Not much has been said about it, but it is the present good fortune of all of us that a problem of what to do with leisure time exists for the United Nations Emergency-Force in Egypt (the troops now in Gaza).
I learned of the problem from a neighbor who sent me a letter:
"This is an appeal," she wrote, "not for money but for magazines for the 6,000 United Nations troops from 10 countries stationed in the Suez area.
"They have subsistence and salaries, but there is little money for the extras and little to do in off-duty hours in a rather barren land. I wonder if perhaps SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would send some copies to them. They can be delivered to the United Nations or sent by ship to Italy. We feel that your magazine would be of particular interest to the men from Canada and also be of interest to those from Colombia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Sweden and Yugoslavia, who do not read English but might well find enjoyment in it thanks to the international language that sports speak."
July 14, 1957
Although SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can send magazines overseas far more easily than the United Nations can send men, I regret to say that even getting SPORTS ILLUSTRATED out of the Zone of the Interior involves a certain amount of red tape. So there were a few more letters—and it took a couple of weeks.
But happily the latest letter in the file is from Mr. T. E. Rivers, Director General of the International Recreation Association, which works with the United Nations and which inspired my neighbor to make her original request.
"We appreciate," says Mr. Rivers, "your cooperation in making available 1,000 copies of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED each week for the UNEF. The United Nations jeep service will arrange to pick up these copies each Thursday morning, beginning June 20.
"The United Nations officials in charge of this project are very, very happy about this. These magazines will make a splendid addition to the reading material for the men in service on the Gaza Strip."
And it must be a universal hope that the men on the Gaza Strip will continue to have the time for all the reading material they get.