Home' Greymouth Star : September 26th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, September 26, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1087 - King William II, son of William the
Conqueror, is crowned King of England.
1580 - Francis Drake arrives in Plymouth,
England, after sailing The Golden Hind
around the world in 33 months.
1820 - Death of Daniel Boone, US
1907 - New Zealand becomes self-
governing dominion within British
1918 - Allies launch offensive
that eventually breaks Germany’s
Hindenburg Line in World War
1928 - Act of League Assembly, embodying
Kellogg-Briand Pact, whereby war is outlawed
and disputes are to be settled peacefully, is
signed by 23 nations.
1934 - The British Cunard liner Queen Mary
is launched in Clydebank, Scotland.
1937 - US blues singer Bessie Smith dies
after a car crash.
1950 - United Nations forces recapture Seoul,
capital of South Korea.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Cuthbert Collingwood, English admiral
(1759-1810); Thomas) Stearns) Eliot, British
writer and Nobel laureate (1888-1965);
Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Montini)
(1897-1978); George Gershwin,
US songwriter (1898-1937); Ian
Chappell, Australian cricketer
(1943-); Bryan Ferry, British singer
(1945-); Lynn Anderson, US singer
(1947-2015); Olivia Newton-John,
Australian singer (1948-); Linda
Hamilton, US actress (1956-); James
Caviezel, American actor (1968-);
Serena Williams, US tennis player (1981-).
“As in the physical world, so in the spiritual
world, pain does not last forever. ”
— Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born
“ What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if
you say you have faith but do not have works?”
— ( James 2:14).
Methodism began in
the Greymouth area
just over 100 years
ago. On Sunday there
will be a re-enactment of the first ser vice ever
held in Greymouth by that pioneer Methodist
minister Rev G S Harper.
“The excitement and strain of his goldfields
experience proved too much for him. In
1878 he was laid aside from active work by
ner vous prostration from which he never really
recovered.” These words occurred in the New
Zealand Methodist Times of 1911 — the
epitaph to a man who had trudged a lonely
path in 1865 from Hokitika to Greymouth to
preach the first Methodist sermon in Mawhera
Quay; attracting his congregation with a
Wesleyan hymn and taking as his theme Luke
XIV, 22 “And yet there is room”.
From this early modest start, Methodism
centred on Greymouth has prospered and
flowered till it is now on the solid foundations
of what is at present St Paul’s.
Superior infighting, weight, strength and
experience earned for John Logan a narrow
split-decision victory over gallant Frank Bell at
the St Columba Hall last night. It was a grand
effort by Logan, having his first fight for two
years, but the lighter Bell stole the kudos with
a courageous display.
Many thought Bell had won and voiced their
disapproval of the decision, but it appeared that
they were in sympathy with him, for at 12st he
conceded the former Australasian champion a
stone and 6lb.
Logan deser ved his victory, for in the
infighting he was scoring six punches to very
few by his opponent. Bell fought well, better
than he has ever before.
uFood for thought
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The current ceasefire
in the war in eastern
Ukraine, the so-called
Minsk-2 agreement, was
signed last February,
but they never actually
ceased firing. At least
1000 more people
have been killed in the
fighting since then, and
on one night last month (August 14) the
monitors of the Organisation for Security
and Co-operation in Europe recorded
175 separate ceasefire violations.
On a visit to Kiev that week, British
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said
that the conflict was “still red-hot ”
and that he could not see an end to
the fighting “any time soon”. As late
as September 11, Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko was condemning
Russia’s “neo-imperial aggression” in
eastern Ukraine, where an estimated
9000 Russian soldiers are on the ground
in support of the breakaway provinces of
Luhansk and Donetsk.
But then the music changed. When
the annual Yalta European Strategy
forum opened in Kiev on September
12, Poroshenko announced the previous
night had been the first in the whole
conflict with no shelling. “ This is not the
end of the war,” he said, “ but instead a
change in tactics.”
Maybe that is all it is, but if it stops the
shooting, that would certainly be a step
in the right direction. By and large the
shooting really has stopped in the past
two weeks, although there is no sign yet
that Russian troops are leaving Donetsk
and Luhansk provinces.
Poroshenko claims that the shift in
Russian tactics is merely a switch from
military offensives in the east to political
attacks intended to destabilise Ukraine
“from the inside”. He was presumably
referring to a grenade attack outside the
parliament building in Kiev on August
31 that killed three soldiers and wounded
more than 100 people. But it is very
unlikely that Russia was behind it, and
Poroshenko should know that.
The demonstrators outside the
parliament were from various extremist
right-wing nationalist parties. Moreover,
the proposed law they were protesting
against was one that would change the
constitution and give greater autonomy to
the regions now held by the separatists. It
is clear why Ukraininan ultra-nationalists
would want to stop that, but why would
Russia want to stop it?
It was really Russian President Vladimir
Putin who took the initiative to stop
the fighting, although it was his local
allies declared that they would observe
a complete ceasefire from September
1. Since the better-armed rebels, with
Russian support when necessary, have
consistently outfought Ukraine’s ill-
trained forces — all the changes in the
front line since the ceasefire have been
rebel gains from Ukraine — it was the
rebels who had to move first.
They moved because Moscow has
decided to freeze the conflict, which has
now ser ved its main purpose of saving
Putin’s face. He was deeply embarrassed
when the Ukrainians overthrew the pro-
Russian president in Kiev 18 months ago.
His illegal annexation of Crimea, like his
encouragement and military support for
the rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk, was
partly motivated by his need to restore
his political position in Russia.
Having “lost ” Ukraine, Putin also
needed to ensure that it did not become
a base for western influence, and maybe
even Nato troops, on Russia’s southern
border. The best way of doing that was to
ensnare the new government in Kiev in
a chronic low-level conflict with Russia
that would cripple Ukraine’s economy
and make western governments very
ner vous about getting too close to it.
Those goals are now accomplished.
Ukraine has effectively lost three
provinces (all with Russian-speaking
majorities), and a permanent military
stalemate between Kiev and its rebel-held
provinces means that the likelihood of its
ever joining the European Union or Nato
is approximately zero. There is no need
for further shooting, and Russia does
have other fish to fry.
Right through the conflict in Ukraine,
Moscow has avoided doing other things
that would alienate the west. It went
on providing essential transit facilities
for the American troops withdrawing
from Afghanistan. It co-operated with
the west in the negotiations that led to
the agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear
ambitions. It continues to send western
astronauts to the International Space
Station, since they have no transport of
Putin never wanted a “new Cold War”
that Russia would surely lose. The cost
of the old Cold War broke the Soviet
Union, and Putin’s Russia is much
weaker. He just wanted to limit the
options of a hostile Ukraine. Now that
he has succeeded it is time to freeze the
situation — and both Poroshenko and his
western supporters have tacitly accepted
that this is the least bad outcome.
They took a poll of the assembled
experts at the end of the YES conference
earlier this month, asking what they
thought Ukraine would look like three
years from now; 53% of the Ukrainian
participants, and 58% of the international
guests believed that it would see
economic growth and stabilisation
despite a contained, “frozen” conflict in
Only 3% of each group believed
that it would see “economic decline,
destabilisation, and a further loss of
territory. So move along, please, sir.
There’s nothing more to see here.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Ukraine: Peace at last?
Tank crew members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic take part in a military drill outside the urban settlement
of Torez in Donetsk region, Ukraine.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Neath the shade of a sheltering rimu,
I have stood when the sun was high,
And the hot winds curled the broom pea
And the waterfalls were dry,
‘Hen the grey ducks skimmed o’er the
And the blue pukekos rose,
From the shimmering pools and
Where Inangahua flows.
I have been reading the writings of
Hugh Smith, the Bard of Inangahua.
Though from faraway Bonnie Scotland
he was a true West Coaster at heart.
He had a true respect for the land, the
bush, the rivers, the people and the
wildlife as one can see from his
I was caused to think of the writings of
that great bard of Old Testament times
and we can truly endorse his sentiments
as well as Hugh Smith’s with the words
of Psalm 16. 6: “ The lines are fallen
unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a
Do we realise how blessed we are to be
living in this place of such beauty and
How we need to treasure it and protect
it and be thankful to God that He has
placed us in such a place, a little foretaste
Yes, we grumble about the rain we get,
but take a walk in the bush and view the
variety of lush plant life or climb a hill
and look down on a beautiful river valley
and give thanks that we are privileged to
live in such a place.
Reefton Union Church
heltering from the midday
heat in her yellow-painted
Mwenda speaks passionately
about her mission to end child
marriage in Zambia, starting
first in her own chiefdom.
Reigning over 111 villages in Zambia’s
far northern Luapula province, Mwenda
said her attitude towards a long-standing
custom of early marriage changed
almost overnight, when, four years ago,
she learned about the dangers of teen
“The doctors explained that there are
numerous complications when a girl gets
pregnant at a young age, so arising from
that I got involved in the thought to push
it further,” said the elderly chieftainess,
clad in a bright pink and yellow dress, in
an interview at the modest home she calls
“No one should allow a child in school
(to marry),” she said, seated in an
armchair and flanked by her two watchful
advisers, one of them sitting on a sack of
In this remote area, the word of the
chief can have more impact than laws
enacted some 800km away in the capital
Although marriage below the age of
21 is officially illegal in Zambia, the
southern African nation has one of the
highest child marriage rates in the world.
More than 40% of girls in Zambia are
married before they turn 18, according
to the United Nations Population Fund,
a rate that has remained steady for more
than a decade.
The practice has deep cultural roots, and
girls most vulnerable are the poorest and
In 2013, the government launched a
campaign to end child marriage, led by
the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional
Affairs, bringing together Zambia’s more
than 200 chiefs, who hold hereditary
positions and reign over more than 70
In Mwenda Chiefdom those who
disobey the chieftainess’ order have to pay
a fine as punishment. It does not come
cheap. Typically a goat or a bundle of
banknotes can cost transgressors as much
as the bride price that is paid to a girl’s
family by the groom.
“Child marriage was very common
and could only be stopped by putting a
regulation in place where people can be
punished when they engage in such a
thing,” said the chieftainess in the dingy
reception room of her house, perched on
a bush-covered hill.
She said other chiefs across Zambia,
a southern African nation of about 15
million people, were learning from her
experience and taking action to stop child
Each year more than 15 million girls
worldwide are married before they turn
18, the campaign group Girls not Brides
says. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than a
10th of girls are married by 15, and four
in 10 are married by 18, according to the
Population Council, a United States-
based non-profit organisation.
Child marriage deprives girls of
education and opportunities and puts
them at risk of serious injury or death if
they have children before their bodies are
ready. They are also more vulnerable to
domestic and sexual violence.
In June, the United Nations Human
Rights Council adopted a resolution
calling for an end to child, early and
forced marriage, and recognising child
marriage as a violation of human rights.
Ending child marriage by 2030 is one
of the targets contained in the new
Sustainable Development Goals to be
adopted by world leaders at a UN summit
later this week.
But diplomatic resolutions need to be
followed up by action on the ground,
Pamela Nyirenda of the Population
Council in Zambia said chiefs’ rulings are
an effective way to stop child marriage
because people have no option but to
follow their leaders’ orders.
“In the areas where the chiefs have a
passion for this, (child marriage) numbers
have gone down,” Nyirenda said at her
office in Lusaka.
She said most Zambian chiefs, about
10% of whom are women, have now
resorted to punishments such as fines to
stop parents marrying off their children
She is concerned, however, that
better-off parents with a desire to follow
tradition may still disobey chiefs’ orders.
“If the parents have the capacity to pay
off that fine, then to them it’s nothing,”
Traditional initiation ceremonies, which
begin once menstruation starts and are
meant to teach girls how to please their
husbands in bed, are an important marker
in the lives of Zambian girls but also
push them into marriage too young.
“They look for ward to (putting into
practice) whatever they have been told,”
Nyirenda said. “But for them to be
sleeping with a man they need to be
married, so that pushes them into early
Education is crucial to ending the
custom, Nyirenda said, by lowering peer
pressure among girls and their families
as well as tackling ignorance of the
consequences of child marriage.
Back in Mwenda, the chieftainess
agreed that education was the key to
“Children can only be safe in a school
environment. As long as they remain in
school they are safe from marriage,” she
said. — Reuters
Chieftainess Mwenda Sophia Thomas Chibaye, sits with her advisers inside her palace.
Child marriage stand
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