France the main source of hypocrisy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 1995, 12:00am

I FELT rather disappointed in reading 'Australia being hypocritical' (South China Morning Post, September 20).

This person, who doesn't want his/her name mentioned, is obviously French. I, on the other hand, am Australian and make no bones about it, especially concerning the very emotive issue of nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

So, let me take you to task on a number of points mentioned in your letter.

Firstly, you seem intent on bringing up the past. It is an historical fact that both Germany and Japan were defeated at the conclusion of World War II. Also, Japan is the only country to have had atomic weapons dropped on their soil in aggression which, to my way of thinking, gives them every right to campaign against nuclear testing as they, more than any other country, know the consequences of the use of these weapons in anger.

Also, while public apology for past transgressions is a separate issue, no country should be made to feel guilty forever for the 'sins of their fathers'.

If this was the case, then maybe we could discuss France's involvement in places such as Vietnam, the Congo or several other African colonies. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that every country has regrettable periods in their history, Australia included.

While on the same issue, maybe your education is lacking when it comes to your own country's history. If you care to check the history books, even the graveyards and cemeteries of northern France, you will find the names of thousands of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and British soldiers who gave their lives in the defence of your country during the Great War.

My own grandfather served in France in that War.

During World War II, these countries were again involved in the liberation of France. We are also constantly reading the statements from France's politicians on how safe the nuclear testing is, and that no one will suffer any adverse effects from it. If it is so safe, why isn't it being carried out under l'Arc de Triomphe? If you consider this ridiculous, then why not on the island of Corsica? After all, it is very safe, isn't it? I would like to add that this letter is not aimed at all French people. I know some French here in Hong Kong who are among the friendliest people I have met. This is merely a reply to the author of the letter.

As the world becomes a smaller place, the consequences of people's actions become more apparent to everyone, regardless of nationality. This could hardly be termed ostracism but merely a desire to make a 'global village' a more pleasant place in which to live.

Finally, if you want to call Australians hypocritical, then maybe you should consider that when France concludes its nuclear testing at Mururoa, the French Government plans to sign an international nuclear non-proliferation pact. If that isn't hypocrisy, then I suppose I will never understand the meaning of the word.

MARK ROSSITER Clearwater Bay