Not for sensitive souls
my old friend ellie kirzner goes to services at a downtown synagogue and doesn't like what the rabbi has to say (NOW, November 1-7). Now there's a story.
Kirzner is obviously upset that she hears support for the campaign against terror -- whether it's against bin Laden's gang or Hamas and its willing hosts (the Taliban and Yasser Arafat). Not for sensitive souls, but worth a column, eh?
As for her desire to see the "occupation" come to an end, why not direct these remarks to Arafat? He had every chance to do exactly that last year by responding positively to the initiatives put forward by Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton. Instead, Arafat not only said no -- and thereby sabotaged the historic opportunity to both end the century-old conflict and give his people a chance to build a nation -- but then responded with a campaign of violence and terror. Kirzner might want to keep this in mind as she prays for peace.
Director, Public Policy Canadian Jewish Congress
Troubling tribal truths
ellie kirzner's article offered a glimpse into the everyday machinations of war.
We can all understand certain aspects of tribalism, such as America's current impulse for revenge, or the Muslim world's deep-rooted disdain for the West. We can even rationalize the German people's affair with Nazism a generation ago.
However, understanding the human weakness behind hatred and tribalism should not dampen our resolve to root it out.
On the contrary, it should make it harder to watch passively as history repeats itself. The closer we are to a set of tribal mythologies, the more critical our role in transforming them must be and the more our vigilance is required.
If there ever was a need for thinking, feeling individuals to stand up to their hardline leaders, it's now.
Joe Carubba, Toronto
being someone who has been involved in interracial relationships, I found the article When White Is Right (NOW, November 1-7) brought back many uncomfortable memories.
It is the hope of every interracial couple, at least in their own interrelations, to rise above the racial superficiality of society at large. Interracial couples are perhaps the best example of racial harmony.
However, it is a fact that we live in a dominantly white-controlled power structure that favors its kind above all others. Since relationships are about sharing, how can one or both partners of an interracial couple avoid relating the effects of their oppression to each other?
Eliah Holiday, Toronto
Kipling said it best
re when white is right. "oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet/Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat."
Stephen Puschuk, Toronto
Ad copy for the radical left
i found emily pohl-weary's review of Radical Action (NOW, November 1-7) very entertaining.
Well written and slick, it moves like ad copy for the radical left. The last paragraph is especially unintelligent: "You feel that something terrible is going to happen to Hansen as a result of writing this book."
Are CNN's thought police going to take away her autographed Noam Chomsky library card? I consider myself part of the centre left and find this type of vacant politicized posturing on the part of the far left to be a more severe form of propaganda than what I have read in corporate media. The pertinent difference is that few people outside "the movement" listen to what the far left is saying, mostly because they don't find the radical left's comic-book proselytizing as entertaining as I do. That is why no one is going to do anything despicable to Hansen as a result of her writing this book, except maybe not read it.
Mark Rubinoff, Toronto
Eco car that beats bikes
re giving in to fashion junkies (NOW, November 1-7). All of us at Feel Good Cars hope that our zero-emission electric vehicles will positively change the world. In a little way, each one does.
Every electric vehicle that replaces an internal combustion car eliminates its toxic tailpipe and carbon monoxide emissions from our smog-poisoned cities. That's 650 pounds of pollutants per car per year.
Innovation paves the way for more innovation. We support efforts to eliminate pollution and non-sustainable methods of generating electricity. We think bicycles are a great form of zero-emission transportation. The reality is that bicycles and public transportation, for a variety of reasons, cannot meet everyone's transportation needs.
It takes less new steel to restore our Dauphine Electric than it does to manufacture a new bicycle. That makes us feel pretty good.
President, Feel Good Cars Inc.
No faith justifies murder
amal ahmed is absolutely right when he points out that the Bible is never mentioned in connection with the activities of groups like the KKK (NOW, October 25-31).
What he fails to acknowledge is that the KKK and their ilk, however malevolent, are an extremely marginalized faction in North American society. I don't see thousands of Christians rioting in support of racist murderers or openly threatening unbelievers.
Bin Laden and his followers, rightly or wrongly, use their faith to justify attacks on innocent civilians. Even if their interpretation is a gross perversion of the Koran, you can't simply claim they are somehow totally separate from the societies in which they exist.
Jaspal Gill, Toronto
Next on U.S. hit list
the president and his two most trusted prime ministers gloat about their destructive prowess against a defenceless, half-starved country half the size of Ontario.
Photographs of shattered apartment buildings and hospitals prove them right. Civilians walking their goats and sheep who mistook the falling bombs for food parcels and rushed to collect them. This war is one more victory for Anglo-Saxon barbarism -- unchallenged since AD550 -- and another setback for civilization. Which of their present-day allies will be the next "faceless cowardly enemy" -- Saudi Arabia or Pakistan?
Rudolf Manook, Toronto
No pro-Israeli rhetoric here
in bashing the UN (now, october 18-24), Enzo Di Matteo accuses B'nai Brith of "pumping up... pro-Israel rhetoric" because it holds the UN culpable for its shameful concealment of a videotape taken by UN peacekeepers relating to the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers.
Does NOW not find it troubling that the UN concealed its findings from a member state of the organization because it was concerned that this might affect its "image" in the eyes of the Hezbollah, a terrorist group with which the UN presumably has no relationship? Instead of questioning this outrageous blunder and calling for greater accountability from the UN, the article attempts to belittle B'nai Brith's concerns solely on the basis of a somewhat lame statement by a UN spokesperson: "The secretary-general ordered an investigation and we found that there had not been a cover-up."
Kofi Annan himself went on public record with quite a different story following the August 6, 2001, release of the Report Of Enquiry into the incident. He not only regretted the "serious errors of judgment" and "serious shortcomings in internal communication within the UN," but undertook "to tighten up these procedures with a view to ensuring that such lapses in assessment and communication -- within the UN chain of command and between the UN and member governments -- do not recur."
It is entirely appropriate to censure the UN for its behaviour and to question whether such an organization indeed deserves the high accolade of a Nobel Peace Prize.
B'nai Brith Canada, Toronto
Watered down protest
i would like to thank you for Stuart Duncan's report (NOW, September 27-October 3) on the latest efforts by the Chinese consulate on St. George to force Falun Gong practitioners to end their peaceful protest.
One may ask why the Chinese consulate is resorting to tactics like soaking peaceful protestors with their water sprinklers and constructing a plywood wall around the consulate for some vaguely described construction or landscaping project.
This Small Wall of China is yet another indication that the Chinese government is feeling uncomfortable. If, as they say, they have nothing to feel guilty about, why would they be resorting to these tactics?
Michael Mahonen, Toronto
Newspapers killing trees
congratulations on 20 years. i'll bet your circulation has doubled because of all your "better than top copy" readers. Digging with such consumer vigour, chasing some mythical... elusive... different copy. Heads empty of the results of their actions. Sending tons of dead tree pulp through the windy streets.
Kevan Maddison, Toronto
Reader's poll needs reno
after the florida voting fiasco, we thought it could never happen again. Then along came NOW's Readers Poll. How do you safeguard against ballot-box stuffing? Does anyone even check the reliability of the winners? Apparently not. Your choice for Best Renovator blew me away.
Last year I hired this person to renovate my kitchen. Without boring you with the grizzly details, I was left to hire new contractors to complete the job.
So I'm sure you can understand my shock when I read the results of your poll. If you're going to attach your name to these polls, I feel you should take some responsibility. Based on the number of times I've seen NOW certificates in restaurant windows, it's apparent that other people take them seriously.
Sue Cormack, Toronto
(Editor's note: NOW screens all ballots to ensure there's no stuffing, including those sent in online.)