The editorial that got Paul Theroux in trouble and CD Mike McCone kicked out of Malawi
A PUBLICATION FEATURING GENTEEL INTROSPECTION
Written and published by Peace Corps/Malawi, P.O. Box 700, Blantyre, Malawi. The editors welcome correspondence arising out of articles in The Magraine. Essays, poems, etc., all given serious consideration.
The horrors multiply in Vietnam. The editorial staff of The Migraine openly condemns President Johnson for his recent decision to send 20,000 more troops into that country. This is a time when our vanity must be forgotten in the interests of those awaiting their own murder by United States and Chinese forces. We do not share President Johnson’s views and we earnestly hope that he will summon the courage to begin withdrawing troops. He has recognized that he can blunder–the withdrawal of the troops from the Dominican Republic was a recognition of his fecklessness in the crisis.
We do not approve of totalitarianism in any of its forms, masquerading as a democrat or a communist. We have been told that if the United States wins this war–close to an impossibility–the South Vietnamese will practice freedom of expression. We have seen minority groups in the United States itself thwarted, discriminated against and murdered. We are sure that any country will succeed only if those desires for freedom arise from its own core. We cannot inflict false determination on the South Vietnamese anymore than we can thwart real determination in the many persons who remain oppressed in the land of the free.
Will Lotter (PC Staff: Malawi 1965-67), Deputy Director in Malawi at the time, said it was Theroux’s editorial that first made him aware of the anti-war movement among young Americans. “I came off the Davis campus in California. I had been an athletic coach and Paul opened my eyes to our folly in Vietnam.”
And if PCVs had read Theroux’s editorial at the time, most would have agreed with Theroux — though many Volunteers did support U.S. military activities in Asia, at least in 1964. (It wasn’t until 1965–66 that male PCVs began to join the Peace Corps to avoid the draft.)
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Good stuff. Prescient