Losing sight of our legacy
john bacher's brief analysis of the current world crisis, Suspicious Allies (NOW, September 27-October 3), is the most informative piece I've read.
It shows clearly the nature of the conflict at the ideological level: Jefferson meets al-Wahhab, contending versions of 18th-century revolutionary Puritanism.
As Canadians, we should be in an excellent position to contribute a mediating perspective to this conflict, as our roots in the 18th century are quite different -- evolutionary constitutional monarchy.
Unfortunately, we have so lost sight of this legacy in the last 40 years that it is doubtful that we will do more than just jump on the U.S. bandwagon.
Instructor in Canadian Studies
Bin Laden the blasphemer
regarding christopher hitchens's excellent article, Apologies To My Friends (NOW, September 27-October 3).Islam is not evil. Anyone who commits evil and claims to do so in the name of Islam is a blasphemer.
Bin Laden and his followers are hypocrites who use Islam as a means of promoting totalitarian dictatorship. Most of the "anti-war" activists would probably kiss bin Laden's anus, just as they would have kissed the communists' anuses during the Cold War.
Oliver Downs, Toronto
Islam forgives and forgets
since the levelling of the world Trade Center, only one of thousands of photographs printed in newspapers stands out: schoolgirls in Tehran lighting candles and saying prayers for the dead Americans.
That photograph shows clearly the superiority of Islam and its philosophy based on love and compassion.
While Jews keep on saying they will "never forget" and Christians hang big flags in New York proudly declaring that they will "never forget," Iranians have already forgotten their million dead in the Iran-Iraq war -- a war engineered and encouraged by the U.S.
Rudolf Manook, Toronto
i read some of dan savage's letters from those who can't get back to their "regular" sex habits because they're still so sad about New York City. (NOW, October 4-10). Dan's advice was to get over it -- life is for the living.
Good answer. Another might be that maybe it's a good thing now and again to be overcome by feelings of compassion for others, of wanting to help (and indeed actually helping) others instead of focusing on one's own strictly private pleasures.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
The day my bubble burst
i owe an apology. first, and foremost, I owe an apology to my boyfriend, Lt. William Beardmore, of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. But on a much grander scale, I owe an apology to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.
I, like many of my fellow Canadians, have reaped the benefits of a carefree life, never questioning my safety or fully appreciating the rights, freedoms and liberties that are taken for granted on a daily basis.
The tragic events that took place on September 11 have forced me to realize that I have been living in a bubble of naivete and ignorance.
I have always felt, upon the rare occasion that I actually stopped to think about such matters, that there was no place for the military in a modern-day democratic and peaceful society such as ours. I could not have been more wrong. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I have pleaded with my boyfriend to leave the military, tried to convince him that the cause he so vehemently believes in doesn't exist.
Tara Schmidt , Toronto
Clever stew of half-truths
a friend, ursula hart, who runs an animal sanctuary near Palgrave, Ontario, telephoned to tell me of Gerald Hannon's article about animal mutilation for the sake of art (NOW, September 27-October 3). I've just now read it as much as I could.
Hannon's a provocative guy. Much of his reasoning holds water if one is a cold academic. Sort of.
Art must be free and unencumbered. Where I draw the line is acts of cruelty or torture or murder.
We've already got the Holocaust on film. Rodney King's on videotape. So why on earth do we need new Mengeles to prove and remind us that humans are the lowest life form?
Hannon's clever stew of half-truths hurts me. Isn't there enough terror these days?
Mendelson Joe, Toronto
Needles don't hurt public
jill maloney bemoans the seasonal plight of low-income smokers who are forced from coffee shops and end up indoors alone when winter approaches (NOW, October 4-10).
She feels the need for understanding and some kind of accommodation, pointing out that though we recognize the harm in chemical addictions, we still provide needle exchanges to minimize "nasty side effects."
The comparison between cigarette smokers and junkies, however, misses an important point. In the case of cigarette smoke, non-smokers in the vicinity suffer the nastiness, too.
Addictions that limit their immediate impact to the addicted should be treated differently than ones that harm innocent bystanders. That's why these laws we're passing attempt to rid coffee shops and bars of smoke, but not of caffeine and alcohol.
Providing other options for smokers is a good idea, but they shouldn't stand in the way of laws that protect public air space from toxic fumes.
Ashok Charles, Toronto
NOW not so bike-friendly
last thursday i witnessed a now delivery truck stopped in a bicycle lane and no-stopping zone.
I confronted the driver, who said she felt justified in order to save time and trouble. I phoned to complain to your vice-president of operations, and his attitude was the same. He agreed only to tell his drivers to avoid blocking bicycle lanes "when they can." This makes hypocrisy of any and all bicyclist-friendly articles in NOW.
In Bike Lanes Great For Parking (NOW, November 23-29, 2000), Nicholas Garrison asked, "Who are the law-breaking, exhaust-emitting individuals who daily make life hell for cyclists? What are they thinking?" I pose those same questions to NOW delivery truck drivers.
John Porter, Toronto
Jack's the name, you dick
though we have been told by many of the musicians covered in our book that your touching review (NOW, September 27-October 3) should be regarded as a career affirmation, I have only one true concern should you at NOW choose to review any of my future work: please make sure you spell my last name correctly. I'm not sure who Mr. Ian A.D. Dick is. And I realize the last name "Jack" is tricky, but I believe recognizing the letters of the alphabet is a prerequisite to writing book reviews.
Jack co-author, Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance
ABCs of slagging sushi
on the whole, it must be more
interesting and productive to publish well-reasoned and thoughtful letters rather than unsupported and malicious diatribes such as Bill Pong's (Just Plain Stupid Sushi, NOW, October 4-10).
His letter could probably serve an educational purpose, as an example of how not to write a letter. (At least there were no death threats -- or did you edit those out?)
Pong disagrees with your favourable review of Sushi-Time, yet he does not see fit to tell us anything at all about why he dislikes that restaurant, not so much as a single word.
Instead, he devotes his letter to an expression of utter loathing and hatred for NOW.
What's the big deal?
Was Pong served poisoned sushi?
David Palter, Toronto