Home' Greymouth Star : March 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, March 22, 2014
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
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especially those that are o ensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1457 - Gutenberg Bible became the 1st
1622 - 1st American Indian (Powhattan)
massacre of whites Jamestown Virginia, 347
1630 - e rst legislation to prohibited
gambling was enacted --- in Boston,
1873 - Slavery is abolished in
1888 - English Football League
1903 - Niagera Falls runs out of
water because of a drought.
1934 - First Masters golf championship
began in Augusta.
1946 - Britain signs treaty granting
independence to Jordan.
1963 - Beatles release 1st album, "Please
1963 - British Min of War John Profumo
denies having sex with Christine Keeler.
1967 - Muhammad Ali KOs Zora Folley in 7
for heavyweight boxing title.
1990 - Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released.
is version o ered dramatic performance
increases for Windows applications, plus
advanced ease of use and aesthetic appeal.
2012 - Australia's most wanted man, Malcolm
Naden, is captured after seven years on the run
in Gloucester, New South Wales.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
William Shatner, Montreal Canada, actor
(1931); George Benson, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, American jazz/
blues singer/guitarist (1943); Keith
Reif, England, rocker (Yardbirds)
(1943); Andrew Lloyd Webber,
London, composer (1948); Reese
Witherspoon, American actress
(1976); Princess Eugenie (1990).
"Clouds come oating into my life, no longer
to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to
my sunset sky." --- Rabindranath Tagore
"Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence."
--- (Proverbs 10.6)
Dr Derek Henry
Symes, a former New
swimmer and surfer,
and a medical practitioner in Westport for the
past 17 years, died at his home in Westport
early this morning after a brief illness. He was
54. He is survived by Mrs Symes and three
sons, Ian, Toby and David.
While in Westport he took a keen interest
in a airs in the town. He was associated with
the Rotary Club and the Westport Swimming
Club, was naval liaison o cer for a long period
and for several years was a member of the
Buller Hospital Board.
Everybody has heard of Belgians, Italians,
Glaswegians --- and even Lilliputians, but now
we have a new one to include in this general
group --- West Coastians. Well-meaning
though the title may be, it tends to make
hardened West Coasters wince when they hear
it for the rst time.
e name has been coined by a recent visitor
to Greymouth, the editor of the Daily News
which circulates from Muriwillumbah in
northern New South Wales, near the Gold
Coast. He was one of a group of Australian
journalists who came to New Zealand and
visited the West Coast last month.
When the editor returned home he wrote an
enthusiastic review of his tour. "West Coastians
are popularly regarded in New Zealand as
being somewhat a race apart, with rather the
same reputation as Broken Hill people have
in New South Wales. But their hospitality is a
e editor sees New Zealand as an ideal
training ground for overseas tourists.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Crimea is going to be part of Russia,
and there is nothing anybody else can
do about it. e petty sanctions that the
United States and the European Union are
currently imposing have been discounted
in advance by Moscow, and even much
more serious sanctions would not move
it to reconsider its actions. But Vladimir
Putin still has to decide what he does next.
One option, of course, is to do nothing
more. He has his little local triumph
in Crimea, which is of considerable
emotional value to most Russians, and
he has erased the loss of face he su ered
when he mishandled the crisis in Kiev so
badly. If he just stops now, those sanctions
will be quietly removed in a year or two,
and it will be business as usual between
Moscow and the west.
If it is that easy to get past the present
di culties in Moscow's relations with
the US and the EU, why would Putin
consider doing anything else? Because he
may genuinely believe that he is the victim
of a western political o ensive in Eastern
Paranoids sometimes have real enemies.
Nato's behaviour since the collapse of
the Soviet Union, viewed from Moscow,
has been treacherous and aggressive, and
it does not require a huge leap of the
imagination to see the European Union's
recent policy in Ukraine as a continuation
of that policy.
After non-violent revolutions swept the
Communist regimes of Eastern Europe
from power in 1989, the Soviet president,
Mikhail Gorbachev, made a historic deal
with US President George H W Bush.
It was unquestionably
the most important
diplomatic agreement of
the late 20th century.
agreed to bring all
the Soviet garrisons
home from the former
satellites, and even to
allow the reuni cation
of Germany --- a very
di cult concession when the generation
of Russians that had su ered so greatly at
Germany's hands was still alive.
In return, the elder President Bush
promised that the countries that had
previously served the Soviet Union as
a bu er zone between it and Germany
--- Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary,
Romania and Bulgaria --- would not be
swept up into an expanding Nato. ey
would be free, but Nato's tanks and aircraft
would not move a thousand kilometres
closer to Moscow.
It was a wise deal between two men who
understood the burden of history, but they
were both gone from power by the end
of 1992 --- and Gorbachev had neglected
to get the promise written into a binding
treaty. So it was broken, and all those
countries were in Nato by 2004 --- together
with three other countries, Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania, that had actually been part
of the Soviet Union itself.
Nato's eastern frontier is now only
120km from Russia's second city, St
Petersburg. e Russians were burned
again when Nato encouraged the secession
of Kosovo from Serbia (a handy precedent
for Crimea's secession from Ukraine),
and once more when Nato got Moscow's
agreement to an emergency military
inter vention in Libya to stop a massacre,
and expanded it into a campaign to
overthrow the ruler, Muammar Gadda .
To Russian eyes, what has been
happening in Ukraine is more of the
same. If Putin believes that, then he
thinks he is already in a new Cold War,
and he might as well go ahead and
improve his position for the coming
struggle as much as possible. Speci cally,
he should grab as much of Ukraine as he
can, because other wise the western part
will be turned into a Nato base to be used
Crimea is irrelevant in this context: the
Russian naval bases there are nostalgic
relics from another era, of no real strategic
value in the 21st century. What Putin
does need, if another Cold War is coming,
is control of the parts of Ukraine where
Russian speakers are a majority or nearly
so: not just the east, but also the Black
Sea coast. But he should not occupy
western Ukraine, because he would face a
prolonged guerilla war if he did.
is is all extremely paranoid thinking,
and perhaps it never passes through Putin's
mind at all. But if it does, then he knows
that he has just over two months to make
up his mind.
If Putin allows Ukraine to hold the
scheduled national election on May 25,
then even the preposterous pretext he has
been using for the past month to justify
his meddling --- that he is intervening to
protect Russian-speakers from a "fascist
junta" in Kiev --- will vanish. So we
should know fairly soon which way
he is going to jump.
My money says that Putin will stop with
Crimea, because he is not that paranoid,
and because he understands how weak
Russia is economically and how quickly
it would lose a new Cold War. He has
already saved his face; why run further
risks? But I have been wrong in the past,
once or twice.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
People watch a broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's address to the
Russian Federal Assembly in Sevastopol.
Ukraine: Putin's choice
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
"No one who drinks the water I give will
ever be thirsty again."
Tomorrow in most Christian churches
people will hear the story of Jesus meeting
with a Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well
at Sychar. As she approaches the well
Jesus asks her for a drink. e woman
replies curtly enough, with a question as
to why He, a Jew, should ask her for a
drink. Her respect grows as they engage
in conversation. She comes to partial faith
as Jesus answers her query by declaring
Himself to be the Messiah. Her dawning
faith is enough to make her want to share
it with others so that they are able to say
He really is the Saviour of the world.
During the forty days of Lent we are
called to make a real e ort to grow in our
prayer life. e story of the Samaritan
woman tells us one thing --- if we spend
quality time in prayer, listening to what
the Lord might be saying to us as well as
placing our needs before Him, we grow
closer to him. We come to recognise His
goodness, His love for us. We realise His
nearness at all times, His constant care for
us.From our prayer then we can draw
strength to face up to the challenges we
meet in our everyday living. Jesus describes
what awaits us as a owing fountain that
gives eternal life. We need never be thirsty
Monsignor Gerry O'Connor
St Patrick's Parish, Greymouth.
Call to grow in prayer life
Asimple plaque marks the
forsaken spot where the
Red Baron was buried in
central Berlin but hardly
anyone stops to remember
the ying ace shot down in
1918. For Germans, the Great War holds
so little interest.
e centenary of the outbreak of World
War One has caught Germany o guard,
while Britain, France, the United States
and others mark it with battle eld tours,
television programmes, exhibitions
and plans for ceremonies on the day, in
Germans are not sure how, or even if,
they should commemorate a war that
cost them 13% of their territory, all their
colonies, huge reparations and 2.5 million
lives. e government is under re for its
"Most Germans don't want to have
anything to do with the militaristic past,"
said Stefan Scheybal, a mason who tends
graves at the Invalids' cemetery where
Manfred von Richthofen was buried, a
plot of land now bisected by a busy cycle
"We were brought up to scorn
patriotism and everything about our
belligerent history, so no one really feels
a connection to World War One," said
Scheybal, 51. "Most Germans don't care
who the Red Baron was. Only English
people come to see his grave."
e way Germany treats its war dead
--- even the gallant Red Baron, who shot
down 80 enemy planes --- helps explain
why it is having a hard time guring out
how to mark the centenary of the start of
a war that shaped the 20th century.
e reasons for German apathy run
deeper than the obvious fact that they
lost the war. Modern Germany has no
appetite for war and shudders at the
memories of Imperial Germany, with
its spiked "Pickelhaube" helmets and
"Germans today are probably the
least belligerent and most paci st-
oriented people anywhere in Europe,"
said Herfried Muenkler, a Humboldt
University historian whose new book
Der Grosse Krieg is making waves for
challenging long-held notions that Kaiser
Wilhelm's Germany was to blame for
"But that's due to the collective memory
of World War Two, as that overshadows
World War One in every category from
the loss of lives to the level of German
guilt," he told Reuters.
Another reason the war is so
little remembered is that the Nazis
manipulated its legacy for nationalistic
propaganda in their march to power in
1933. Defeat was cast as the result of
betrayal of the army by weak, defeatist
civilians and communist revolutionaries.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has no plans
at this point to take part in World War
One memorials, but she acknowledged
that its historical signi cance has been
accentuated by tensions with Russia over
its incursion into Ukrainian territory in
In a speech to parliament last week,
Merkel said Europe had clearly not put
behind it such 19th and 20th century-style
con icts about spheres of in uence and
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier says the lesson of the war is
that diplomacy failed, though he warns
that "drawing frivolous historical parallels
can distort our view of what's behind the
ere is no better way to gauge German
lack of interest in World War One than
looking at how it remembers its soldiers.
When Germany's last World War One
veteran, Erich Kaestner, died at the age of
107 in 2008 it merited little attention, nor
was there any con rmation that he was the
last of the Great War veterans because the
defence ministry keeps no such records.
Kaestner's little noted passing stood in
marked contrast to the honours France
bestowed on Lazere Ponticelli. France's
last war veteran got a State funeral led
by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy when
he died at 110 --- three months after
German neglect of its veterans is
matched by the condition of graveyards
like the one housing von Richthofen's
memorial: weeds grow instead of owers
and the stone is worn by the wind and
weather. His remains were moved to
Wiesbaden in West Germany in 1975
after the Berlin Wall cut straight through
"Germany has forgotten those killed
in World War One," Gerd Krumeich, a
scholar of the period, told Reuters. "Hardly
anyone visits war graves. ey're covered
with moss. No one's interested. Germans
will never commemorate that war."
Across town at the Alte Garnison
Friedhof, Katrin Saenger was basking
in the sun reading a book, cheerfully
oblivious to the iron crosses marking the
graves of captains and colonels.
"I've been coming here on my lunch
break for the last year because it's nice and
quiet," the 34-year-old fashion designer
said. "It might be strange but I like the
aura, if you can say that about a cemetery.
Hardly anyone ever comes here. It's only
once in a great while you see someone
looking at a grave."
e public apathy explains why Merkel's
government has devoted scant resources or
attention to the 100th anniversary.
e opposition Left party has criticised
the government for failing to schedule
any major events and for spending just
4.7 million euros on the anniversary, while
Britain and France are devoting about
60 million euros each to this summer's
Sevim Dagdelen, a lawmaker from
the anti-militaristic Left, calls the
government's lack of enthusiasm
"You get the impression that it's not a
priority at all to remember a lost world
war. ey don't want to talk about it," she
said, suggesting parliament should host
a memorial event with delegations from
France, Britain, Russia and Serbia.
" at would be the decent thing to do."
No appetite for war
e Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen's grave in Berlin after it was moved from its original site.
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