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October 04, 1959 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1959-10-04
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Unexpected Propaganda Expressions

EXOIIJS: The 'Hard Sell' Clouds Many Issues

Austrian Youth Conduct
Anti-Festival Campaign
By LLOYli GELMAN

A CASUAL observer in Vienna at,
the time of the International
Youth Festival would have been
surprised by the propaganda he
encountered there. The Commu-
nist-sponsored Festival was per-
haps most effectively covered by
the anti-Festival campaign of the
Austrian Socialist Youth.
The Festival itself was hard to
find, since events took place at
isolated theaters or at a large
fairgrounds outside the city. If
one was just wandering about in
Vienna, chances are he would not
come across the Festival activities.
On the other hand he was almost
sure to come across the anti-
Festival, which had brightly deco-
rated information booths scattered
aroundndowntown Vienna, espe-
cially near the American Express
offices where-Americans congre-
gate.
At these information booths one
could find copies of the Vienna
Daily News, a thinly disguised

anti-Festival paper; ariti-Festival
and anti-Communist propaganda;
and information on other Social-
ist Youth activities.
These activities included sev-
eral daily bus trips that went to
the Iron Curtain (Austro-Hun-
garian border) to show visitors
the barbed wire and machine gun
towers there. Films such as "1984,"
"Animal Farm," and "Hungary in
Flames" were shown for delegates
from behind the Iron Curtain.
Free copies of books such as Dr.
Zhivago were distributed to those
who could not obtain them in
their homeland.
THE Vienna Daily News was a
paper published by the Vien-
nese press to cover the Festival.
This filled the gap created by a
press boycott of the regular daily
papers enacted during the con-
vention. The regular papers ap-
parently assumed that a press

blackout would hurt the Festival
the most.
Instead the Daily News was
published, but its anti-Festival
overtones were only slightly veiled.
Among other things, it printed
the_ Festival schedule, within
which were inserted certain of the
Austrian Socialist Youth activ-
ities like the films and speeches
by pre-Revolution Hungarian poli-
tical leaders. Also included in the
paper were articles entitled:
"Cameraman Beaten by Festival
Guards," "Hungary: A Soviet
Colony in Europe," "Festival Au-
thorities Bar Western Press," "Fes-
tival Chiefs Worried Over Lack of
Control," "Two Czech Soldiers Ask
Austrian Asylum."
The paper was distributed to
Festival delegates whenever pos-
sible, and reports were heard of
attacks on paper distributors by
angry pro-Festival workers. Fes-
tival delegates who read the paper
were also endangered.
IF THE FESTIVAL itself was an
organ of propaganda, it seemed
to me to be well disguised. The only
idea really broadcasted was "Peace
and Friendship," the slogan of the
Festival. Communism or pro-Rus-
sian sentiments were not to be
seen officially. Festival, the meet-
mg's official paper, expressed
many sentiments such as "the
youth of the world are working
together toward unity and friend-
ship."
Perhaps the names or expressed
purposes of some of the demon-
strations would best show the ap-
parent overtones of the Festival.
There were demonstrations for
'Friendship and Solidarity' with
the youth of colonial and newly-
independent countries and the
celebrations in 'honor of friendship
and peace among the people
against atomic weapons for dis-

Iron Curtain at the Austro-Hungarian Border

aU

armament and peaceful coexist-
ence.
In the rest of Western Europe
a casual traveler is confronted by
little propaganda. The only blatant
examples that I saw during ten
weeks of travel were at the Fes-
tival and in Berlin. West Berlin
has done much reconstruction
during the war and will rightfully
and proudly boast of it. This is
only natural and is easily ac-
cepted.
EAST BERLIN, however, is quite
a different matter. Here propa-
ganda is directed at both inhabit-
ants and visitors. In subway sta-
tions and on the streets, the
advertisements and posters urged
atomic disarmament and boasted
of the economic successes of the
German Democratic Republic
(DGR). All organized tours of

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Student Life in Munich

Berlin that included the East Ber-
lin are required to stop at the
border between the two sectors
and receive an official welcome.
This usually consists of a build-up
of East Germany by an officer and
then an invitation to help one-
self to several pamphlets on a
table. One particularly interesting
one was entitled "West Germany
-- A Smouldering. Volcano." The
cover illustrations was that of a
soldier, standing with a vicious-
looking dog, in front of a stock-
pile of bombs.
The ideas expressed in the
pamphlet included 1) the West
German government is full of ex-
war criminals and Nazis; 2) Ade-
nauer's government can be com-
pared to Hitler's in its aggressive-
ness and war-mongering: 3) DDR
is a -peace-loving nation; and 4)
why doesn't West Germany re-
cognize DDR, resign from NATO,
and then the two parts could live
separate and'equal, side by side
without atom bombs. -
WITHIN the rest of Western
Europe, propaganda could be
found in only the slightest doses-
e.g., speakers in Hyde Park, Lon-
don, who spoke their mind on al-
most any subject from Commu-
nism and pacifism to religion and
birth control.
From Vienna to Hyde Park, one
found the opposite extremes in de-
grees of propaganda, attempted
both by individuals and by or-
ganizations, discussed by diverse
individuals from diverse points of
view.
Lloyd Gelman travelled
through Europe this summer
for ten weeks. During that
time he visited the Vienna
Youth Festival and Berlin as
well as several other cities. He
is a sophomore in the medical
school.

E xodus,- by Leon Uris, tells the
story of the migration of twen-
tieth century Jews from the con-
centration camps of Europe to
the Biblical homeland on the
Mediterranean Sea.'Although the
hovel concentrates on the migra-
tions between 1946 and 1949 and
on the establishment of the new
state of Israel, frequent flashbacks
and digressions record Jewish
misery in Europe since 1880 and
the whole history of the twenti-
eth century transformation of
desert wilderness into green and
fruitful land. The cruelties the
Jews have suffered have been un-
deniably genuine, butMr. Uris
has injected each incident with
strong doses of melodrama, sear-
ing purpose, and unbelievable
heroism. The material is drained
of every bit of emotion, pathos,
and sense of destiny it will yield.
The account of how the Jews fi-
nally managed to escape the ghet-
to and the concentration camp is
given, the "hard sell" so familiar
in advertising and television.
Were Exodus marred only by
an excess of enthusiasm for the
subject, complaint would sound
petty or precious. But the enthu-
siasm of the novel itself clouds
many of the issues it raises. For
example, a good deal of the novel
is taken up with the difference
between two groups of Jews fight-
ing for Palestine. One, the parlia-
mentary Yishuv insists on using
legal means whenever possible,
avoiding brutality, and fighting
only as a last resort. The other,
the Macabees, employ terrorism
and murder to gain their objec-
tives.
The novel presents both points
of view, makes the conflict be-
tween them so complete that two
brothers (Russian immigrants
who settled in Palestine in the
1880s) won't speak to each other
for fifteen years because one is
on one side and one on the other,
and yet the novel never, until 'the
very end, chooses between the
Yishuv and the Macabees. It is
as if any notion is acceptable, any
point of view sanctioned, so long
as dedicated Israelis hold it. The
moral issues implicit in the
struggle between the Yishuv and
the Macabees are never present-
ed or worked{out. Finally, on page
570, after Israel has gained inde-
pendence, the Macabees are brief-
ly castigated for alienating world
opinion and never mentioned
again.

AS ENTHUSIASM for the Jew-
ish cause blurs any distinction
between possible Jewish points of
view, so this same enthusiasm
judges all non-Jews simply from
the point of view of their alle-
giance to the state of Israel. All
the British (save for one or two
"traitors" to their country) are
priggish, interested only in oil,i
double-dealing; all the Arabs pre-
sented (save for one who is killed
by other Arabs early in the novel)
are ignorant or fanatical or cruel.
Despite the large cast of charac-
ters and the relevant historical
issues treated, Mr. Uris's perspec-
tive is so intensely narrow and so,
closely connected with a political
cause that the novel 'becomes an
instrument of propaganda rather
than a selected representation of
experience.
The central characters of the
novel suffer from a similarly
simple treatment. Ari Ben Canaan,
the hero, the strong and silent
leader of the Jewish forces, is pre-
sented as a kind of paste-board
superman. For complexity, Ari is
given a flaw, but it is a paste-
board flaw, for Ari is too strong
and silent, under his cold and effi-
cient exterior too hurt by the mur-
ders of his friends and comrades,
to be able to give himself emo-
tionally. His flaw is simply the ex-
cess of his virtue, though it is
miraculously cured for the con-
venience of the plot at the end of
the novel. His sister, Jordana,
similarly one-dimensional, seems
cold and hard and competent, but
grieves for three years for her
dead lover, whose name can never
be mentioned in her presence.
Kitty, the American woman who
finally overcomes Ari's emotional
nullity, must be made an anti-
Semite in the beginning of the
novel so that her conversion to
the Israeli cause can be that much
more startling. All the characters

are exaggerated, presented, like
the cause itself, as large and
simple and suitable repositories
for grand emotions.
plE PRIMARY merit of the.
novel is the history it records.
In long digressions, Mr. Uris tells
the history of the Palestinian
Arabs or the origin of the first
kibbutz settlements or the story
of the Nazi occupation of Den-
mark during World War II. All of
these accounts are admittedly
shaped to focus on Jewish issues.
but the accounts themselves are
informative and interesting. When,
however, an historical event di-
rectly effects the establishment of
the state of Israel, such as the
1947 United Nations decision in
favor of, partitioning- Palestine,
Mr. Uris adds so much melodrama
that he overcomes the significant
meaning of the historical inci-
dent itself.
Much of the historical interest,
however, is undercut by bad writ-
ing. Mr. Uris frequently relies on
cliches: significant dates become
years "of decision," newspaper
headlines become huge captions
that serve as chapter headings in
the novel, political moves are
either "deadly blows" or chess
games. The author also introduces
various gimmicks to draw the
reader into his story. Once or
twice, he switches, like the intro-
duction to a television program,
into the second person to force a
sense of historical immediacy on
the reader and he never fails to
provide an account of the rele-
vance of the Russian Revolution
of 1905 or the Balfour Declara-
tion to the little man working his
tiny farm. Sometimes, the form of
the statement is more sweeping
and promising, more elaborate,
than anything the author has to
say.
At one point, when talking of
the Talmud as a "sea," a vast col-

Very important
Intarsia gov4t

Enthusiasm Mars Story
of Jewish Migration
-u ..
EXODUS. by Leon Uris, Doubleday and Company,
1958, 626 pages, $4.50
By JAMES GINDIN

lection of wisdom that requires no
supplement, Mr.Uris concludes:
"The Rabinsky brothers studied
this great collection of laws and
customs, which contained in-
formation on everything from
'social behavior to personal
cleanliness."
What of theology, morality, gov-
ernment, logic, or art? No mention
is made of these. Apparently, Mr.
Uris has made his point with his
sweeping generalizations and ap-
propriate form. The details don't
matter.
THE EXAMPLE. above is one of
inept writing, but, more fre-
quently, the writing in Exodus is
slick. Mr. Uris narrates a story
with force and clarity, a story to
which he quickly adds an appro-
priate quotation or Biblical tag.
Each victory for the Israelis in the
1948 campaign is swiftly linked
to a Biblical victory, each change
in Israeli policy supported by a
quotation from the Bible.
Writing for an American audi-
ence, Mr. Uris is careful to dis-
tinguish between the motives dic-
tating the American switch to fa-
voring the partition of Palestine
and the Soviet switch to the same
position. While the Russians ap-
parently switched for political
motives, in order to gain prestige

an
no
Ca
ha
c
th
na1
tho
to
fig
kn
ha
on,
Wi
col
ci.
ne,
th
lar
th
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fo
I
sti
col
Eu
dic
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aci
PO
a
t,

(Continued from Page 3)
his second duel for his Chor, one
of the fraternal orders which were
formed in 1814, during the cam-
paign for German unity,' and.
banished by Hitler.
A FEW MORE of us came limp-
ing in as a result of unfor-
tunate skiing incidents. With Kitz-
buehl, Switzerland and the Ba-
varian Alps only a few hours
away, we enjoyed many skiing
weekends when we were not at-
tending concerts, the opera, or the
theater, or visiting the families of
our new friends.
The semester vacation - March
and April-helped us to recover
from final -exams and Fasching,
an extended one-month carnival
time similar to Mardi Gras. Five
girls and I took an ASTA spon-
sored train to Athens for $15 and
youth-hostelled our way through
Italy, along the Riviera through

France and Switzerland. For 25
cents we received lodging at the
hostels and met students from
Australia, England, France, Ger-
many, Italy, Switzerland, America,
South Africa, South America and
France.
IN EUROPE the student is be-
loved by all and receives many,
discounts, such as reduced travel
rates, admission to all state-spon-
sored museums and projects, and
discounts on bookt and concert
and theater tickets.
We had a storehouse of foreign
intrigue tales upon returning to
Munich and so did the others,
some travelling as far south as
Africa, east to Russia and India,
north to the Scandinavian coun-
tries and the British Isles. We
plunged into another full semester
which ended July 31 and spent the
time until our ship departure tra-
velling, bidding farewell to friends
and relatives."

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