Spiritual food for the soul
it was so refreshing to see articles (NOW, September 20-26) acknowledging the recent tragedy in New York for what it is, a challenge to the human spirit -- to choose love over fear and shine the light of compassion on the darkness within our individual and collective soul.
The mindset that seeks to polarize, to divide and conquer, makes billions off the war machine. The spirit is calling us all to awaken from the self-interested apathy that allows for the habitual accommodation of evil. It is asking us to respect and rejoice in the unity within.
Michael Aerhd, Toronto
Terror takes no prisoners
when alice klein writes that "You don't have to look further back than the Gulf War to predict brutal bungling and ultimate failure" (NOW, September 20-26), she is ignoring the fact that the Gulf War was not a failure, insofar as it accomplished its primary objective by ending the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq.
Klein also asks, "What is the twisted inner place with an irrational hunger for more murder?" But even your own syndicated columnist, Dan Savage, bluntly says, "Let's get revenge." If we are to have any security, we must show that terrorism won't be tolerated. And after that, sure, we need to address the more fundamental problems of poverty and unresolved political conflicts that have created terrorism. It is all well and good for saintly individuals to "steer fear in the direction of love," as Robert Brezsny says. However, should Brezsny find himself at the scene of a terrorist attack (heaven forbid), he will find that the terrorists will kill him anyway, regardless of how loving he may be.
David Palter, Toronto
Hisses and boos
re left's moral lapse (september 20-26). I, too, attended the Mob4Glob meeting in response to the terrorist attacks. Sure, there were the predictable people making the predictable speeches, but also concern and anguish for the dead.
One woman was booed and hissed for saying that anyone who worked in the World Trade Center deserved to die. Did Richard Swift not hear the hissing? At the same time, those at the meeting planned actions focusing on peace and anti-racism. It was a messy and sometimes frustrating meeting, as meetings often are. Perhaps Mr. Swift hasn't been to one in a while.
Rhonda Sussman, Toronto
Wise words from Chomsky
i just wanted to thank you for printing Noam Chomsky's response to the horrifying events in the U.S. Most media coverage to this point has been avoiding/ignoring the issues Chomsky covered in his great response to this tragedy. My only criticism is that you didn't print the entire version of Chomsky's response, which includes reference to Robert Fisk.
Frances Bruski, Toronto
Poison penned paranoia
like many, i, too, was shocked by the horror of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. But nothing could compare to some of the letters I read in your latest issue.
How ugly racism is in print.
Does Jim Lamarche's hawkish attitude (NOW, September 20-26) to "take care of business," or even S. Grant's openly prejudiced accusations about (unproven) Palestinian involvement even justify such statements? These people should be ashamed of themselves for even putting these thoughts into words.
Goodness knows, we get enough hate-mongering and paranoia from mainstream media. America's anger is duly noted, but to invoke more violence that could erupt into the nastiest crossfire in the area since the Gulf War makes no sense. No, Mr. Lamarche, "giving peace a chance" isn't dead. As Gandhi once said, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." Imagine....
Julian Bynoe, Toronto
B'nai Brith responds
it was with grave concern and dismay that we read Ellie Kirzner's article B'nai Brith Ups Ante (NOW, September 13-19). There were many omissions and distortions in the article.
As someone who sat down with the organizers of the SPHR rally should responsibly have known, two senior members of the organization have recently been thrown out of Concordia. The verbal and physical harassment that Jewish students at Concordia endured over the past year is further reason for concern.
In fact, the paradigm for comparison among B'nai Brith's security analysts was not the dancing in the streets of Ramallah, which understandably upset many people. It was, rather, last year's anti-globalization rally in Quebec City, where a small group of activists engaged in violence and drew massive police response to a rally that would otherwise have been peaceful. The facts are that of the six press releases put out by B'nai Brith last week, two were entirely devoted to urging tolerance and respect for Canada's Arab and Muslim communities. The facts are that B'nai Brith communicated with the Muslim community in the hopes of reopening a dialogue that B'nai Brith initiated during the Gulf War.
Your magazine chose to exploit the genuine concern B'nai Brith has regarding the small, radical element that Canadian Muslims and Arabs abhor as much as the rest of Canada does.
B'nai Brith Canada
Ignoring Israeli atrocities
that ellie kirzner's thoughtful criticism of B'nai Brith managed to elicit such virulent attacks from Michael Keegan and S. Grant is evidence of the climate of political paroxysm in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.
It is true that these attacks were terrible, but this does not justify irrationality. Kirzner warns against groups like B'nai Brith using and, at the same time, encouraging this climate for their own propagandistic purposes.
Rochelle Wilner's view that the problem with Palestinians is that they have no "culture of peace" manages to ignore the realities faced, on the ground, by the Palestinian people. Kirzner is also correct to point out B'nai Brith's inconsistent attitude when it comes to terrorism and their failure to condemn the terrorism of Meir Kahane's son.
NOW's level of commentary in the wake of the attacks in the U.S. gives reason to hope that we can avoid descending into the type of hysteria that some, including some readers, would like to promote.
M. Moreno and P. Cavers, Toronto
Ads that offend the senses
i strongly object to the perfumed advertisement that came as an insert in the latest issue. My whole house smelled for hours. I am extremely allergic to the chemicals in perfume, as are many people these days. You have so many articles about the environment in your magazine, but have you considered the environment of your own publication and the offices you work in?
Julia Hattori, Toronto
Life's a beach... er, playa
i head up media operations for Burning Man. Just one question. Who told you that the area is called "the beach"? It's the "playa." That's what the federal Bureau of Land Management calls it. That's what the locals call it. And that's what we call it. I think the last time anyone called it the beach was during the Pleistocene age, when there actually was one. Otherwise, a fine story.
Burning Man 2002
Thank god for politics
i breathed a sigh of relief when the Bob Hunter affair hit the fan. I had been afraid that the terrorist attacks would so consume us that we could never escape their awful shadow. But things are slowly creeping back to normal. Politics have returned, with all their noble grandeur, and we can finally get out of this depressing funk we've been in.
Clearly, it's vital that we know whether Hunter is a gifted satirist, a self-indulgent roué or a man more sinned against than sinning. Thank god for politics for lifting us all up.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto