Barry Rubin’s piece on why the West stands back and allows the Iranian proxy Hizbollah to conquer Lebanon ( JC, May 16) is well-timed; however I would take issue with his mention of the Spanish Civil War as an illustration of the politics involved.
In claiming that other countries failed to intervene on behalf of Spanish Republicans because they feared being labelled “Catholophobic”, his reasoning is quite incredible. In fact, the chief reason why British public opinion, at least, failed to take much notice of the appalling Republican atrocities against priests, nuns and members of religious orders was precisely because the victims were who they were. As such, it would have been rather strange if the Church had supported the Republican cause. The British public in the 1930s was not particularly pro-Semitic, but neither was it pro-Catholic.
Sadly, even after the Holocaust, the West has continued to stand back from protecting human rights, for example in Darfur, where China has important interests, and Tibet, which is under Chinese occupation. Come to think of it, China is a much better illustration for the plight of Lebanon; China is the great power of the new century, which no Western country will challenge. Only Western governments can end such oppression, but this will only happen if Westerners put pressure on their governments. Ann Farmer Woodford Green, Essex IG8