedly. "Well. how would sem like your daughter. sister. etc. to marry a negro?" The person who asks this question feels he has now won the argument. If you do attempt to say that this would depend on the individual, just as it would with her white suitors, he is convinced that you are simply playing with words to prove your point.
There is no getting-through to these people. One' can only pray for them (to St. Jude?). But when they are Christians. 1 for one feel a sense of cold terror; the chain that begins with polite antiHamitism could surely end in the concentration camps too.
SUBSTITUTE FOR TRUTH
T AM always saddened to hear A of parents who teach their children simply about "Baby Jesus", leaving out not only Father and Holy Ghost, but the Man Jesus as well. The poor little things are getting rather a small fragment of reality that way. But I was really horrified to read lately of a child who is encouraged
to put money in the poor box "for Baby God's ice cream".
J. don't know whether most parents would agree, but it seems to me quite as wrong to tell a child what is false in this way as it is to lie to an adult, Clearly
one cannot teach the whole troth all in one 'lump; but surely what we teach our children should be something they can later expand, or add to — not something we have later to contradict?
Psychiatrists warn us of the dangers of giving our children wrong ideas about sex; I would have thought one could do even more damage by giving them wrong ideas about God. And even if it is not going to do great damage. is it not a bad thing. for one's own sake, to get into the habit of giaing children substitutes for truth'?