Friday, 19 December 2008

Letter to The Times on Zimbabwe (unpublished)

The Editor
The Times

Dear Sir,

Historic precedent shows it is highly unlikely that there will be a credible military intervention in Zimbabwe to prevent further human suffering. Let us recall other recent examples which prompted little more than high rhetoric at summits and low levels of moral courage: at least 200,000 died in Darfur; 250,000 died in Bosnia; a million died in the Rwanda genocide and up to 5 million have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In each case the response of the regional powers, powerful Western nations and the UN was pathetic, shameful inaction in the face of preventable suffering and death on a biblical scale. Sadly, this is unlikely to change in 2009, but I live in hope.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Letter to The Times on Zimbabwe (unpublished)

The Editor
The Times


Sir,

Zimbabwe is a failed state whose malicious government through design and omission is bringing about conditions of starvation and disease. The Zimbabwean people are tyrannised and are unable to rise up. The neighbouring African countries, with a few brave exceptions, have utterly failed to modify Mugabe's behaviour, are unwilling to intervene and are militarily incapable of the task. The UN has been supine as it was in Rwanda, Darfur, Saddam-era Iraq and Bosnia. Western powers have ruled out military intervention, citing practical difficulties and overstretch while hiding behind the convenient shield of colonial guilt. Is there anyone left? I contend that the answer might be nearer to home than we think.

The collective outrage of ordinary citizens throughout the world ought to be channelled into toppling Mugabe. If enough people donated money, it should be possible to assemble a mercenary army using established, highly trained security companies which do so much quasi-military work in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. With the correct leadership and resources, such a force could inflict a serious blow on the Mugabe regime, which might shame other actors to intervene. We must not allow our Governments and the UN to abdicate themselves, in our name, of their responsibility to protect the people of Zimbabwe at their time of need. Most people would view this as a ludicrous suggestion. I need only remind them that when fascists rose up in Spain, 30,000 civilians from over 50 nations formed the international brigades and put their action where their mouths were. Would today's generation show such courage?

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

My letter in The Times re Haringey Council and Baby "P"

The Editor
The Times

3 December 2008

Sir,

Much venom has been poured on to Haringey Council for the failures of its child protection system (report, Dec 2). Social workers, local authorities and councils are each predictable targets for opprobrium, sometimes with good cause. But in seeking out individual and institutional targets for our collective rage, we are missing the root causes of this tragedy. Simply expressing shock and outrage, conducting an inquiry and demanding that its stringent recommendations are implemented in the hope that this will “never happen again” will not work. Until the societal malaise in which violent, irresponsible, unintelligent, idle, evasive, manipulative so-called adults are under the impression that they can carry out such cruelty unimpeded by society’s laws and moral codes, Baby P will sadly not be the last to suffer and to die.

John Slinger

Rugby

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5275366.ece