Both Andrew Cash's and Len Desroches's articles on Jim Loney's work and his blessed return to Canada (NOW, March 30-April 5) were excellent. They caught the meaning of Jim's work better than anything I have seen in the mainstream media, which, as Andrew Cash laments, just don't get it.
Your two articles went far beyond being appropriate expressions of gratitude and relief, for they caught the potential political (Cash) and the actual religious (Desroches) meaning of Jim's witness and life and of the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Many thanks to both authors.
Paint me naive
I just read Andrew Cash's A Hostage Comes Home, which was forwarded to me by e-mail. I just want to say thank you!!
I have been frustrated by the media's take on this issue, having read Margaret Wente's version of events and heard various spins on news radio that paint peace activists as at best as naive and bumbling, and at worst as promoting the violence of insurgents.
Thanks for opening an articulate discussion on the ways in which we want to live in this world.
Kennetcook, Nova Scotia
Peaceniks stay home
I disagree with claims that the Christian Peacemakers are not naive. The Muslims of Iraq do not want Christian Peacemakers coming to their country to make peace any more than they wanted a Christian army to rid them of Saddam Hussein or create a democratic government. Christian Peacemakers might as well have arrived in Iraq wearing signs reading (in Arabic) "I'm a Christian; please kill me."
I was amused by the suggestion in Len Desroches's piece on what Loney's ordeal taught us about God.
Actually, I did not see any angels with flaming swords descend from heaven to rescue the Christian Peacekmakers. If that had happened, my religious faith would have been greatly enhanced.
I am, of course, very pleased that James Loney is back. Perhaps, as a gay Christian activist, he can in the future devote his efforts to much needed reforms of Christian homophobia here in Canada.
Flaming flip of the finger
Here's a big flip of the finger to the Flaming Lips (NOW, March 30-April 5) over how they handled their Toronto show.
To book only one show in a city the size of Toronto, and to hold it in an undersized venue like the Phoenix, is nothing but disrespectful to the thousands of devoted fans who've been waiting for their return since their equipment blew out at Massey Hall a few years back. Way to support the scalpers, guys!
Maybe next time you can use that mailing list on your website for announcing gigs rather than just flogging merchandise.
Seeing street art holistically
I was truly discouraged to read about the city destroying the small piece of charming street art (NOW, March 30-April 5) that has graced the corner of King and Simcoe for many years.
For years I passed by the work and the homeless man who created it. I often saw people stop and acknowledge it.
In future, I hope the city can learn to see art and community in a more holistic way.
Watching artists busy at work at Harbourfront Centre is wonderful, but it's also an art zoo of sorts. Citizens should be able to engage in art in informal ways that do not involve money and bureaucracy.
Island Airport takes a flyer
I'm afraid that the only possible insight provided by Turboprop Flop (NOW, March 29-April 5) is just how little the author knows about aviation.
Who seriously believes that aircraft will be weaving between condominiums like some sort of slalom course to land at the Island Airport? Racing above the CNE low enough to clip flagpoles and trees?
Just for the record, the takeoff and landing paths of the Island Airport don't even pass over the mainland.
My only feeling as to why the Q400 is most frequently involved in bird strikes is because of the low noise level of the engine. It's so quiet, the birds can't even hear it coming!
If you think this sounds ridiculous, chances are you've never heard one for yourself.
When was the last time anybody actually stopped to consider the positive effects of the airport?
Stylemeister a gay cowboy?
I want to thank letter writer Chris S. for taking the time to share that informative, insightful, transphobic, classist, critical analysis of My Style (NOW, March 23-29).
I was not aware that My Style was called "put on your most expensive clothes to impress Chris S."
I was not told to wear my "best" clothes. I'm not sure if you're writing as an offended gay cowboy or a pissed-off metrosexual.
Please feel free to forward some photos of your style to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm sorry I didn't wear my $200 sneakers and name-drop designer labels and instead chose to highlight local artists. I'm also sorry I didn't include where I get my manicures and facials done.
I don't usually have people gasping in horror at the clothes I choose to leave my house in, but then again, maybe you think I rarely leave my bubble of Parkdale.
If you're ever in the neighbourhood, you can catch me at the Gladstone on Wednesday nights. I'll be the one looking broke waiting for you to buy me a drink. Cheers!
Ex doesn't mark the G-spot
Re Love & Sex: Guess What? Even Though We Haven't Dated For Years, He Hasn't Changed A Bit (NOW, March 30-April 5). Tammy, you couldn't be more right.
About a year ago I ran into an ex-boyfriend and we ended up having a few drinks and a very intense conversation.
After too many pints to count, I bolted, unable to deal with how I was feeling. The experience left me confused and had me questioning why I had broken up with him.
Fast-forward to last weekend, when I ran into him again... with his girlfriend. Seeing him with another woman gave me the ability to see him objectively.
It was a major "aha" moment. Egads, what an arse!
The next day I woke up relieved, feeling like I'd dodged a bullet.
Filth passing for housing
Re Take Shelter (NOW, March 23 - 29). In the last four weeks I've seen more than 50 places to live. The majority were not only overpriced but illegal - shoeboxes with no windows, ceilings I couldn't stand up under, mouse-infested holes going for $750 to more than $1,100 a month plus utilities. It made me sad.
I believe the city should send investigators to look at places listed in the classified sections of newspapers, viewit.ca, Craigslist and others and see the absolute filth that's passing for housing.
Harris's housing legacy
I wanted to write a note to say thank you for Building Our Own by Wayne Roberts (NOW, March 23-29). I know that, given the chance, many renters would definitely opt for building their own home.
It inspires me to know that there was once a program in Canada that allowed for such a thing.
The (illegal) basement apartment we (two kids and two adults) now rent ironically was rented to Mike Harris's son before us.
I guess Harris's decisions a decade ago have come back to haunt his family. Poor Mikey Jr.
Thanks for critiquing the continuing co-op funding crisis, including the subsidy crisis, in Toronto (NOW, March 23-29).
The refusal of the Martin Liberals and now the right-wing Harper government to provide sufficient financial support to co-ops has meant a drastic reduction in the number of subsidized apartments that co-ops can offer low-income and homeless people. Stanley Knowles, where I live, was forced to close its long waiting list for several years. It's now open for two-bedroom units only.
I blame Liberal MPs like the arrogant, do-nothing Joe Volpe, who supposedly represents Eglinton-Lawrence, and former Liberal housing minister Joe Fontana for failing to pressure CMHC to repeal its outdated and unjust housing formula, which penalizes many co-ops when renegotiating their mortgage.
More government excuses and delays from Harper and his right-wing cronies will unfortunately result in many more homeless and sick people, including thousands of children, forced to survive in disease-ridden and violent shelters and on our mean streets.
Goose flying "V" for victory
Goose may be on the menu (NOW, March 23-29), but it sure ain't cooked. The gaggle of local NDP endorsements on Tam Goossen's website is a clear indication that she is leading the NDP flock in V formation toward a city council seat in November.
Bin there, done that
Although it's a small point, I'd just like to correct letter-writer Mike Troy's statement (NOW, March 16-22) that in London they've been removing the bins from the underground because of the terrorist threat.
Yes, it is the case that you can't find a bin on the underground, but it's not a recent change. They were removed many years ago because of the IRA terrorist threat.
While I'm not fond of the design of Toronto's new garbage bins, I would like to salute the city for the fact that every bin has recycling.
What bins you can find in London have no recycling.
Black future in good hands
Kudos to now for profiling six inspiring black youth in your cover story The Faces Remaking Black Toronto (NOW, February 23-March 1).
I had the privilege of meeting Tonika Morgan last fall when she was a guest speaker at the North York Women's Centre's annual general meeting. She put me in touch with Rahel Appiagyei, whom we ended up hiring to facilitate the theatre project you profiled in the article.
Our future is in good hands!
Thank you for showing us so.
North York Women's Centre