THE OXFORD COMMITTEE FOR FAMINE RELIEF
A Cause for Involvement
It is often said that the young people of today lack causes, or even one cause in which they can put their enthusiasm and spirit. In Britain the wars against unemployment and grinding poverty have been fought and, with a few glaring and anachronistic exceptions, won. On the international front, some of the older generation look back on the Spanish Civil War as the last occasion when right and wrong came out into the open and the individual could make up his mind to become involved or not, and choose to fight the clear foe of Fascism in a definite and positive fashion. Now the lines have become hazy, the issues befogged, the option of involvement virtually non-existent. The 'reasonable' man has taken the place of the 'believing' man; 'seeing both sides of the argument' is held as the prime aim of civilisation. Fence-sitting has developed from an occupation for the timid into a national pastime, and never has bravery, both personal and national, been so hedged by argument, discussion, committees, and buck-passing.
Yet there is a cause, a clear, demanding cause; a cause which cries out for all the enthusiasm and vigour that can be given it; a cause which overrides all other considerations because it is basic and primary, at the root of life itself. The cause is 'Freedom from Hunger'. Perhaps hunger does not have the theatrical appeal of a Nurenburg or Red Square, or the possibility of action as did Madrid or Guernica. Its blazon is a shrivelled face and bone-thin legs; its standard the crying child and despairing mother; its battlefields the pavements and shacks of Hong Kong and Rio, Calcutta and Algeria. It is, however, more evil, more dangerous, more worth fighting than any ideology. Ideologies change and alter as time passes: hunger prevents change. Ideologies can be argued with: hunger is deaf. Ideologies can be tempered by good: hunger is always evil. A man can comprehend an ideology, can come to grips with it, and see it in his own terms: hunger is vast, insidious, and embraces hundreds of millions.
Here then is the challenge, we in the comfortable West, must, before it is too late, face up to the overriding necessity of feeding millions. Until this is achieved, world peace is a mirage, development hollow, politics air, and progress a mockery. There are so many ways in which everyone can help, contributing to appeals, collecting for appeals, organising methods of raising money, learning as much as possible about the problem, giving service to organisations concerned, and for the student or graduate the field is even wider. To eliminate, hunger education is the prime weapon, and the pre-university students and graduates can go to all parts of the world to teach, guide and help. Food parcels are only the tactical means in the battle. The overall strategy must be to eliminate the ignorance which is at the root of starvation. Better agricultural methods, better seed and fertilizer, distribution and storeage, better balance in diet, better hygiene are the basic problems to face. Only by raising educational standards will hunger be eliminated, and in this way help can be given personally, directly and usefully.
The cause is there; the possibility for involvement is there: the reward is service to others. All the requirements for a crusade are to hand. Let it not be said that this generation was too complacent, too idle, too selfish to face up to a challenge. Previous generations had theirs, faced it, and won. So can this.
An enthusiastic collection for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief this term raised the magnificent sum of £56-10s., all of which was sent to a Tibetan refugee camp. On the recommendation of The School Council the headmaster readily agreed that money should be collected for 'Oxfam', as it has become known throughout the School, until the end of the Spring Term.
THE SWIMMING POOL FUND
At the end of the Spring Term the total of £1,761 had been raised. The School has collected £1,432 and the money raised by Mr. Ninnim amounts to £329.
The editors would like to express their sincere thanks to all contributors to this edition of the magazine, and more particularly, to those whose articles appear in the Literary Section. The fact that this section is much shorter than in the Christmas edition must be attributed only to the financial necessity for an 'economy-sized' edition and not in any way to apathy. At long last this perennial ghost seems laid, although the editors still wish that rather less reliance could be placed on their own cadging, cajoling and coercion, and rather more on the spontaneous desire to write.
Our thanks are also due to those old boys now studying at the universities who have responded to our appeals for university letters: but whilst we can usually count on contributions from Oxbridge, O.M.'s at other universities tend to hide their lights and the lights of their fellows under a bushel. We know of old boys at Durham, Liverpool, London, St. Andrews, Hull, Birmingham, Keele, Southampton, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Reading, to say nothing of various training colleges and other institutes of higher education; please write to us and let your contemporaries and friends at school know how you are getting on.
We are also extremely indebted to those Old Monovians who responded to our appeal for information in connection with the series of articles As We See Ourselves. Such information is always welcome and always proves to be most interesting and useful.
The Head Master has kindly lent us certain old records of the School which C. Levicki has used as the basis of an article appearing later in this edition. We feel this article should prove of particular interest to the real 'old-timers' of the Old Monovians' Association and to the historically minded generally.
Finally, a note of farewell. In signing off this article, I bring to an end an association of over two years standing with The Monavian; my fellow-editor, Tony Gable, has already disappeared into the Gallic wilds. We should both like to thank contributors, captains of teams, secretaries of societies, members of staff and the rest of the Monovian public for their help and tolerance throughout our period of office, and for their generous and literate, if often eleventh-hour, responses to our appeals for material. Our thanks in particular go to Mr. Miles and Mr. Banks for their helpful guidance and devoted labour in the preparation and production of the magazine, and their patience in the face of editorial whims and idiosyncrasies, in spite of which they still remain the unsung heroes of The Monovian, no tribute ever being paid within the pages of the magazine to their efforts. We thank too, our assistant editors, G.C.Casey and A.J.Moore, for much loyal and fruitful co-operation. The editorship of the magazine now passes into their experienced and capable hands and we are sure that they, together with the new assistant editors, B.Hayhow and H.Morgan, will maintain the high standards from which The Monovian has rarely departed.
C. J. MARTIN
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