MAIL BAG

‘To call the Non-Aligned Movement anti-Western is journalistic nonsense'

October 9 2006
MAIL BAG

‘To call the Non-Aligned Movement anti-Western is journalistic nonsense'

October 9 2006

‘To call the Non-Aligned Movement anti-Western is journalistic nonsense'

MAIL BAG

THEGG’S MISFORTUNES

WHEN I SAW your cover (“Public life, private tragedy,” Sept. 25), my first impulse was to throw Maclean’s into the recycling box unread. As far as I’m concerned, while she was governor general Adrienne Clarkson betrayed the trust of the Canadian people with her excessive spending. Apparently, she has had some misfortunes in her life. At least she has that in common with many Canadians.

Hans Schmiedeberg, Hamilton

I READ the excerpt of Clarkson’s memoir with great interest. But why would a writer as erudite as Mme. Clarkson end with this jarring sentence: “The love between us, my daugh-

ters and I, never actually disappeared, and has returned radiantly, now”? Being perfectly bilingual, I am sure that in French she would write, “Entre mes filles et moi!’

Hanka Martin, Calgary

CLARKSON is quoted as saying, “The system ain’t broke, but it could still do with fixing” (“It’s time to vote for the Governor General,” From the editors, Sept. 25). I agree. Perhaps she will start by repaying some of the money she wasted during her term. Moreover, if the British monarchy wishes to be represented here, it could consider underwriting the costs of maintaining this useless, egregiously expensive bit of anachronistic imperialism. Michael McCartney, Toronto

TO USE THE PHRASE “the role of the British monarchy in our parliamentary system” is in error because the monarchy that exists is

a Canadian monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and the monarchy is a Canadian institution that belongs to Canada and to Canadians, no matter that we share the institution and the monarch with other countries. Is the Pope more relevant and important to Italian Catholics?

John Thévenot, Deux-Montagnes, Que.

THE GIFT OF LANGUAGES

I HAVE READ with great interest the recent articles on education (“Homework is killing our kids,” Cover, Sept. 11). But in the article by Cathy Gulli on schooling kids early (“How young is too young?” Sept, ll), one sentence stopped me short: “An early learning program developed by a Duke University professor even has five-year-olds deconstructing sentences and speaking foreign languages.” Granted, deconstructing sentences surprises me, too, but early childhood is the only time in a child’s life when he or she has the chance of acquiring languages on a mother-tongue level. It is virtually impossible for children learning a language after the age of 11 to ever be as proficient, familiar or idiomatic in that language as they are in their mother tongue. Early language acquisition is one of the greatest gifts parents can bestow on their children. Mayken Brünings, Vincennes, France

‘PEACEFUL NATIONS’ IN NAM

TO CALL the Non-Aligned Movement “virulently anti-Western” is journalistic nonsense (“Tyrants of the Caribbean,” World, Sept. 25). As you report, over 115 nations form NAM, almost as many as belong to the United Nations. They include the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. Do you really consider their leaders tyrants? What about Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait? South Africa? Curiously, your article seems to take pleasure in portraying Cuba especially as a rogue nation. I have travelled extensively in Cuba, and found the people to be highly educated, articulate and healthy. They love Canadians and respect our government. Many Canadian firms are doing business there. Certainly Cuba has never been a threat to Canadian interests. Please, folks, let’s stick with what we know is right: respecting the sovereignty of peaceful nations, even if their ideology is different from ours.

Birgitta Wilson, Wasaga Beach, Ont.

GLASS HOUSES AND STONES

I AM HALFWAY converted to anti-Canadianism (“A cornucopia of anti-Americanism,” Books, Sept. 11). I appreciated this Mark Steyn column as a reminder that no country is immune to screwing up. We as Canadians rarely dwell on our own mistakes, like martial law in Quebec and our horrendous treatment of Japanese Canadians. Author M. Scott Peck put forth the scary truth that we scapegoat others when we ourselves have evil that we don’t want to face. This could include the Democrats scapegoating the Republicans, or Canadians scapegoating Americans. Maybe our neighbours are just attempting to level the world’s playing field. I wish we had the strength to do something of the same rather than step-

ping in late to a war while continuing to talk about peacekeeping.

Miriam Rashleigh, Three Hills, Alta.

WET ON WRIGHT

I REALLY LIKE what you have done to the magazine. There is always something edifying in each issue. But in the nugget about the new Frank Lloyd Wright book The Fellowship (“Finally a book about... an architect’s cult,” Sept. Il), I would like to point out that one of his “greatest buildings” is not called Fallingbrook; it is Fallingwater.

Bill McGrath, London, Ont.

GREENPEACE EXPLAINS

WE’RE SURPRISED that your article on the reactions of locals to Greenpeace in northern Brazil didn’t delve into the complexities of soya, Santarém and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (“Forest grumpy,” Environment, Sept. 11). Santarém is inhabited by those who have lived in the region for generations, and “soy rush” prospectors from the south. In these remote places, corruption is

commonplace and communities have seen their landscape irrevocably change. Where there was standing rainforest—good for harvesting nuts, oils and other products—there are now soya fields. The promised jobs have never arrived because the industry is highly mechanized. And it’s not just Santarém. Throughout the Amazon basin, enormous bites are being taken out of the rainforest, destroying biodiversity and destabilizing the world’s climate. For these reasons the biggest soy traders in the world agreed, after international and local pressure by Greenpeace, to no new deforestation for soya production for the next two years. Further, they have promised to address illegalities such as land theft to ensure soya grown in deforested areas is done so lawfully.

Annette Cotter, Deputy Campaign Director, Greenpeace Brazil, Manaus, Brazil, and Richard Brooks, Forest Campaign Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada, Vancouver

CLANDESTINE SUPPORT

SEAN M. MALONEY’S ARTICLE (“Big trouble with the neighbours,” World, Sept, ll) was an excellent analysis of the situation in both Afghanistan and the Middle East, especially when he wrote, “yet all of us who study insurgency know that outside support networks will have to be destroyed if we are to achieve peace in southern Afghanistan.” It’s a small jump to the Middle East, both literally and figuratively. Not only nations like Iran and Syria, who openly arm and finance terrorists, must be stopped, but anyone in the area or elsewhere who sends funds, either directly to families of the so-called martyrs, or to the functionaries of Hamas or Fatah. Further, those who condemned Israel out of real concern that Israel overreacted should consider that, although Israel did bomb the airport runways and some infrastructure, it could have pulverized Beirut’s power grid and destroyed the airport terminal. The civilian casualties should be laid at the feet of those responsible—the terrorists and their supporters both direct and indirect. Howard Blank, Montreal

IT’S A TREMENDOUS relief to find your cleareyed, accurate analysis of Canada’s military place in recent and current history in our national media. A steady diet of headlinegrabbing TV shots of wailing families, and the beer-parlour logic that infests radio talk shows, seem to be shifting public opinion and stampeding the general public. In my youth, Canadians were willing to pay a severe price to stand against manifest evil and injustice. Now, we seem lost. We profess neutrality, innocence and peacekeeping as national ideals, while we excuse religious zealots bent on killing infidels by whatever means. Although the shape and identity of the threat has changed, it is still powered by racial and religious fanaticism, this time supported by illiteracy and ignorance. Maloney cuts through the fog, to his—and your—great credit. Garry Gaudet, Lantzville, B.C.

‘Too bad Alexandre Trudeau was not in his father’s shoes at the time of the FLQ crisis. Our civil rights might have been better protected.’

NOTHING TO FEAR BUT...

CONGRATULATIONS TO Alexandre Trudeau for a very lucid and enlightening article on the need to control and defeat the fearpsychosis created by terrorism (“We have to defeat fear,” World, Sept.ll). Too bad Alexandre was not in his father’s shoes at the time of the October 1970 FLQ crisis. Our civil rights and freedoms might have been better protected.

Yves L. Fortin, Manotick, Ont.

IF ALEXANDRE TRUDEAU wanted to film a documentary about detention without trial, surely he would have more abundant material by visiting the land of his idol, Fidel Castro. Canada’s handful of detainees would

hardly get a laugh from the thug in Havana. It’s not fear we have to defeat, Alexandre, it’s the enemy.

David Swanson, Markham, Ont.

THE ONLY THING we have to fear is another Trudeau in Canadian politics.

Kevin G. McDonald, Halifax

‘WORTHLESS CALUMNY’

I FIND it absolutely unacceptable that you would permit a biased individual like Paul Wells to prevaricate so blatantly about the job that Bob Rae did as premier of Ontario (“Can’t we pay them to go home?” National, Sept. 25). Wells states, “Rae may have come pretty close to running Ontario into the ground in the 1990s.” This opinion constitutes worthless, partisan calumny! The North American recession that began at the end of the 1980s has been described by a number of respected economists as being second only to the Great Depression in its severity. A variety of factors over which Rae had no control made bringing prosperity to Ontario in the early ’90s impossible. Wells must know this. If they are even reasonably knowledgeable, Maclean's editors must know it too. In fact, the Rae government prevented conditions from deteriorating even further than they did. Show some respect for the facts.

John Carrick, Scarborough, Ont.