MARCH 16, 1956
NEW YORK—Easter Seals are being sold from March 10 to April 10 for the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults. This society is an old one and has worked for a long time in this particular field, where there always is work to do.
The seals are the way we help each year to have this work done. And I am sure all of us want to respond for the benefit of handicapped people.
I have a letter from a veteran who served in both World Wars I and II and whose sons also served in World War II. He sends me a poem and two short essays, which he has written, and adds:
"I find that if you keep your mind active, you do not worry so much."
This seems to me to be good advice for many people who find that the day-by-day news of the world is worrying and wonder how to meet the many problems which press upon them.
I watched with great interest Tuesday night Edward R. Murrow's remarkable television presentation of the Egyptian and Israeli situations. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian prime minister, was somewhat more flexible in his thinking than one or two of the Egyptian refugees who were interviewed.
But I found Ben Gurion, the Israeli premier, a much milder and more appealing gentleman than Mr. Nasser. He seemed to have a mellowness which, perhaps, comes with age.
The disturbing thing, of course, was that the Egyptians repeated points of view which I do not think can be upheld by the facts, though I don't question for a minute that they believe them. The Israelis, of course, took opposing views.
For instance, I think it can be proved that the refugees who left Israel during the war did not leave just because the Israelis were dropping bombs on their homes and had committed atrocities.
In war, atrocities are committed on both sides, and I think it can be proved that the Mufti in Jerusalem broadcast the appeal that the Arabs leave temporarily, with the promise that they would be back within a few weeks.
I think it also can be proved that the lorries which took them out were furnished by the British. It also is probable that certain Arab sheiks remained in Israel, together with other Arabs who still live there, for they have eight representatives in the Knesset (parliament) today.
It is true that these Arabs, as a minority, are not entirely happy within the borders of Israel. Life is hard there, and a few complain of being detained in an old walled city north of Haifa and of having their land taken away from them. I did not visit this city, but if injustice is being done, the representatives of these people could bring the complaints before parliament.
I sympathize with those who want to return to their own land and their own homes. But they must know that this land is occupied largely by refugees from other Arab countries and that their homes have been wiped out.
I understand the deep pull that their own land has for the Arabs. But war always brings dislocation and hardship, and it seems to me they must accommodate themselves and stop looking backward. They must start looking forward to the best they can do under the new conditions.