Home' Greymouth Star : October 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, October 17, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1662 - England’s King Charles II sells
Dunkirk to the French.
1777 - American rebels capture 5000 British
soldiers at the Second Battle of Saratoga.
1849 - Frederic Chopin, Polish romantic
composer and pianist, dies in Paris.
1854 - British and French forces
begin siege of Sebastopol in the
Crimea; Miners burn down Eureka
Hotel, Ballarat, after court dismisses
murder charges against hotelier
James Bentley, accused of kicking a
young miner to death.
1855 - Englishman Henry
Bessemer patents his process for making steel.
1902 - The first Cadillac motor car is made.
1906 - German professor Arthur Korn
transmits first picture by telegraph.
1931 - US gangster Al Capone receives
11-year prison sentence for income tax evasion.
1933 - Albert Einstein arrives in the United
States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
1979 - Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace
1994 - Jordan and Israel sign an historic
peace treaty, cementing an end to their 46-year
state of war.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Arthur Miller, US playwright (1915-2005);
Rita Hayworth, US actress (1918-1987);
Montgomery Clift, US actor (1920-
1966); Evel Knievel, US motorcycle
daredevil (1938-2007); Les Murray,
Australian poet (1938-); Margot
Kidder, US-Canadian actress
(1948-); Ziggy Marley, Jamaican
singer (1968-); Ernie Els, South
African golfer (1969-); Eminem, US
“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of
themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
— Bertrand Russell, British author (1872-1970).
“ Truly I tell you, unless you change and
become like children, you will never enter the
kingdom of Heaven.” — (Matthew 18:3).
businessman Mr J F
Pegley has purchased
the Union Hotel in Herbert Street and also
the adjoining corner site owned by the Hill
estate. While he has not decided on any plans
for building, Mr Pegley said today that the
land would be used for the development of the
Originally Mr Arthur Hill established a
shop on the corner section and for many years
operated a grocery business and milk bar on
the site. Then Mr W Holley took over and
ran the business along similar lines until the
building was condemned about 15 years ago.
To the layman, the barren slopes of the
Jordan Rift Valley and the alpine country of
New Zealand could not be further divorced
from one another. But to Dr Raphael Freund,
an Israeli geologist currently on the West
Coast, there is a common tie between the
two landscapes. Both have fault lines passing
Explaing why the New Zealand fault line was
unique, Dr Freund said it was one of the big
single faults in the world known to be active
with lateral movement. A very long stretch of
the fault ran through the West Coast.
“ We in Israel have the Jordan Rift Valley
which has had a lateral shift,” he said. “It seems
to me that there are things I could learn here
that could throw more light on the formation
of the Jordan Valley. ”
Dr Freund whose particular interest is the
world’s major faults is on a year’s working visit
to New Zealand attached to the department of
Scientific and Industrial Research.
uFood for thought
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No good deed goes
Two months ago
Merkel amazed the
world by opening
Germany ’s borders
to all the genuine
Syrians and Afghanis)
who could get that
far. She must have known her own people
well, because ordinary Germans showed
extraordinary sympathy and generosity to
the new arrivals.
Even when the first estimate of 800,000
refugees coming to Germany this year
went up to 1.5 million, the “welcome
culture” stayed strong. Only one month
ago Merkel’s action still had the approval
of half the population, with only 40%
thinking her policy was wrong.
Now those numbers are reversed, and
the voices of dissent are multiplying.
Even Horst Seehofer, the prime minister
of the State of Bavaria and leader of the
Christian Social Union, (CDU), has lost
patience, saying that “no society can cope
with an influx on this scale”. In fact, he is
theatening to challenge her policy before
Germany ’s Constitutional Court.
That is just “compassion fatigue”,
you might say, and you would be right.
Bavarians have seen 175,000 refugees
arrive in their midst in just the past
month. That is almost 1.5% of the State’s
population in just 30 days. Many of them
will move on to other States eventually —
but another 175,000 will probably arrive
in the coming month.
The scale of the refugee influx into
Germany is almost unprecedented in
modern European history: one and a
half million people in six months (for
the refugees only started arriving in large
numbers in July). It is as if the United
States, with four times Germany ’s
population, were taking in one million
Syrian and Afghani refugees every month.
Americans would never accept that.
What is surprising is not the fall in
support for Merkel’s policy. It is the fact
that it is still so strong, even though no
other member of the European Union
is being anything like so generous in its
refugee policy. (Britain has offered to take
in 20,000 refugees over the next five years).
There must be something special about the
There is certainly something special
about modern German history, though
most people elsewhere have forgotten it
or never knew it. Not the Nazis and the
war, but what happened at the end of
World War Two and just after wards. As
the Soviet army rolled west across eastern
Europe in early 1945, huge numbers of
ethnic Germans fled before it.
Hundreds of thousands of them died of
cold, hunger and the constant bombing,
but between six and eight million made
it into what is now Germany before the
fighting ended. Almost as many more
were expelled from eastern European
countries in the following five years,
mostly from Czechoslovakia and the
parts of Germany (about a fifth of its
current area) that had been given to
Poland by the victors.
Between 1945 and 1950 some 12 million
German refugees arrived in Germany —
a Germany that had been bombed flat
and was desperately poor. Even food was
scarce in the early post-war years. But the
Germans took the refugees in, shared what
they had with them, and together they
gradually pulled their country out of the
hole it had dug for itself.
Germans do not like to dwell on this
period of their country’s history, but it
has not been forgotten. Indeed, one-
fifth of today’s Germans are those now
elderly refugees and their children and
grandchildren. Deep down Germans have
an understanding of what it is to be a
refugee that no other western Europeans
Does this explain why Merkel did what
she did? Nobody can say except herself,
and she is not saying. She certainly has
not been a strong advocate of large-scale
immigration in the past.
At a meeting with young CDU party
workers in Potsdam five years ago, she said
that the idea of creating a multi-cultural
society in Germany had failed utterly:
“The concept that we are now living side
by side and are happy about it does not
work.” Indeed, she even said that Germans
had Christian values and “anyone who
doesn’t accept that is in the wrong place
But she grew up in the town of Templin
in northern Brandenburg, in what was
then East Germany. When she was a
child and a young woman, that area, not
very far from the new Polish border, had a
population that was 40% refugees.
Does their own refugee heritage explain
why half of Germany ’s 80 million people
still support a policy that, so long as it
lasts, will be adding one and a half million
more non-German-speaking Muslims to
the country’s population each year. Yes, it
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
German refugee history explains sympathy
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Naline Malla and John Davison
friends killed before her
eyes and living without
power, Layana Dar wish
stuck it out in Syria’s
Aleppo through four years of civil war,
even completing her degree despite the
What finally drove her to leave was
not the snipers or the bombs. It was the
constant struggle to find safe water.
Civilians have borne the brunt of
fighting between Syrian government
forces and an array of insurgent groups in
Syria’s divided commercial capital, a city of
two million people where upended buses
and cars stacked on top of each other
shield residents from sniper fire.
With the city divided between a
government-controlled west and rebel-
held east, both sides have been able to
deprive the other of water, which the
United Nations and Red Cross say
amounts to using it as a “weapon of war ”
“The water crisis is the catastrophe,”
said 28-year-old Dar wish, who left
government-held Aleppo for Turkey just
“Can you imagine life without
electricity? Well, we’ve tried that. We
managed to adapt to all kinds of shortages
and risks. But water is a different issue —
how can you possibly live without it?” she
said, speaking over the internet.
Residents have resorted to digging
makeshift wells, she said. But water drawn
from them may be unfit for consumption.
Her brother, who drank well water,
contracted a kidney illness.
A worker for United Nations children’s
fund UNICEF said cases of typhoid
and salmonella had been reported from
Fouad Halaq, a volunteer rescue worker
in eastern Aleppo, said impoverished
families were being forced to choose
between purchasing food or clean water.
“A 1.5 litre container of water costs
around 75 Syrian pounds (40c). A family
of six can not spend this much on water
alone, they’ll have nothing left for food,”
UNICEF worker Maher Ghafari
said even bottled water sold by private
enterprises was not necessarily safe, but
nonetheless families were forming hours-
long queues to buy it.
“A little girl waited in line for four or five
hours, only to realise that the two gallons
she had to carry were too heavy, and she
fell over and started crying,” Ghafari said.
Aleppo residents on average have access
to running water for only half the month,
according to the Red Cross’s Pawel
Krzysiek, who spoke from Damascus.
“This is not enough, even if people try
to apply contingency measures such as
a water tank,” he said. The Red Cross is
working to facilitate access to clean ground
water, producing on-line maps so people
can locate their nearest source.
Accidental damage to water and electrical
supplies has caused shortages. Recent
fighting hit a power line and clashes have
denied engineers access to fix it, Krzysiek
But the water crisis is also attributable to
tactics by warring parties who intentionally
deprive civilians of basic needs,
international aid groups say. UNICEF said
in August it had recorded 18 deliberate
water cuts during the year.
Water supply to Aleppo is particularly
vulnerable because at various stages of its
journey it passes through different areas of
The initial pumping station on the
Euphrates River is held by Islamic State,
while the next pumping station, in the
city’s eastern district of Soleiman al-
Halabi, is controlled by rival insurgent
forces. The final station is in government
Islamic State cut off the supply from the
Euphrates for a few days early last year.
In July this year, Ghafari said, it reduced
the supply to just 40% of the usual flow,
drastically cutting water supplies for two
hot summer months.
Fighters from the Nusra Front, a rival
hardline Islamist group, have also exploited
their control of Soleiman al-Halabi,
cutting off water for three weeks in July
to pressure the government to restore
electricity, he said.
All the pumping stations depend on
electricity supplies which are controlled by
the government. While cities across Syria
face shortages, Aleppo residents say they
often get only an hour of electricity per day
— or sometimes none at all.
When there is no power to operate the
pumping station at Soleiman al-Halabi,
water is often lost into the Quweiq river
that runs between it and the final station.
UNICEF is helping install tanks and
purification units downstream to save and
store that water for collection, Ghafari
So far, there is little sign that either the
government or the various rebel groups will
be able to break the stalemate and assert
control over Aleppo to allow normal life to
return. Civilians, meanwhile, bear the brunt
of the fighting.
Warring sides have dug themselves in and
carry out tit-for-tat attacks that kill mostly
civilians. As government forces rain barrel
bombs on eastern Aleppo, insurgents have
responded with shelling on the west.
Of 577 people killed in Aleppo city from
January through September, 559 were
civilians, monitoring group the Syrian
Network for Human Rights said.
Vast areas have been reduced to rubble,
with destruction hitting markets and
mosques in the UNESCO World
Heritage-listed old city.
“ Parties in the conflict are apparently
taking advantage of this war, and civilians
are paying the price,” said Dar wish, the
refugee. “ No one sees hope for a solution.”
A boy carries a jerry can of water to his home.
A weapon of war
of the Otago Daily Times
The memories of a successful Wanaka kea
hunter have been revived in a book by Lake
Hawea historian Richie Hewitt.
Albert “Albie’’ Collins, who died in 1998,
spent years being paid to eradicate the
native parrot from high country stations
Mr Hewitt this week said he had met Mr
Collins and had heard his hunting stories,
so when he came across four inter views
taped by the late Phyllis Aspinall, he
decided to transcribe them, and gather
other material about him.
Collins grew up at Maungawera, near
Wanaka, and after leaving school did
various farming and mustering jobs.
About the time he married, Mr Collins
took on kea shooting on Mt Aspiring
Station, where he would spend the nights
on snowy hilltops waiting for the birds.
He was quoted, in a newspaper article
after his retirement saying the pay was good
but there were few others willing to endure
the harsh conditions.
“Using moonlight or a torch, and a single-
shot .22 rifle, Albie Collins would shoot
from late afternoon until about two in the
“On his best night, he shot 67 birds,’’ the
Mr Collins recalled kea were “at their
worst for killing sheep in the spring’’,
particularly after a hard, frosty winter.
That was when the ground was too hard
for the bird to dig up roots and grubs.
“So they would take to eating what they
could get.’’ He was quoted in Christine
Hunt ’s book Something in the Hills saying
some people regarded kea as “cute little
“It ’s nothing in winter to find 40 or 50
sheep kea-ed, torn to bits.
“ You got to concentrate on the killer birds
“There might be only one killer in a
hundred birds, and some groups have no
killers in them at all.
“But when a killer attacks, it chooses a
good fat sheep and starts to torment it.’’
Mr Collins went on to describe the tactics
of keas, describing the birds as brutal and
He also suggested, deer cullers leaving
thousands of deer carcasses lying in the
high country had taught kea to eat meat,
and they had then come to rely on it.
Mr Collins said he shot more than 400
kea on Mt Aspiring Station and “a lot ’’ on
Cattle Flat Station as well.
“I could make better wages at shooting
keas than doing anything else.’’ Mr Collins
often camped at West Burn Falls, hunting
both kea and rabbits.
He recalled an occasion when his
observation of keas led search parties to two
“I said ... if you go up there tomorrow
morning you’ ll find that there’s blokes in
“They said what do you mean? “I said, the
keas are feeding on them.’’ All the searchers
were able to recover, he said, was the men’s
packs and bank books.
“A lot don’t believe keas do that sort of
thing and I’ve helped carry one or two off
the hill that were only dead for a few hours
at night and all the meat picked off the
palm of their hand and wrists.
“They ’re very inquisitive birds.
“I’d hate to be lying hurt out on the hill
with a mob of keas giggling at me.’’ Mr
Hewitt has included in the book, The
Memories of Albert “Albie’’ David Collins,
various official documents related to efforts
to eradicate kea.
An 1891 government memorandum
refers to a subsidy of “sixpence upon each
The book also contains an article
suggesting 150,000 kea were killed in the
100 years prior to the 1970s, when they
were given partial protection.
Memories of a kea hunter
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