Barbara Amiel has hit a new low with her apparent defence of Western-supported dictatorships (“A difficult choice of tyrannies,” Column, March 3). She says that Corazon Aquino’s assumption of the presidency of the Philippines will likely result in a Communist takeover. In fact, the opposite is probably true. is Ferdinand Marcos’s repression democratic opposition over the years that created such a strong guerrilla movement. -CARL ROSENBERG,
Barbara Amiel’s thesis that authoritarian tyrants are less likely to provoke totalitarian takeovers than “weak” mocracies begs the question because, her own admission, this occurs only where the democracy is preceded by dictatorship. It is the dictatorship, not the democracy, that foments the discontent. But what infuriates me most Amiel’s suggestion that “places like the Philippines or Iran” may “prefer” some system of government other than mocracy. “And even if our own people were willing to sacrifice their lives establish democracy, we would have ask the Iranians or Filipinos, who would bear the brunt of fighting, if it was worth it to them,” she writes in a patronizing tone. The commitment of the Philippine people to democracy would put most of the world’s people, including Amiel, to shame. -BRENDA BROCHU,
Thank you for Barbara Amiel’s beautifully written column, which perfectly expresses the concerns shared by me
and my husband, a former refugee from a Communist totalitarian regime, about the Philippines. -RUTH HUNTER,
It is just not true that “our geopolitical friends” are invariably “better to the people they tyrannize than any of the alternatives,” and Barbara Amiel does her cause no service by such grotesque generalizations. -JAMES HARRISON,
A warning on home testing
Your article “Do-it-yourself lab tests” (Health, Feb. 10) is cause for deep concern to the members of the Ontario Society of Medical Technologists. In the interests of public safety, a trend toward the public at large using home tests to diagnose their own conditions should be arrested at once. The article leaves the impression that laymen can produce “results as accurate as similar tests done in labs.” Even with current sophisticated technology and professionals trained to use it, the confidence level for tests performed using equipment costing $100,000 to $500,000 is only 90 to 95 per cent. This level of sophistication and expertise cannot be purchased off the shelf of a pharmacy. If the public at large is permitted to purchase these kits for use by themselves or on others without adequate training, supervision and follow-up, the problems already experienced within the health care delivery system will be exacerbated by the potential for misinterpretation of the results obtained.
-DOUGLAS HILL, President, Ontario Society of Medical Technologists, Toronto
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