Easy targets of war

In his attempt to write the type of cynical article that appears every year after Remembrance Sunday, Sean French (20 November) decided to single out the contingent of former evacuees as his principal target.

If he had bothered to listen to the commentary given by David Dimbleby on BBC Television, he would have learnt why we evacuees were present in the civilian contingent. We were there to remember the hundreds of evacuees who lost their lives during the war, either through enemy action or accidents incurred while helping with war work - notably, those who were drowned when the city of Benares was torpedoed.

French also seems to object to us wear-ing luggage labels, but that is the recognised emblem of the evacuation, which involved around three million people, mostly children.

James Roffey
Honorary Secretary and Founder
Evacuees Reunion Association
Retford, Notts

I always enjoy Sean French's column, but his trenchant remarks on Remembrance Day were spoiled by his lumping the Greek Orthodox together with "all the non-Judaeo-Christians". Can he really be so ignorant?

There are more than a quarter of a million Orthodox Christians in the UK (roughly equal to the Baptists), and the number is increasing. Some are of Russian, Romanian, Serbian and other national backgrounds, many are British converts, but the largest group are of Greek or Cypriot origin; and it was Archbishop Grigorios of the Greek Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, who represented Britain's Orthodox at the Cenotaph.

We Orthodox trace our Church's history without any break back to the Apostles. After 2,000 years, we are still more conscious than most other Christians of the Jewish precedents of our faith.

While "Judaeo-Christian" is a pretty meaningless categorisation, coined main-ly for political reasons, to call us non-Judaeo-Christians is slack, and unworthy of your distinguished journal.

James Heywood
London W11

This article first appeared in the 04 December 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Goodbye to the dirty mac image