Monsieur is courageous
i was very intrigued by the article by Nigel Lezama (NOW, April 19-25) about teaching French in public schools. I found his story entertaining and appalling all at once.
I am currently immersed in an undergraduate degree on my way to teaching and have had my share of classroom experience. His encounter with the homophobic girl angered me. It reminds me of the trouble I had with one "scarf-wearing" girl in the classroom I work in who criticized me because I don't match the image of a woman she is used to seeing. It makes me wonder what parents are instilling in their children.
Monsieur Lezama comes across as a very intelligent, articulate man with whom I wouldn't mind having a conversation. But these children, at such a young age, are far too disrespectful and cruel. I remember having badly behaved kids in my classes growing up, but they still held a certain amount of respect for their teachers.
Monsieur Lezama should not have encounters like these, nor should other kids have to witness them. I think he has courage to continue teaching and to write about it.
- Nadine K. Mohammed, Toronto
Blowing the lid on CS gas
judging by the canisters i picked up at the Quebec Summit, the tear gas used was of the CS variety. The canisters contain ortho-chlorobenzylidene malonitrile, the white powder that causes us to retch and burn, as well as a dispersal agent, methylene chloride, which carries the powder in the air.
Reports on the Internet (check www.opcw.nl:80/chemhaz/tear.htm) state that toxicological studies have yet to show that CS causes long-term genetic changes or carcinogenic effects.
All this statement says to me is that since they can't test it on dogs or other animals that lack tear ducts and they can't submit humans to the kind of intense lab situations that would give any statistically significant results, there is no real evidence to warrant the ceasing of its random use on people who in this case were for the most part peaceful.
I would be more likely to trust my organic chemistry textbook, which calls for the careful handling of all aromatic benzenes and chlorobenzenes (of which CS is a variety) in a fume hood and comments on their probable carcinogenic effects.
- Andrew Rucklidge, Toronto
Fantino's forces of evil
re fantino's letter (now, april 26-May 2). The chief's letter grandly speaks of the Quebec City protestors as "the forces of evil." It's hard to think of the dishevelled, hungry Q.C. crowd reeking of tear gas as being in any way comparable to Hitler or Stalin or Milosevic, or even to Milton's rebellious angels who were shipped out of heaven for their trouble. However, if Chief Fantino's mind inclines that way, so be it.
Thoughts like his should be allowed to die unhindered deaths as soon as nature can arrange it.
- Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Whitewashing in Quebec
when word spread through the crowd in Quebec that activist Jaggi Singh had been apprehended, my reaction was this: the contingent of visible-minority protestors had just been reduced by 50 per cent.
OK, maybe I'm exaggerating. I did see a couple of black people and a few other Asians. There was even a small but vocal group of Latin Americans. On the whole, however, this was a mostly white, middle-class crowd, hardly representative of the Canadian population -- let alone the people most affected by globalization.
Why do more than 70 per cent of Canadians support expanded free trade and why, according to a recent poll, has this number actually increased since the Quebec Summit? What is the movement doing to connect with the grassroots, who are seemingly alienated by recent developments?
These are only some of the questions we have to start asking ourselves if we want to start measuring our victories by more than the number of people we can bring out to a protest or the amount of media coverage we can generate by complaining about the overreaction of the police.
- Max Wallace
Director, Centre for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity Montreal
Courage on both sides
i know what it's like to suffer tear gas. During my navy training, we had to suffer it. I admire the courage of both sides -- the protestors, for the most part young. One lady from Maine is 77 years young, but she came to protest the first steps in a new project to expand NAFTA southward.
I saw the whole thing on CBC Newsworld. I just heard it cost $100 million to pay for all the security -- the chainlink fence. The police were very disciplined. I never saw one use his truncheon.
Hey, what would happen if Quebec tried to become a separate nation? Another wall, another war? Peace.
- Joseph William Lea, Etobicoke
Real deal on smoked meat
if steven davey has been fooled into thinking that the "smoked" meat at Mel's Montreal Deli is the real thing (NOW, April 26-May 2), it's obvious that he has never been fortunate enough to experience the bliss that is Schwartz's. There are (or were when I left Montreal in 1988) but two places that serve smoked meat the traditional way -- that is, marinated in brine for two weeks, roasted two hours, then steamed for another two. They were Schwartz's and the Main Deli (across the street).
Lester's and the other pretenders speed up the pickling process somehow, and the result is a vastly inferior taste. They also don't use the huge array of pickling spices Schwartz's and the Main do.
As far as the sandwiches having hot-dog mustard, it's the traditional condiment, bland though it may be. Since moving here in 88, the only things I miss (besides people making eye contact and smiling at you on the street) is beer at the depaneur and real smoked meat.
- Michael Tomasek, Toronto
maybe now should have had the review of The Longplay (NOW, April 26-May 2) written by a true hiphop fan who doesn't get his records for free.
You know, it may be time to re-evaluate a music editor who seems to think that the most popular and well-known Canadian hiphop artists -- Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall, Red-One, Checkmate, Choclair, Frankenstein, Thrust, Solitair and Swollen Members -- somehow all manage to sound like they're from New York.
After his venomous last line -- "Maybe they should've had the tracks chosen by a true hiphop fan who doesn't get his records for free" -- I hope Tim Perlich has never and will never accept a free/promo CD. Clearly, he thinks "industry insiders" who receive promotional product as part of their job or based on their reputation are not real or "true" music fans.
Perlich discredited himself, the other NOW music editors, NOW staff writers, NOW freelance writers, music writers everywhere, the rest of the media, all DJs and every record-label person by implying that people's objectivity is clouded by the fact that they get free promotional material. Way to go, Tim!
- Kya Lee, Toronto