LETTERS: by Brian A PeacheyNews Weekly
Jim Cairns: the real legacy
, November 29, 2003
I am deeply concerned at the eulogy given to the late Jim Cairns by Max Teichmann.
Like Mr Teichmann I lived through the disastrous anti-Vietnam war movement; but unlike Mr Teichmann I was a vigorous opponent of Jim Cairns and the dishonest anti-war campaign.
I believe that Jim Cairns acted deliberately with high intellectual conviction. He did great harm to Australian politics and especially to millions of innocent people in Indo-China.
The reference to Mr Bob Santamaria having an understanding of "what a special person he was, as well as a decent man ..." is ingratiating and deceptive. It is not in accord with what Mr Santamaria wrote more than a decade and a half after the communist victory and its bloody consequences to Vietnam.
Referring to the reality of the communist victory he wrote, "The genocide of Cambodia, which reputedly destroyed something between two and four million out of seven million inhabitants of the deceptively beautiful oasis of tranquillity; the imprisonment, death and forcible migration of one million Vietnamese, victims of Dr Cairns' celebrated 'quiet revolution' in Vietnam, led to a tragic flight of refugees to Australia and other countries." Against the Tide
At a time when the reputation of Mr Santamaria is being slandered by so-called historians of the left (there have been at least three major works published since his death and more to come) NewsWeekly
is venerating one of the most prominent, intelligent, former generals of the far left.
My concern is not because of some distant nostalgic past that should be trashed.
It is as Mr Santamaria said that we live in time of deep "crisis of belief".
Labels may be different, but the convictions and beliefs are the same.Brian A Peachey,