Conisborough Relief Worker in Asiatic Russia

July 1922

Mexborough and Swinton Times, July 8, 1922

In Asiatic Russia.

Interesting Letter from Conisborough Relief Worker.

Mr John H. Brocklesby, of Conisborough, who is working with the Friends International Service, senders the following interesting, if didactic letter, dated Kustanai, Asiatic Russia, June 19:

Sir – I would like to let you know what extraordinary surprise and pleasure it gave me this morning, in the middle of the boundless steps of Asiatic Russia, a messenger boy handed me a copy of the “Mexborough Times” dated May 20

The moulding of life out here is so different from England that when the “Times” comes with its specially Yorkshire, and more especially Doncaster Valley atmosphere, it seemed like a breath from another world; a world that I once inhabited.

Neither time nor space will allow me to tell you of all the differences between this world made up of Russians, Kirghise, Tartars, Christian, Mohammedans, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks etc and your world of Yorkshireman, Staffordshire man, churchgoers, Chapelgoers, Socialists, Coalitionists etc; but a salient idea or two may be of interest to your readers.

I passed a working men’s club today. I was especially struck by the “text” over the door. – “Workers of the world unite.” Don’t think this was the first time I had seen this in Russia, for I had been in Russia or five months, and one can scarcely be in Russia. 5 min without seeing the exaltation somewhere – on the paper money, where it is printed in eight different languages, or on the postage stamps, or on the public buildings, decorative arches and so forth.

It springs upon you from every corner almost. But seeing it upon the working men’s club made one wonder how many working men’s clubs in the Don Valley have got this motto over the door. You know, the usual stuff; there is generally something about being affiliated, but I never saw anything about being United.

One big thing have these Russian workers learned as a result of their agonising history; that if the workers of the world only cooperate to build up the world, instead of smashing one another’s buildingsdown inwar, or injuring one another’s work with national diplomacy, there would be some chance of making a happy world.

May I appeal through your columns, to my brothers of the Don Valley? Men, what do you say about it? The means are in your hands if you only have the will. Look a little further than the Don Valley (though personally, I’d rather live there than anywhere else) think further than the football field or racecourse. Watch international politics as you never watched before, or else our prize bunglers will sooner or later land us in another mess like the 1914-18 one, only worse.

Vote for international understanding and friendship, as our Russian fellow workers appealed to you to do.

Just in conclusion. I saw a reference in your correspondence columns recently concerning the culpability of the Soviet Government regarding the famine. I think the I.L.P. people know now what to say on that score.

But here, in this year of 1922, we see a remarkable sight. Some of thecrops which never started to grow last year,are actually growing this year, owing to the splendid rains. So perhaps those who blamed the Soviet government will, in all fairness and honesty, put this fact down to the credit of that same maligned body.

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