MAIL BAG

July 30 2007

MAIL BAG

July 30 2007

MAIL BAG

‘Like Chris, our troops risk dying far from home without seeing a benefit for their efforts’

HARRY, START TO FINISH

YOUR STORY on fan theories and the culture surrounding the July 21 launch of J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was well-researched and thought-provoking (“But she can’t kill Harry!”, Media, July 9). While not every theory you presented is new (for example, the theory that Harry is a Horcrux has been around since Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince two years ago), I definitely appreciate the care writer Brian Bethune took to make this a readable and thoroughly enjoyable article from start to finish.

Noah Tomlin, Toronto

IT’S ASTOUNDING to me that there was no talk of resurrection amongst the theories featured in your article. Almost every story in the series has a device, potion or animal with magical properties that pertain to resurrection. How many times has Voldemort risen again? I don’t question that Harry Potter will die. I just can’t wait to find out how he will be brought back to life.

Jeff Christie, Winnipeg

AS AN AVID Harry fan, I was very surprised by the comments of the people you quoted. Their ideas did allow me to see the series in a new way, but I do think that I, a 14-year-old, know a bit more about the Potter series. Your experts seemed to just be making wild guesses at who might die instead of taking direct quotations from the books and using them to provide hints to future events. For example, the headmaster told Harry, in the first novel, that, “To the well-constructed mind, death is just another adventure.” It is even possible that Dumbledore asked Snape to go into cahoots with Voldemort, as well as act as if he was a double agent, in order to gain more information about his arch foe. Next time you’re writing an article about a children’s book, why don’t you ask a few kids for their thoughts? Tina Cody, Toronto

THE HEART OF A SOLDIER’

THANK YOU for your reporting of the tragic death of Sgt. Chris Karigiannis (“Say hello to her for me,” National, July 9). Chris was my best friend’s little brother. I will always remember the joy Chris displayed during the many hours he spent playing with his G.I. Joe collection. I also remember playing

the board game Risk with Chris. He was always meticulous in lining up his men in proper battle formation. Even as a child, Chris had the heart of a soldier. There was never a doubt what he would become when he grew up. His funeral took place in a Catholic church with a Greek Orthodox priest and a military padre performing the service. Chris was laid to rest in the Greek section of a Catholic cemetery with a military tombstone. It was a perfect reflection of what being a Canadian is all about.

Rick Janantuono, Penticton, B.C.

I WOULD LIKE to pass on our prayers and condolences to the Karigiannis family for the recent death of their son Chris. I happened to know him as I was his flight instructor when he took flying lessons in Edmonton at the City Centre Airport. He was a year older than me and we went down different paths in life since then. It was quite a shock to read your magazine and know for sure that it was the same Chris who carefully walked me through the spelling of his last name after our first flight together. He was an awesome person and set an example of what humanity is and should be. We have many more like him in our Forces who are setting the right example in Afghanistan as they toil and sacrifice to bring a better way of life for the Afghan people. They have given much more than I have to ensure our way of life.

Christopher J. Howard, Kars, N.B.

ON SUNDAY, June 24,1, along with so many of my colleagues, gathered, as we have many times before, on the ramp at CFB Trenton to pay our respects to three of our brothers in arms, Sgt. Chris Karigiannis, Cpl. Stephen Bouzane and Pte. Joel Wiebe. Only this morning while reading through the latest edition ofMaclean’s did I connect Sunday’s ceremony with Sgt. Karigiannis and Kinga Ilyes, the “darling of Kandahar” from previous editions. Thank you for letting us all get to know a little more about Chris.

Capt. Arthur R Jordan, Trenton, Ont.

I READ with dismay about the death of Chris Karigiannis. First, I felt really sad. Then I got mad. How many more young people have to die? I’ve heard all the arguments for sending troops to that godforsaken country and I still don’t understand.

Wilma Ferguson, Stratford, Ont.

MY FAMILY wanted to thank Maclean’s for the excellent article you wrote about Chris. There’s one slight error: my father’s name is Anastasios, not Anastios. The story really portrayed Chris the way we remember him and we hope that now many Canadians will feel like they knew him, too.

Spiros Karigiannis, Laval, Que.

OFF-SEASON PAIN

YOUR ASSERTION that the Oakland Raiders had their voluntary off-season conditioning program cut short by the NFL Players Association for being “too tough” (“Paper tigers,” Bad News, July l) is incorrect. The reason the players’ union cancelled the practices was because there had been complaints that they had violated the league’s rules against contact drills. These are very sensible precautions put in place to protect players’ health. In May, the New York Giants’ starting fullback, Jim Finn, suffered a shoulder injury during his team’s voluntary off-season workouts that ended his season before it had even begun. Matthew Waddell, Ottawa

ISRAEL’S HISTORY

MICHAEL PETROU’S article is otherwise well written in his accounting of the current power struggle in Gaza and the West Bank (“Palestine’s death spiral,” World, July 2). But what confounds me is his lack of research into the historical facts that resulted in the creation

‘There’s nothing funny about rape. What’s next? Child pornography?’

of the state of Israel. Israel was created on territory that was inhabited by both Arabs and Jews, not Arabs alone. The territory was to be divided into two states, the larger portion going to the Arabs, and the smaller sector to thejews. Unhappy with this new arrangement, the Arab leaders urged their people to abandon their homes and leave the area. War between the pre-existing neighbouring Arab states and the fledgling state of Israel ensued within days. Israel was not expected to survive, but she did. And therein lies the problem—Israel just plain exists.

Dr. Joel L. Goldman, Toronto

THE PALESTINIANS could have had a state in 1948, but when Israel declared its statehood, rather than accept it, five Arab countries chose war and invaded with the aim of pushing the Jews into the sea. Similarly in 1967, after the Six Day War, when Israel offered to discuss peace and the return of territory captured in another defensive war, the Arab League replied with three no’s—no negotiations, no peace and no recognition of Israel. Again, in 2000, when Ehud Barak offered 97 per cent of the land Israel had captured in 1967, Yasser Arafat refused and unleashed the second intifada. So, the independent Palestinian state has not eluded Palestinians; they have refused it on three separate occasions.

Mendl Malkin, Toronto

RAPE IS NO JOKE

AS A 22-year-old recent graduate, I often feel that I am the only one of my generation whose heart sank while watching Borat’s treatment of the crime of rape (“Ever hear the one about the chick who got raped?” Society, July 9). It’s depressing enough that men’s magazines, as writer Anne Kingston says, use rape jokes to play off “the retrograde notion that women enjoy sexual violation,” but it is indeed a sad day when Quentin Tarantino holds up an action figure on TV and tells the audience to go to Toys “R” Us to buy “Rapist No. l.” I did take issue with one thing in the story, the fact that Kingston asks, “Didn’t feminism teach us that rape is a political act— not about sex, but power?” Feminism does teach us; the movement is not dead yet. By writing a close analysis on this topic, Kingston demonstrates just that.

Sarah Howard, Calgary

THERE IS NOTHING funny about rape. Working at the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre, I see the devastating impact that this crime has on victims every day. It is bad enough that they are so often blamed for the assault, but now they are the butt of jokes too. What are people going to joke about next—child pornography on the Internet?

Sharon Pazzaglia, Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre, St. Catharines, Ont.

IN PASSING

Ed Mirvish, 92, retailer and impresario. The son of Russian immigrants parlayed a flamboyant Toronto discount store into a fortune, enabling him to buy theatres, including that city’s Royal Alexandra and the Old Vic in London. He was also known for his philanthropic work.

ZhengXiaoyu, 63, bureaucrat. The head of China’s State Food and Drug Administration was found guilty of taking bribes to approve fake drugs. Zheng was executed for his crimes, the first such punishment for a ministerial-level official since 2000. His death comes amid an international crisis of confidence in Chinese goods, ranging from food ingredients to toothpaste and infant formula.