In a letter headed "MP Challenges Rhodesian Bishop" (March 21), Patrick Wall falls back on the old dishonourable trick of rhetoric called suppressio yen and suggestio falsi. In the vernacular that means, hide the truth and insinuate the false.
If Patrick Wall had been in Rhodesia in July 1974, as I was, would he have told your readers that the Smith regime moved thousands of people 50 to a 100 miles "from their fields," and dumped them in a quite unprepared area, no shelter, no housing, no sanitation, no food? There these unfortunate people were left to build their own huts with no material provided and none available except the
few bits and pieces which some of them managed to dismantle from their homesteads, which they were being forced to abandon.
There they had to sleep in the open for several nights, and it freezes hard on a July night in Rhodesia (Lct me add, for it is greatly to their credit, that many white Rhodesians mounted a relief programme to help these unfortunate people, but meanwhile they suffered weeks of terrible hardship).
Would he have told your readers about the atrocities perpetrated on quite innocent persons, brutal beatings, torture, drops from low flying helicopters, etc.? The facts are all available from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops' Conference. Lardiner Burke saw no reason to hold an investigation.
Why does Patrick Wall seek to hide the fact that the Land Tenure Act in Rhodesia forbids any African to occupy a European area. If one who lives in a European area keeps an African overnight he is breaking the law.
Bishop Lamont's point about Cardinal Rugambwa is simple truth. The fact that some people ignore this evil law is quite beside the point.
If the Auxiliary Bishop of Salisbury, who is an African, lives in the Archbishop's house, this is quite an exceptional occurrence. but it is against the law as it stands. It is merely possible by the connivance of Dupont, the Archbishop, and the regime. And, of course, it is a useful propaganda ploy, as used by Mt Wall in this case, It always amused us in Rhodesia, when British MPs (and others) or American Senators (and others) turned up periodically, and after a few hours consultation with some of the spokesmen of the Rhodesia Front, proceeded to pontificate on Rhodesian affairs. We often wondered what was the purpose of these visits, who paid for them, and what good they could possibly do.
Of course, they are feted by the regime and the media give full scope to their misinformed opinions. It amazed me how eagerly the supporters of Smith listened to Just what they wanted to hear. The truth of the message seemed to be quite irrelevant, and the standing of the speaker was never questioned. In fact, anybody from the outside world could go into that closed and embattled society, embark on a "lecture tour" and be feted. All he needed for his text was, "Good old Smithy!"
It surprises me that any, man who respects law and order, as Patrick Wall affects to do, should try to bolster tap and whitewash an illegal regime. These Rhodesia Front politicians broke their oath to the British Crown, and broke their word to the Rhodesian people when they declared
That is a simple fact of history, endorsed by the British Government, the United Nations, and a very considerable minority of the (white) Rhodesian people. They have caused, and continue to cause great anguish and grave anxiety for the many ordinary decent hardworking citizens, who refuse to condone their political chicanery. They do not deserve the support of honourable men.
(Rev.) E. D. O'Connor, 0.Carm. While Abbey, Kildare.