More cops a provocation
RE Miller's Sudden Switch (NOW, August 18-24). Toronto Mayor David Miller's recent decision to hire 150 more cops is another band-aid move, and another suck-up to police Chief Bill Blair. In Toronto, arguably the most over-policed city in Canada, putting more cops on the street is a provocation to thousands of black youth, aboriginal people, recent immigrants and refugees, and psychiatric survivors. Instead of throwing millions of tax dollars at hiring and training more cops, Miller and city council should be spending it on building desperately needed affordable housing and jobs, as well as more daycare and educational programs for marginalized people.
These social initiatives could help reduce violence. I had assumed Harvard-educated Miller was smart and sensitive enough to know this, but I was wrong.
Gangbangers for life
RE The Case For No Cops (NOW, August 18-24). It is by no means surprising that NOW should be against more police on the streets. Left-wingers have long had a bone to pick with the cops. But with the events of recent weeks, it is ridiculous to claim that more police will not do at least some good.
Crime is not an easy issue, and there is no one answer: just as more police will not guarantee less crime, neither will grassroots initiatives alone.
The programs initiated by the mayor's safety panel are excellent, and as a Ryerson student I am proud that my institution is involved. But gang-bangers for the most part will not abandon their lifestyle for $10-an-hour jobs.
Giving in to peace pipe fears
Thanks for the provocative piece on saliva-borne health risks in native peace pipe ceremonies (NOW, August 18-24). Physical contact is vital for personal and societal health. Infants need it to survive; hugging and massage boost vitality; moderate germ exchange keeps immunity active. Each time we touch, kiss, breathe close, share food or pass the pipe, we grow trust that links us and builds community.
When we want this sharing but are concerned about disease, there's a choice: we can talk, taking up hard questions about health, sexual history, etc, which will actually bring us closer. Or we can give in to fear.
Muslims get no respect
Kudos to Naomi Klein (NOW, August 18-24) for pin pointing the real source of tension in Western-Islamic relations - anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry and racism. We cry over the crimes of Hitler and the Holocaust but say little about the U.S.-UK sanctions that purposely killed Arab Muslim civilians for more than a decade.
We condemn and annually commemorate the killing of 3,000 Americans in New York but fail to condemn the massacres of Muslim civilians in Chechnya, Kashmir, Gujarat, Burma and elsewhere. Klein is absolutely right. How can we expect the Muslim world to respect our civilians if we constantly refuse to respect theirs?
Terrorists the bigots, not us
Naomi Klein's bigotry behind the Bombings is breathtakingly twisted. The thesis is founded in large part on the writings of Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, who condemned America for its "evil and fanatical racial discrimination" yet was happy to receive the master's degree the American system provided. Klein washes over Qutb's misogyny as insignificant, and concludes her article by asserting that if the West heeded the wailing and whining of the Koran followers of Qutb, "it would rob terrorists of what has always been their greatest recruitment tool: our racism." Bullshit. The greatest recruitment tool of terrorists is the proliferation of their own bigotry and racism via videos of decapitations and the writings of Qutb.
Pit perfect sans deodorant
RE Can Eco-friendly Deodorant Do The Job? (NOW, August 18-24). Ecoholics, of course, do not use deodorant!
Deodorants are grossly over-packaged, and even the organic ones are full of unpronounceable ingredients.
Here is the simplest and most effective deodorant I have tried. (Even our teenage son approves.) Coconut oil!!
It does not stop perspiration, but it stops bacteria that produce odour. Just dip your finger in the jar and spread on armpit.
Presto! No odour, no mess.
Lick the rest off your finger or smear it on your face as a moisturizer.
Patricia Meyer Watt, RNCP
I am writing about the fact that Hey Good Cooking was not included in your top 25 vegetarian restaurants (NOW, August 11-17). It has been around since 1987-88, so I'm confused about why it wasn't included. Hey Good Cooking's low prices should be taken into account. Not everybody, and especially your readers, can afford $25-$35 a plate (not including drinks). Just because a restaurant is new doesn't mean it's better. If anything, the ones that have stuck it out deserve the acclaim.
Lost Embrace, lost in shuffle
If Deirdre Swain knew a little bit more about cinema she would realize that Lost Embrace (NOW, August 11-17) was filmed according to the protocol of Dogma 95 that moviemakers like Lars von Trier helped develop. Von Trier won the Palme d'Or at Cannes for Dancer In The Dark and was the brain behind Breaking The Waves. Perhaps knowing that would help Swain find the hand-held camera less "nauseating." Other movies labelled excellent and recommended by NOW with "nauseating" camera movement: The Idiots, Celebration.
Desperately seeking swinger
RE Swinging In New Orleans, by Sonya Cote (NOW, August 11-17). Hey, Sonya, where do I find a woman like you? Love to go to swingers club but haven't found woman who will go with me. I would have loved to be your b/f and watch you with others, then join in. Your b/f is sooooo lucky.
Drinking Bush's bathwater
RE Not An Outlaw Here (NOW, August 4-10). Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, recently kicked the Drug Enforcement Administration out of Venezuela, saying "the DEA's war on drugs has nothing to do with actually shutting down the business, but is rather part of a strategy of political intervention in Latin American affairs." It is clear that the DEA vendetta regarding Marc Emery is also a political intervention. If Venezuelans can have a government that looks after their sovereignty, why are we in Canada stuck with politicians who so much enjoy the flavour of George Bush's bathwater?
Port Alberni, British Columbia
Afghan angst misplaced
Will Kandahar become Canada's Iraq? (NOW, July 28-August 3). No, probably not. Only 120-odd Americans and NATO soldiers have been killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan since 2001, and no Canadians have died in more than 16 months - and it isn't because Afghans see us as an oppressive colonial occupier. As bizarre as it may seem to guilt-stricken Western leftists, most Afghans remember all too well what life was like under the Soviets, the warlords and the Taliban and are more than willing to accept foreign soldiers if it means a better hope for long-term peace. Ever wonder why over 2 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan in the last three years?
Church's condo cash-in
All of us who value our architectural heritage are in your debt for your fine coverage of the threatened St. Stephen-in-the-Fields Church (NOW, July 28-August 3). Unfortunately, this is only the latest episode in a dismal saga in the Anglican diocese's dealing with heritage properties. A few years ago, the authorities at St. James Cathedral tried to sell off a sizable portion of the church site for a towering condo. Only the efforts of a small minority of parishioners and community activists got the proposed behemoth moved across the street. Then, last year, the diocese dissolved the struggling St. Mary of the Virgin, one of the finest churches designed by Eden Smith, and sold it off. It is now slated for conversion into a condo. The province should act now to stop religious denominations from reaping windfall profits by selling off to developers assets that they received from the state and generous believers for charitable use.
Fringe on time
In response to Don Berns's letter, Fringe Afoul (NOW, July 28-August 3), in which he suggests, among other things, "letting latecomers in during scene breaks" at the Fringe. I suggest that he take some personal responsibility and get a watch (preferably the non-chiming type).