Home' Greymouth Star : July 15th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, July 15, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1099 - Three years after the First Crusade set
out, the Christian army storms Jerusalem and
puts Muslim inhabitants to the sword.
1685 - Duke of Monmouth is beheaded in
England for his part in rebellion. It takes the
inexperienced executioner eight blows of the
axe to sever his head.
1789 - France’s King Louis XVI is awakened
and told his authority has collapsed
with the fall of the Bastille.
1815 - Napoleon surrenders
to Captain Maitland of the
Bellerophon at Rochefort.
1869 - Margarine is patented in
France by Hippolyte Mege Mouries.
1916 - Boeing Co, originally
known as Pacific Aero Products, is founded in
Seattle, Washington, by William Boeing.
1918 - The Second Battle of the Marne
begins during World War One.
1953 - Infamous murderer John Christie is
1997 - Fashion designer Gianni Versace is
shot dead outside his Miami Beach mansion.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmes van Rijn),
Dutch artist (1606-1669); Iris Murdoch, Irish-
born writer (1919-1999); Linda Ronstadt,
US singer (1946-); Jesse Ventura,
US actor-wrestler turned politician
(1951-); Steve Mortimer, former
Australian rugby league player
(1956-); Willie Aames, US actor
(1960-); Forest Whitaker, US
actor-director (1961-); Diane
Kruger, German actress and former
fashion model (1976-).
“ It is astonishing what force, purity, and
wisdom it requires for a human being to
keep clear of falsehoods.” — Margaret Fuller,
American journalist and social critic
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood
and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we
are all members of one body. ”
— (Ephesians 4:25).
at Kaniere is
progressing well. This
is the name dubbed on
a works programme involving the conversion
of unsightly, sprawling ridges of stones left
when the Kanieri dredge ceased operations,
into a productive exotic forest. When the work
is completed Westland’s tree population will be
increased by 250,000 trees.
Levelling work which started in April has
been completed and about 130 acres of two-
year-old radiata pine trees have been planted.
About 100 acres are still to be planted. In
addition to the pine, the Forest Ser vice will
plant 20 acres of douglas fir trees.
Thinnings from the pine trees for use as posts
or poles are expected to be ready in 12 to 15
years’ time, sawn logs from thinnings in 20 to
25 years, and the final crop in about 35 years
with clearfelling of the area.
Over 120 rugby enthusiasts left by rail this
morning to see the touring Springboks side
play the Junior All Blacks at Christchurch
this afternoon. The Railways Department had
arranged a special railcar for the trip, but seat
demand was heavier than accommodation and
another unit was added.
Numerous followers also travelled by car this
morning to see the match.
First vehicle through the Haast road was
probably the most expensive — all £40,000
worth of it. It was a D9 caterpillar bulldozer
which made the historic crossing of the ‘gap’
which has been slowly reduced over the years
and which by November will give road access
between Otago and Westland.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
ynthia Dzimbati was
exhausted. Her three-
month-old baby strapped
to her back and panning
dish in hand, she had
spent the whole day
working the Mutare River for not one
single ounce of gold.
“This is now my life. I lost my job,” said
the 31-year old single mother, looking so
worn out she could easily have passed for
50. “I have three children to feed.”
Dzimbati poured a few drops of mercury
into a bowl of dirty water and stirred it
with her bare hands.
The gold in the river is growing more
scarce these days, she said, so the illegal
artisanal miners are relying on mercury,
a highly toxic substance supplied by the
smugglers who buy their product, to
trap the precious metal from the muddy
river waters in the eastern borders of
Public health and environmental experts
say the consequences are disastrous.
Mercury is contaminating drinking-water
for miles around and causing neurological
damage, especially to children.
But Dzimbati and the roughly half a
million illegal small-scale miners that
a mining council estimates operate
in Zimbabwe are desperate. Many
agricultural jobs disappeared under
President Robert Mugabe’s land reform
programme launched in 2000 and the job
market is shrinking.
Pushed to the brink, women and
children have joined the ranks of what
once was a male domain, Wellington
Takavarasha, president of the Zimbabwe
Artisanal and Small-Scale for Sustainable
Mining Council, told parliament in April.
There are about 153,000 women and
children now in the trade, he said.
But gold prices have declined worldwide
in recent years, and at the same time
extracting the precious metal from the
Mutare River has become harder.
The mercury that miners use slowly
attacks the nervous system. Ingested
in small quantities each day it will
accumulate in the body and eventually
produce symptoms such as hair loss,
memory impairment and loss of muscle
co-ordination, according to health
Children are particularly vulnerable
and foetal exposure can cause neuro-
Nadine Steckling, an international
public health expert who has researched
mercury use in Zimbabwe, estimates that
artisanal goldminers use 25 tonnes of
One of them is 13-year-old Trust
Mutasa. He started panning for gold
along the Imbeza River near Penhalonga
at the age of 10, two years after he was
orphaned. “I didn’t know it ’s toxic. Next
time I will be careful,” he said with a
Maxwell Teedzai, a Penhalonga resident,
said the number of women and children
in illegal goldmining has grown over the
past five years.
“There are no jobs and children are not
going to school. They are all coming here
to earn a living,” he said. “ Women too
have joined the bandwagon. The situation
is really bad.”
Mothers cannot afford childcare and
bring their small children to work,
unaware of the risks from mercury
Zimbabwe, which ranks in the world’s
top 10 countries using mercury in
gold mining, is a signatory to the 2013
Minamata Convention on Mercury
and is working towards ratification. The
international treaty is designed to protect
health and the environment from mercury
and mercury compounds, including
regulating artisanal and small-scale gold
A report by The Centre for Natural
Resources Governance (CNRG), a
Zimbabwe advocacy group, found that
contaminated waste from illegal mining
is polluting water supplies. It said nursing
mothers tested for poisoning in the
Kadoma area in central Zimbabwe had
25 times higher levels of mercury in their
breast milk than is considered safe by the
World Health Organisation.
CNRG Director Farai Maguwu urged
Zimbabwe to tighten its controls on
mercury imports and de-criminalise
small-scale goldmining to enable better
health and environmental controls.
Most important, said Steckling, was
to introduce a mercury-free method of
mining. A pilot project in Kadoma using
borax to separate the gold has proved
successful, she said.
Steady Kangata, spokesman for
Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management
Agency, said that while his agency
controls mercury through a licensing
process, once Zimbabwe ratifies the
Minamata Convention it will provide
a framework for national legislation to
control the influx and use of mercury in
“It will also prevent the possibility of
Zimbabwe being a dumping ground of
such hazardous substances,” he said.
The cost of gold
Goldminers pan for gold on the edge of the Mutare River.
Whatever the final literary judgment on
Harper Lee’s unexpected second novel
Go Set a Watchman, one epithet has been
“One-hit wonder” is no longer a phrase
that can be applied to the author of
To Kill a Mockingbird, the beloved
novel about racism and injustice in the
Lee, now 89, appeared to have joined
the literary club that includes Margaret
Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind and
Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights when
she stepped away from publishing and
public life shortly after the release of her
Pulitzer-Prize winning novel in 1960.
Lee has been quoted as saying she felt
she had nothing more to say, and that she
did not wish to go through the publicity
again that surrounded Mockingbird and
the subsequent Oscar-winning movie
But her reported comments have not
stopped speculation over her decades-long
The intrigue has been fuelled anew by the
arrival this week of Go Set a Watchman,
which has many of the same central
characters as Mockingbird, including a
now-adult Scout Finch, but is set some 20
years after the events in the famous novel.
Lee has said her editor for what would
become Mockingbird convinced her to
turn the book into a coming of age story
from Scout Finch’s perspective as a child,
and she agreed. Watchman was then set
aside and apparently forgotten.
Los Angeles psychotherapist Doctor
Rebecca Roy said success can be scary,
especially for writers.
“Once you have a big success it’s more
terrifying than if you have a lot of failures
and that ’s why you get one-hit wonders.
At the root of almost all writer or creative
blocks is the feeling ‘they will figure out
I don’t know what I am doing and I am
a fraud,’ said Roy, who treats people who
are struggling creatively.
“ Writers seem to be more particularly
affected because there is an isolation to
it, and having to search your own soul.
Or sometimes people give so much of
themselves for one work that they feel
they don’t have anything else inside to
give, or it was such a painful process for
them,” she said.
Donna Seaman, senior editor at the
American Library Association’s review
journal Booklist, said the literary world
has always been intrigued by great
novelists who appear to have developed
writer’s block, “but in Lee’s case it reached
a mythologised level.”
“Anyone who writes and loves books
knows it can’t be that simple. It really
churns up deeper levels of the very
endeavour of trying to write,” Seaman
Mockingbird is certainly a tough act to
follow, said Sara Nelson, editorial director
for books and Kindle at Amazon.com,
where Watchman has the most pre-orders
since the last in the Harry Potter book
series in 2007.
“There are plenty of authors who suffer
from some nervousness and anxiety about
how their second effort will be received,”
Mary McDonagh Murphy, director of
the PBS tv documentary Harper Lee:
American Masters, said it was wrong to
call the writer a recluse.
“She just stopped talking to the press.
There is a difference ... She was a writer
who didn’t want to talk about being
an author, which as the years went on
became very unusual,” Murphy said in a
Whatever the reasons for Lee’s long
public withdrawal, Seaman said the
publication of Watchman has rounded
out the public perception of the Alabama-
“S he was seen as a very simplified and
a tall-tale figure of American myth —
the one-hit wonder writer, the recluse.
But this has reminded us she is a human
being, a brilliant person, a person of
complex emotions and rich family legacy.”
Harper Lee exits the ‘one-hit wonder’ club
Links Archive July 14th 2015 July 16th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page