War Games in USSR

I wish to correct a bit of unintended misinformation published in the June-July issue of Peace Magazine. I refer to the photograph on page 21 described as Rumanian children being trained to Catch The Flag.

The photograph is one of several in a book entitled "Border Post at Prut River" published by Kartya Moldovenyaske in 1978. This is an official publication of the USSR intended for consumption by children (within the USSR of course). The Prut River is on the Rumanian frontier.

The photograph is actually of Soviet children, specifically Young Pioneers aged 10 to 14 years. They are participating in a military training exercise called Zharnitsa, which translates as Lightning Strike.

This game is a very real military training with toy weapons. Such training is virtually mandatory for all pubescent youth in the Young Pioneers. They are told that they are fighting an unspecified "enemy" and sometimes it is informally added that the Americans are the potential enemy. In the ninth and tenth grades of high school Soviet youths are all required to take military training, using real guns.

It would certainly be worthy of Peace Magazine to provide an analysis of this phenomenon with the same depth and insight given to the paint-splattering games in Ontario woods.

Wally Keeler, Cobourg, Ontario

Go Ask Conrad Black

It was thrilling to receive a letter from Oscar Peterson. I've been a fan of his since I was a teenager. It wasn't exactly a personal letter: it was an appeal to support Amnesty International's work to end apartheid, but that's a cause I can support with all my heart.

I also admire Donald Sutherland, who wrote asking me to befriend the Canadian Centre for Arms Control; June Callwood, who wants me to help the Toronto Disarmament Network;

Margaret Laurence, soliciting on behalf of Pollution Probe; the Rev. Clarke MacDonald, advocating for Project Ploughshares.

Somehow the word has got around that Branden has a fortune stowed under the mattress. I do support as many. of these groups as I can. What's more, I don't smoke, I don't eat meat, I don't shoot or fish, I don't wear furs, I use unleaded gas, I recycle the garbage. I try to be a good citizen ...But I haven't GOT ANY MONEY. Go ask Conrad Black, the Southams, or Honest Ed.

Let's consolidate our peace donations. These groups could save an enormous sum on postage, and join voices to produce a noise that can't be disregarded in Ottawa-a thundering united demand for peace that even our dim-bulb prime minister will notice.

"I can't spend any more on armaments, Ron, they're turning ugly. And I think well have to stop testing the cruise, and perhaps you could keep those sea-going nukes Out of Nanoose..."

Victoria Branden, Waterdown, Ont.

Challenger and Star Wars

Peter A. Bruck (PEACE ,June/July 1986) astutely observed that the massive coverage of the Challenger accident is an example of agenda-setting by the American state. I beg to differ, however, as to the "obviousness" of the connection between the space shuttle blow-up and the asserted abilities of a Star Wars defensive shield. The point is well made, but it was not obvious to me. It is unfortunate that, at the time of the accident, the peace movement did not point out that irony in the mainstream media.

As to the media structuring of the peace movement, may I suggest a solution: that we adopt the principle of multiple spokespersons.

Erik Poole, Sillery, Québec

Peace Magazine Oct-Nov 1986

Peace Magazine Oct-Nov 1986, page 4. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by various here

Peace Magazine homepage