Dilemmas for pacifism
Jim Graham writes of the dilemma that can face pacifists (8 January).
I experienced this dilemma myself as a pacifist during the second world war. When the appalling atrocities of the Nazis were revealed you realised that the Allies were not opposing a mere Nazi ideology, but the existence of an aggressive evil, mass murder and torture. You had the choice of two evils. I decided that to destroy the Nazi evil was the most essential. One could not, however, leave this to everyone else while one simply stood aside and kept one’s own hands clean! I felt obliged to do something. At this time the government asked for volunteers to train as pilots to deliver planes from factories to airports. I volunteered.
I was teaching (a reserved occupation) on the Isle of Man at that time. I received from the Manx education authority a request to reconsider my application, since it was difficult to replace staff. So I stayed.
Jim Graham ends his article with: ‘We can only seek, as honestly as we can, what is right for us and at the same time honour the views of those who travel along the same path but arrive at a different place.’
Selection of migrants
I recently returned from a visit to Germany and was impressed with the provision of temporary accommodation and support provided there for migrants.
The muggings and assaults of women and girls in Cologne and Hamburg on New Year’s Eve did not come as a total surprise to me, having worked as a probation officer in London with groups of male youths and understanding how gang culture develops.
As alleged by the German police, thirty-two of the assailants were identified as migrants from Algeria, Morocco, Iran and Syria. The problem has its roots in the unbalanced selection of many more young males than, for instance, the number of women, children and older people being admitted to the country, which I fear will create long term social problems.
I fear that right-wing groups will use this event to defend their anti-immigration polices, as recent demonstrations in Cologne have revealed.
I do hope that we will learn from Germany that it is important for us to select a wide range of migrants by age, sex and country of origin in those admitted to the UK.
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