Letters, Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

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Educate people to tackle racism

IT was sad to see in the news recently that a couple of young men in the North East were so misguided that they carried out racist attacks in our region and are spending a year in jail.

In my opinion as a way to help such individuals improve their behaviour towards others, part of the correction for any racially motivated crime should be the wrongdoers having to carry out supervised community work, that focuses on helping our ethnic minority communities, helping the people they wrongly attack.

I feel that only by educating the misguided and misinformed people in our society can we hope to rid people of racist views. Working with the people they don’t know but attack will help those with racially intolerant views then see that other people from other cultures and religions are human beings too.

If only Adolf Hitler was re-educated earlier then the mass suffering caused to humanity from his racially intolerant beliefs may have been prevented.

Millions of men, women and children were imprisoned and then executed just for being different. Human beings were treated worse than condemned cattle because they had different cultures and religious beliefs.

A visit to Auschwitz is a lesson everyone should consider. There you will find huge mountains of human hair, cut from people to make Nazi uniforms for their war effort, huge mountains of shoes, spectacles and huge mountains of children’s toys, all taken from millions of victims as the Nazis took their dignity, before their lives, by murder in the gas chambers there.

In my opinion any discrimination must not be allowed to go unchallenged or to escalate. Only by embracing the good in all cultures and religions can we as a civilised world challenge and eradicate what is bad in all cultures and religions.

Our families fought Nazi racism in the last century. Our brave armed forces fight for good and fight the same evils today.

Lest we forget.

Gordon Chalk, Millfield

Power to OAPs?

THE Letters Page carried a letter recently by Mr Mitchell, of Thorney Close, on the subject of a pensioners’ party for power to rattle the cages of our present political masters.

The Sunderland branch of the North East Pensioners’ Association has gone after many years. The U3A movement is successful in our city.

Age UK, the 2010 charity of the year, does good work on campaigning. The North East branch of the National Pensioners’ Convention still meets in Gateshead with reps from affiliated groups, and annually 2,500 meet in Blackpool and have recently conducted over two months an English concessionary mass survey on the many different schemes we have. Nexus has been given a copy.

It is hoped that when Question Time comes to Newcastle, some of us intend to lobby for representation on behalf of the aged to sit on the panel. We are denied at present – studio lights too hot and our reps would not stand up to the rigours of the questions. Rubbish!

But if Mr Mitchell wishes to start a pensioners’ party he could be successful. Personally, no thanks. We still only need one party for the aged with clout, as Dan Smith once said in the 1960s.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Soldier’s demise

THE hearse door closes and calm prevails

Settle down between weeping kin,

Onward we go.

Hearse crawls – as though further haste

Would disable bodies.

With difficulty breath is held back;

It helps to release pain.

Fat tears gallop down leathered cheeks

And sobs gather momentum.

Gain control and gaze ahead

Looking for a consoling focus.

Undertaker, neat, now in solemn stride

Orchestrates cortege, repelling

Traffic with slim umbrella.

Hair blacker than blackness,

Dapper frame exudes dignity ad sympathy.

Road clear – sidles into hearse.

Onward it goes to resting place.

Service complete – pensive thoughts gather.

Tonight empty bed will be chilled.

Now only a rich protein of memories

Remain forever.

Alex Branthwaite, Friarsfield Close, Sunderland

Thanks to finder

I WOULD like to thank the lady who handed in my wallet at Morrisons, Seaburn, at about 12.30pm on Thursday.

From the description given to me by Customer Services I searched for you in the store, but perhaps you had left.

Once again, many thanks.

Jack Walton, Ravine Terrace, Sunderland