Examining life down under

The review of John Pilger's book "A Secret Country," in the article "The Dark Underside Of Life Down Under," April 16, includes a number of assertions which cannot go unchallenged.

The book itself is a polemical retailing of Mr. Pilger's views - not of facts - and as such it is difficult to see the book as one which will advance a reader's understanding of Australia.

Some of the assertions are wrong to the point of being falsehoods. Contrary to statements in the review, Aboriginals in Australia are all citizens, with the same democratic rights and privileges as all other citizens. It is an invention to describe Australian "black heroes" as "trapped in apartheid-like poverty cycles."

The review also accepts as truth a number of Pilger's polemical assertions, mentioning for example his claims about interference in Australian political process. These claims are not new, but they have been dismissed in Australia where, incidentally, the book has been reviewed in very negative terms. Christopher Lamb, Washington, Minister, Embassy of Australia

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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