MAIL BAG

‘The world must support peacemakers. As Rabin said in 1993, “Enough of blood and tears.”’

May 19 2008
MAIL BAG

‘The world must support peacemakers. As Rabin said in 1993, “Enough of blood and tears.”’

May 19 2008

‘The world must support peacemakers. As Rabin said in 1993, “Enough of blood and tears.”’

MAIL BAG

ADVERSITY STRENGTHENS

AFTER BEING REPEATEDLY exiled from their own country by invaders, callously uprooted from their homesteads in Europe on the sudden whim of a local ruler and murdered in gas chambers, the Jewish people have merely come back to what was originally their own with the prior sanction of the UN (“Why Israel can’t survive,” World, May 5). In spite of all the adversity that beset them, they have managed to retain their language, culture and religion. The toughness, resilience and fierce determination that helped them surmount their trials and tribulations in the past will be the driving force that will make them survive as a nation, thereby defying all odds.

Maria Jacob, Mississauga, Ont.

AS A CANADIAN of Lebanese origin, I am particularly keen to see peace in Israel. As your article showed, the only way to achieve peace without destroying either the Palestinians or the Jews is the two-state principle. Each side has ample reasons to resent or even hate the other. The Arabs have tried several times to throw the Jews into the sea and they are still promoting anti-Semitism in their schools and in their media. Israelis have been more civilized, but they have often trampled unnecessarily on the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

To achieve peace, each side must severely curtail the influence of its extremists. Both sides must tone down their grievances and must pursue peace with an open mind and an open heart. Each side must recognize that the other has suffered more than any people should have to suffer. Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin were both assassinated for pursuing a just peace. The world must support peacemakers. As Yitzhak Rabin said in September 1993, “Enough of blood and tears. Enough.”

FredMaroun, Ottawa

THE REFUSAL OF MANY Palestinians and large numbers of Muslims worldwide to accept the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty of their country is the defining geopolitical issue. Israel is generally a great success. It has a growing economy, fine universities and medical centres, and many innovative industries. It has absorbed and enfranchised mil-

lions of previously impoverished and dispossessed Jews, and accommodated thousands of Arabs. Zionism (support for the Israel state) may actually be the most successful national affirmation of the 20th century.

Two neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties with Israel, but it remains a small democratic island in a great sea of dictatorships. While it is important to acknowledge Israel’s shortcomings, we must honestly give credit to genuine progress. In view of the historical strength of Israel’s enemies, it has overcome great odds, and it will and must survive for all our sakes.

Paul Forseth, New Westminster, B.C.

THE POINT to consider here is what many analysts seem to continually miss, that the more adversity Israel faces, the stronger it becomes.

Don Schwartz, Toronto

EVER SINCE the 1967 war, Israel has been focused on the ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories. This has become obvious only in recent years because until then we in Canada could not believe that such a feisty, democratic little country could possibly behave in such a criminal manner. Well, guess what? Israel is a vicious country that makes apartheid South Africa look like a beacon of interracial love. No, Israel will not survive. Brian McDonough, Toronto

ONE DOESN’T HAVE to be too bright to see how biased Maclean’s is when it comes to

portraying Israel as the innocent party in the Middle East conflicts. The truth of the matter is the occupier Israel has been brutal, racist and arrogant toward millions of innocent people who live under its grip. Yet Maclean’s chooses the path of misinforming Canadians about the conflict in this volatile region. By this policy, Maclean’s is only doing a disservice to humanity in general and Canadians in particular.

Ramin Farsangi, Innisfil, Ont.

THE WORLD HAS NOT known peace since the creation of the state of Israel and we are all paying the price for that ill-conceived and unjustly executed plan. The only hope is for good Jews and Arabs to put their religious differences aside and come together to find a just and lasting solution to the problem. For the sake of the next generation and the peace of the world, I hope that happens soon.

Zoe Houston, Wellington, Ont.

I WAS DISMAYED by the title of this article. It does not reflect the content of the story, which seeks to explain the serious challenges and choices facing the country if it wishes to remain both democratic and Jewish. Though the article does pose important existential questions about the future of the state—questions that are fair—in no way does it conclude that Israel cannot survive.

One wonders what possible purpose Maclean’s could have had in sensationalizing the story so profoundly. Was it wishful thinking on the part of the editors, or simply a cynical ploy to sell more magazines?

Deborah Corber, Montreal

NO SYMPATHY

I HOPE YOU ARE not expecting much sympathy for Yasin Mohamed (“The terrorist who wasn’t,” National, May 5 ). Regardless of any ties to terrorism that he may or may not have had, he is still guilty of attempting to smuggle handguns into Canada, for which he received a rather pitiful sentence. Were it not for the astute actions of Canada Border Services Agency officers at Fort Erie, Ont., these guns would now be floating around the underworld of Toronto and could have perhaps been used to hurt or even murder people. Where was the anti-gun lobby in all of this? Surely this would have been a good

4 Andrew Potter fails to see the earth is in desperate shape because of one thing: humans’

case to use to press the issue of stiffer sentences for those involved in handgun crimes. I just don’t get it.

Ed Smith, Vineland, Ont.

HOLD THE PEOPLE

WHEN I READ the article by Andrew Potter (“Great planet, too bad about all the people,” Opinion, May 5), I discovered that he appears to be convinced that so-called environmentalists like Gaylord Nelson are anti-human. I was appalled to see the founder of Earth Day

described that way. Most environmentalists I know are quite pro-human. We are concerned about the environment, not because of the environment per se, but because overconsumption and over-pollution leads to a badly degraded support system for human habitation. The human species sits atop the global food chain and is currently consuming a very large share of the earth’s resources. Perhaps we could have Andrew Potter address the question of global grain supplies and tell us why demand for food grain is exceeding supplies in many parts of the world. Kenneth MacKay, Rockwood, Ont.

POTTER’S DIZZYINGLY circular article gives a series of backhanded compliments to Earth

Day, grudgingly admitting it’s a good idea, but then tries to discredit its originator—which is not only irrelevant, but a classic blunder in logic. A good idea is a good idea even if Attila the Hun thought of it. By adopting the pose of the righteous humanist, Potter fails to see that the earth is in desperate shape because of one thing: humans. It is we homo sapiens who are single-handedly destroying the planet; it will never be able to support, as he claims with astounding hyperbole, “countless billions” more. Can this human-

ist not see that everything is linked? That with a depleted planet, whose dominant species has used and abused its animals and vegetation, stripped it of its raw materials and treated it as a sewer, there can be no more humans?

Jeffrey Moore, Val Morin, Que.

THE HUGE INCREASE in the earth’s population in the last few decades has caused massive pollution, degradation of the environment, depletion of natural resources, stress on the animal and plant life and wars over resources. To promote the idea that increasing the earth’s population will help the planet is out of this world.

Gary Lewis, Owen Sound, Ont.

FLOWER POWER

IT ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDS ME that when we’re given the choice of building up or taking down, our Canadian psyche often turns to the negative. Guy Lafleur embodied all that is Canadian (“A wilted flower,” Society, May 5). He worked feverishly in his pursuits, but most importantly shared his success with so many of us who wanted to watch him on Saturday evenings across Canada, talk to him on the street or get his autograph. And so it is a shame that in his hour of need some of us have turned our backs on him and have taken the extra step of publicly humiliating him. What can possibly be gained from taking down one of our heroes? Where is our memory of what we were given and of what respect we owe back to such a great person? Your writer and your magazine should be ashamed.

John DeSanti, Calgary

HAZY TOBACCO RULES

YOUR EDITORIAL on the proposed new regulations on tobacco sales was a great comment on this corrupt social injustice (“Why tobacco is evil, but booze is just fine,” From the Editors, May 5). When all is said and done, it is all about money and government dishonesty and manipulation.

Dr. Peter Fry, Vancouver

WE, OR MAYBE JUST YOU, are forgetting one basic fact. When we send our kids to the corner store for a newspaper or a forgotten item we need for dinner, the cash register is just inside the front door, with the cigarettes on display behind the cashier. If you need a stamp, and most retail postal outlets are located at the rear of these corner stores, you have to pass the ciggie display going in both directions. Then there are the lottery terminals located at the cash. But booze is only, more or less, available at a LCBO store. Underage kids cannot even get in the door, so they are not tempted by any displays. For kids, there is a big difference in availability and temptation between booze and smokes.

Roger Webber-Taylor, Ottawa

WHEN BETS GO WRONG

I CAN’T AGREE with Steve Maich’s contention that the outrageous compensation of investment managers is somehow justified

by the fact that they occasionally produce large returns by gambling with their client’s money (“The $3-billion prophet of doom,” Business, April 28). This is the same fallacious argument used to justify excessive bonus and option payouts of corporate execs, an argument that conveniently ignores what happens when their bets go wrong. When a company’s shares take a nosedive, the executives are invariably rewarded with fresh options at a lower exercise price, creating the potential for even larger future payouts. When a fund manager has a terrible year, his investors lose their shirts. The manager loses nothing and gets another roll of the dice the following year. With house rules like this, a blindfolded chimpanzee could do very well in the hedgefunds game.

Gary McCaig, Port Alberni, B.C.

‘REAL-WORLD’ BOTOX

FOR OVER 20 YEARS, Botox has been successfully used to treat a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia (“Possibly a new wrinkle or two,” Health, May 5). Many people, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., would not have a voice otherwise. If the FDA finds Botox too dangerous, millions of people (wrinkled, migrained, spastic and

mute) will be hitting the back alleys for their next shot.

Donna Horan, Palgrave, Ont.

WE WISH TO CLARIFY a few facts in relation to the studies you cite in case your readers conclude that new safety concerns for Botox have been identified. The Italian study from Matteo Caleo and his colleagues used a non-pharmaceutical-grade preparation of the toxin that is not suitable for human use. This material is substantially different from the medical product, Botox, which is approved for human use by Health Canada and 70 other regulatory bodies around the world.

Secondly, the dose of toxin used by Caleo far exceeds those typically used in therapeutic or cosmetic applications of Botox. Indeed, the dose of research toxin injected into the rat whisker pad was approximately 150 times higher (per body weight) than the approved dose for Botox to treat wrinkles.

The article additionally referred to research from Walter Herzog in Calgary that showed weakening of adjacent non-injected muscles in experimental cats. While Botox was used in this particular study, the relative volume injected into cat muscle was significantly higher than that used in normal clinical practice; a

fact acknowledged by the researchers, and one that is well-known by clinicians to contribute to unwanted spread of the product.

It is important to report such animal study results with caution, as they do not approximate the real-world scenario for the medical use of Botox in humans.

Conor Gallagher and Ryan Irvine, Medical Affairs, Allergan, Inc., Toronto

IN PASSING

Charles Caccia, 78, politician. The Italian-born MP represented Toronto’s Davenport riding from 1968 to 2004, and was a cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau and John Turner. Caccia, who was committed to environmental and social justice issues, died after suffering a stroke.

Philipp von Boeselager, 90, army officer, military adviser. He was believed to be the last surviving member of the group of German army officers who tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 with a briefcase bomb. Of the 200 conspirators, almost all were executed or committed suicide, but von Boeselager escaped detection.