THE MAIL

THE MAIL

Sudhir Jam, Calgary June 21 2004
THE MAIL

THE MAIL

Sudhir Jam, Calgary June 21 2004

THE MAIL

‘We need a better explanation for the inconvenience of this early election. If you ask this old Liberal, Paul Martin deserves to lose for this reason alone.’ -sudhiMam.caigary

Sudhir Jam, Calgary

The people’s politics

I have voted in every election since the 1960s. However, over the years it has become painfully obvious that there is little point in doing so. In his June 7 Back Page column “The super-sized campaign,” Paul Wells summed up completely my feelings when he wrote, “If there is no relation between a candidate’s words and his actions, then voting becomes a literally meaningless act.” This is the reason I have no intention of voting in this federal election. It has come to the point where no differences exist among the parties: they all will not adhere to what they say. They all rely on the short memories of the electorate. True, you can cast a vote to keep a party out of power, but who do you bring in? The one you have kept out of power? What’s the point?

L. W. Dwemychuk, Vancouver

I will be deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election. What would happen to Canadian sovereignty? Would Canada become the 51st state? What concerns me most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong. If Stephen Harper had been prime minister, our troops would have been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction. They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction. If Harper wins on June 28 and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that America is now going to “liberate” another nation, I wonder what would be his reaction?

Abubakar Kasim, Toronto

Sigh. Such a mess. I do not like what the Liberals have done with our tax money (“Martinizing the message,” Campaign 2004, June 7). But I don’t trust Stephen Harper. I have been able to vote for 30 years, and for the first time I may join my younger counterparts who do not vote at all. I am fed up with the whole mess. If we could vote for the Prime Minister separately that might help. Scott Brown, Lanigan, Sask.

I’ve just received my June 7 issue of Maclean’s, which carries a banner across the cover that reads “10 Lost Years” in reference to the Liberals’ stay in power. I sincerely hope that in the name of fair play we see an article showing the best of the past 10 years of the Liberal government.

Joe Stevens, Toronto

In your ongoing discussion of the parties and their promises, you seem to have forgotten the Green party. With 308 candidates and, according to current polls, at least five per cent voter support nationally, they really should be mentioned. Canadians

would be interested to know there is a real alternative to the Big Three and what that alternative stands for.

Sheilah MacDonald, Toronto

War stories

I’m writing in reference to Rudyard Griffiths’ article commemorating D-Day entitled “When memory fades to black: who will inspire us to greatness after all the war heroes have died? How will we remember?” (Cover, June 7). Good questions. Of course, there will be a time in history when the Second World War will hardly be remembered. However, if inspiration comes from wars, our civilization will never lack inspiration. My inspiration, though, comes from people who make a positive difference because of their activities in human rights, medicine, the environment, etc. For those wounded physically or psychologically in war, I don’t feel inspired. Instead, I feel regret, sorrow and sympathy. Louise Whitaker, Kelowna, B.C.

In Rudyard Griffiths’ article, the author addresses the vital question of how to keep the memory of the heroism and sacrifice of D-Day alive once the veterans are gone. The answer is through education. As a daughter-in-law of a D-Day vet and both a student and teacher of history, I believe the only way to encourage and develop an appreciation for past events is through the teaching of these events. If we expect the children of today and future generations to understand the impact of D-Day and other history-shaping times, it is imperative that we accentuate and explore the lives lost, the lessons learned and the legacies left. Marking the 60 th anniversary of D-Day through various forms of media and memorial celebrations is key to the perpetuation of the memory. It is through the tragic lessons of the past that we can truly learn to embrace the future. Thank you to those both past and present who serve to make this world a better place for all of us.

Jennifer Morrison, Windham Centre, Ont.

Your D-Day edition left me shaken. My father is one of those, who in Anthony WilsonSmith’s words, “blessed the rest of us with their rich, full and generous lives” (“Death as a way of life,” The Editor’s Letter, June 7). A D-Day veteran, he returned home with a positive mention in official dispatches that he told us was for “brushing his teeth

Oh, those gas prices! I

There may be a silver lining at the pump

Not everyone believes paying more to run your car is a bad thing (“Pumped up over gas, May 24). Take Kara Savas of Hamilton. “Has anyone stopped to think,” she asks, “that maybe we don’t need to drive as much as we do?” Why not take an environmentally friendly and healthy stroll to the store instead? “Might as well,” she adds, “since prices aren’t getting lower.”

every morning.” Such self-effacing, evasive humour characterized his rare war remembrances. Now, as Alzheimer’s disease devastates the memory of this brilliant, witty theologian and writer to the point where he no longer knows his children, his sleep is sometimes haunted by the ghosts of battle. He is of the generation that buried its trauma deep and got on with the business of living vigorously and compassionately. I honestly don’t know how they managed. Leslie Davidson, Grand Forks, B.C.

I am a little disappointed in Jonathon Gatehouse’s article about Canada’s willingness to go to war (“What would you die for?” Cover, June 7). He appears to question our ability to commit to war for moral reasons. But morals change over time much like all things in life. It should be applauded that Canadians today feel trepidation about going to war. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to go to war in Iraq. This war wasn’t even UNsanctioned. But if a foreign army were to storm Canadian shores, I am positive all

able-bodied Canadians would throw themselves into the line of fire.

Jeff Buchanan, Sarnia, Ont.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of the cover picture of a soldier, apparently intent on someone else’s death, and the question,

“What would you die for?” on your June 7 edition. Implicit in your cover layout is an unasked question, “What would you kill for?” The cover seems to assume that the answers to both questions are the same. But as demonstrated powerfully by the historic photo of the lone protestor in front of the tanks in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, reprinted in your June 14 issue, they are not the same questions at all. For my part, there are some things for which I would consider dying, but I cannot currently identify anything for which I would kill.

Keith Regehr, Kitchener, Ont.

I’ll tell you what I’d die for: I’d die for the knowledge that no man will ever again take up arms in defence of his “way of life.” In other words, to insure that no man ever dies as a result of submitting to and accepting government propaganda.

Chris Wright, South Surrey, B.C.

Gen. Roméo Dallaire may be excited by the possibility, in Jonathon Gatehouse’s words,

of a “more muscular foreign policy... that would use our military not just to keep peace, but to forcibly export values like multiculturalism, order and good government,” but I am appalled by the idea. Please identify a situation in which an army has been successful in forcing values on others. The idea is preposterous.

Ian Stewart, Fredericton

Liberation days

Can we judge a whole army by what a few rebel soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison have done (“Out of control,” Cover, May 24)? From personal experience I know that Americans are not killers, they stand up for the downtrodden and less fortunate. During the Second World War, my familyrefugees from Russia—lived in one of Austria’s liceand scabies-infested refugee camps. I well remember hearing the cry one May morning in 1945: “The Americans are coming!” As a young girl, I remember feeling afraid. What would happen now? Wild stories circulated about the terrible things Americans would do to us. Imagine our surprise

when American soldiers walked into our camp and, after a brief inspection, ordered a thorough clean-up. In every way, American soldiers treated us with kindness and dignity. A misguided mission today in Iraq? Not when Americans cared enough about freedom to rid the world of dictators like Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Seeing what such an American intervention has done for our family, I’ll be forever grateful they took the risk.

Helen Grace Lescheid, Abbotsford, B.c.

‘Live to work’

All those cited in the article “Over the hill, what hill?” about people who have worked past the retirement age of 65—such as prime ministers Winston Churchill and Paul Martin—were highly motivated and highly successful people who defined them-

selves by their jobs (Society, May 24). Their motto is “live to work.” But there is another segment of society whose motto is “work to live,” whose lives are not defined by their jobs, who have put in years of work and are anxiously awaiting the time when they can collect their earned pensions, relax and enjoy the benefits of cottages, homes, families, hobbies and travel. These are the people who will be denied their just due when the retirement age is rolled forward and pensions erode. What used to be Freedom 55 will soon become Slavery 67.

Bill MacLean, Toronto

Emotional rescue

Alexandre Trudeau suggests that an Israeli soldier behind his cement bunker humiliates an Arab at an entry point by yelling at him to remove his shirt (“Of dust and death,” Middle East, June 14). Suppose, not an unlikely possibility, that this soldier’s brother, cousin or neighbour was killed a month earlier by another Arab at another entry point by way of a bomb carried under the shirt. Would Trudeau still consider this humiliation, or just wisdom?

George Suart, Vancouver

I never seem to have the proper words to describe what Alexandre Trudeau’s articles have meant to me, my close friends and family. Somehow he is able to evoke strong emotions within us, which we ourselves are not able to convey. Telling both sides of the story in his Israeli/Palestinian series has made us feel like we are standing there with him, talking to these people, feeling their struggle. Or, in his Iraqi articles, we feel the helplessness of both sides. Our pity is not only for the Iraqi people, but also for the American soldiers who have no idea what they have gotten themselves into or what they have done. And, finally, in his series on Haiti, when he had to pay for “protection,” it made us think how lucky we truly are. Thank you for bringing the world into our homes, in a manner that made it possible for us to empathize with others.

Faedah Egab, Sudbury, Ont.

Too sexy

I’m very disappointed thaxMaclean’s would publish five pages on “Sex, Sue & celebrity” (Cover, May 17). It’s quite explicit and belongs

Americans cared enough about freedom to rid the world of dictators like Hitler and Saddam Hussein

to Playboy. And nowhere is morality mentioned. These sex educators seem only to inform how to be safe. Where is the chastity? Continue to give us world news and mature articles, but not sexy material.

Dorothy-Jean Jantzen, Saskatoon

Letter writer Glen Gagnon of Ottawa suggests that Sue Johanson’s support of condom use, sex toys and masturbation reflects an indulgent attitude responsible for the health care crisis, mass abortions and sexually transmitted diseases (“Sexual frustration,”

The Mail, June 7). I, however, would like to suggest that it’s the gross lack of information about these topics that leads to those problems.

Derek Tully, Princeton, Ont.

Sex is too intimate and too important a matter to be taught in a school system. One should learn about it in the private and loving environment that only a family can provide at home.

Patrick Supeene, Medicine Hat, Alta.

Tragic strength

Thanks so much for your compassionate look at an incidence of the random violence that is turning parts of our beloved Toronto into places of fear (“Streets of fire,” Ten Lost Years, June 7). I was stirred to learn of the deep faith of the victim’s mother and of the support her religious community gave to her. The ability to find meaning in senseless happenings is so very important to the survivors of tragedy.

Lorraine O’Donnell Williams, Toronto