THE MAIL

April 28 2003

THE MAIL

April 28 2003

THE MAIL

‘If SARS reveals anything, it is the hysterical nature of our society, fanned by the need of 24-hour cable news tO make everything a CriSiS/ -PAULGILBERT, Niagara Falls,Ont.

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

On guard against SARS

I am a Canadian living in China’s hot spot for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). I am not living in fear of the disease, but I am trying to educate myself about it. I was shocked to read that twothirds of Canadians polled think that people coming from SARS hot spots should be banned or quarantined (“SARS: is this your best defence?” Cover, April 14). Between Hong Kong and the province of Guangdong there are tens of millions of people, and fewer than 125 have died. This is a very dangerous disease that must be taken seriously, but we also need to put things into perspective.

Bernie Hagemann, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Warren Kinsella, the chief spin doctor and all-round attack dog for the Liberal party), is concerned about racism directed at the Chinese community (“The racist face of SARS,” The Back Page, April 14). It is clear that the primary customers of Chinese-Canadian busineses are members of the Chinese community themselves, and it is they who are staying away. The failure of the federal government to act decisively to stop the spread of SARS arriving in Canada through our airports needs to be examined. The Liberals are terrified to take any action that might be remotely construed as being directed at any group.

Roy Shaver, Wasaga Beach, Ont.

A racism component to the SARS outbreak? A test of Canadian values? Give us a break! I’m sure the nut-job neo-Nazi creators of the Web site Warren Kinsella quoted are grateful for the attention. My guess is that he also consulted his colleague, Liberal MP Hedy (“crosses burning in Prince George as we speak”) Fry.

Jack Riley, Victoria

While I appreciate Warren Kinsella’s heartfelt concerns about SARS, I was bothered by his article. Granted, pathogens don’t recognize race or creed. However they do recognize poverty, overcrowding and a lack of

a good public health infrastructure. Mother Nature may not discriminate when it comes to most diseases and, given the right conditions, may render us all vulnerable, but she sure is politically incorrect while she sets the spread of the disease in motion. In the face of a contagious and possibly airborne disease, to accuse the public of being racist is a cheap shot when all people want to do is protect their families from getting sick. Dr. Maria Hugi, Vancouver

THE SWIFT PROGRESS OF THE WAR IN IRAQ HAS DONE NOTHING TO DIMINISH DIVISIONS among our readers. Noting the widespread looting, the theft of priceless artifacts of a 7,000-year-old culture and the collapse of civil order, Jim Eager writes from Toronto: “Congratulations, Dubya. You’ve turned Iraq into... Somalia.”

John Stansbury, who calls himself “half Canadian and half American,” says he has spent much time in both countries defending each against pesky stereotyping. “Canada should be helping to free Iraq,” he writes from Bradenton, Fla. “Not because the U.S., Britain, or anyone else thinks it should, but because as a nation of moral and free human beings it is the right thing to do."

Master-ful anticipation

What a timely piece by Peter Mansbridge in your April 14 issue (“That master-ly Weir,” Mansbridge on the Record). His comments proved to be an uncanny prediction as Mike Weir continued his torrid pace this year and won the Masters. Do you think Peter could do a similar article just before next year’s Stanley Cup playoffs... for the Montreal Canadiens?

Ken Whitehead, Dartmouth, N.S.

Winnipeg, c’est l’hiver

As a former Winnipegger who now lives and works in Cochrane, Alta., I am a proud product of Winnipeg. I still love my Blue Bombers, still miss my Jets, and still believe there is no finer place to spend the summer months than in Winnipeg, at the Forks, the parks and the patios, or the lakes and beaches and summer festivals (yes, mosquitoes and all). But, when people ask me if I miss Winnipeg, my answer is invariably, “Yes, but not in the wintertime.” Well, thanks to Jim Chliboyko for the reminder that, even in those cold and sometimes cruel winters, there are visions of beauty in my hometown (“What the iceman said,” Over to You, April 14). And I firmly believe that it is because of Winnipeg’s harsh winters that ’peggers go out of their way to make summertime incredible. Darryl Mills, Cochrane, Alta.

Answering back

I have not always agreed with the opinions Barbara Amiel expressed, but I admired her clarity of thought and ability to translate it to the written word. So her latest column came as a nasty, if enlightening, experience (“Answering my critics,” April 14). I was surprised and, perhaps naively, disappointed that she would ridicule those who had extended her the privilege of reading and responding to her work. I respect her right to express her opinions, and cherish the fact that I live in a society where they can be freely expressed. But I felt ashamed by proxy even reading her column today, as though I had been caught reading tabloid trash.

Dr. Glenda MacQueen, Hamilton

To the surprise of the world’s so-called peace marchers, Barbara Amiel’s predictions were correct, though the U.S. will now be blamed for not bringing instant law, order,

health care and economic prosperity to the liberated Iraqi people. The war is not yet over and the media will cling to any negatives they can find.

Dan Burns, Mlndemoya, Ont.

Trumpeting and hooting

The great Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran once wrote that he pitied the nation that “welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, and farewells him with hooting.” As some Iraqis celebrated the fall of Saddam (“After Baghdad,” The Iraq Conflict, April 14), I, too, felt relieved that one of the world’s tyrants is now gone, and we all watched the U.S. destroying the same dictatorship regime it had spent so much time and money creating. “Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.” No, this is not George Bush after the fall of Baghdad; it is what British Gen. Stanley Maude said in 1917 after invading Baghdad. On capturing the city, Maude proclaimed that Britain intended to return to Iraq control of its own affairs. But after “liberating” the Iraqi people, the British remained in Iraq for more than 40 years, probably to make sure it was really “liberated.” The occupation eventually ended, and the July 14,1958, revolution brought cheering crowds of Iraqis into the streets of Baghdad. Iraqis welcomed U.S. forces with trumpeting; I am sure it will take much less than 40 years for those same Iraqis to dismiss them with hooting.

Amro Gamal, Ottawa

I think it’s slightly premature to be writing articles subtitled, “There was never any doubt about who would eventually win Gulf War IL” I, as a Canadian, never thought of this war as, “who is going to win this time? ” Frankly, most of us realize that even though we are not involved in this war against terrorism now, we are always involved in the end. Who do you think is scheduled to enter Afghanistan this summer? Canadian Forces. Why? To clean up after our southern neighbours. Where will Canadians be next? Iraq, of course.

Michelle Jones, Huntsville, Ont.

To all the people who said there would be millions of deaths in Iraq, that the American aggressors were going to meet resistance by every Iraqi citizen, or that this was going to be a long war or even the start of

the Third World War—you were wrong. Please go back to hugging trees or protesting the WTO or whatever the cause o’ the day may be.

G. A. Burns, Coquitlam, B.C.

After reading your recent coverage of the war in Iraq it occurred to me the former Iraqi minister of information is alive and well and working for your magazine.

Jennifer Meeks, Puyallup, Wash.

As a Canadian subscriber currently living in Australia, I marvel at just how off-base some of your articles on the progress of the war in Iraq have turned out to be. Recent events in Iraq have provided clear vindication for the coalition, and the Australian public is proud of the performance of its armed forces, despite some initial opposition to the war. I was not surprised at Jean Chretien’s stance—to do nothing if possible was always his way. His standing suffers by comparison with the leadership provided by Australia’s John Howard, an astute, farsighted man with a sure political touch, and with the courage of his convictions.

Donald. J. Tanner, Adelaide, Australia

War proves one thing—it benefits those who are good at it.

Eisha Marjara, Montreal

My biggest concern is the failure of most Canadians to grasp the significance of the U.S.

action as a nail in the coffin of the old world order. The post-Second World War world order was built around the balance between U.S. and Soviet camps. The new world order is based on the U.S. being the world’s dominant superpower. Canada, clinging to the naive and misplaced belief that the UN should be the ultimate and only arbiter of international affairs, risks losing influence in the new world order. Like all good friends, we should be honest and forthright with the United States, but you can hardly count lining up behind the skirts of the UN as taking an independent stand. Politically expedient, yes; independent, no.

Leif Eriksen, Andover, Mass.

Chrétien on Iraq

Adam Zimmerman may, as your editors claim, be “one of Canada’s most distinguished business figures,” but if his response to Allan Gotlieb’s March 31 essay is any indication of the clarity of his thinking, I’d say Noranda Forest Inc. is lucky to still be in business (“Why the PM is right,” The Iraq Conflict, April 14). Mr. Zimmerman writes that Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s decision on Iraq “was a reasoned, popular move which showed Canada as its own self.” Come again? To which of Mr. Chretien’s innumerable and impenetrable pronouncements on Iraq is Mr. Zimmerman referring? Whatever his intent, he surely can’t be suggesting that Canadians as a whole agree with the PM’s dodge-ball antics. Most Canadians are un-

comfortable, if not positively embarrassed, by our government’s lack of support for what the French President Jacques Chirac and his francophone friends like to refer to as the “Anglo-Saxon Coalition.”

John T. Sangster, Burnaby, B.C.

I just can’t believe it! I, an old semi-hippie, finding myself in bed with a 76-year-old über-capitalist, and discovering he still has

what it takes. Adam Zimmerman crystallized what I believe about Canada, Chrétien, our place in the world. Who would have thought that Chretien’s opportunity to leave Canada a lasting legacy, one that befits his reign as a cunning leader, good at manipulative diplomacy and wily lawyering, would drop out of the sky in the waning days of his sojourn in Ottawa. I am not sure I am ready to embrace Liberalism and fiber-cap-

italism yet, but I sure am comfortable in Chretien’s Canada.

Rosemary Keelan, Delta, B.C.

Soul music

Daniel Lanois’s Jolie Louise, for me, was the most important song on the beautiful Acadie tape. As indicated in “ ‘Soul-mining’ for songs of gold” (Music, April 14), it “pingponged” between English and French in a manner that should be replicated throughout the emerging Canadian reality. When we no longer hear the words but rather the life-music of Jolie Louise we will have truly arrived. Unfortunately, Daniel Lanois had to find his artistic voice in New Orleans, not in New Carlisle or New Bonaventure. Who would have thought that he could rediscover his soul in Toronto of all places?

Neil Robbins, Corner Brook, Nfld.

Acadian spirit

I find it unfortunate that it is implied that “speaking a language which in many parts of the province still sounds little different from the speech in Poitou and Brittany” is what identifies Acadians as “Acadian” (“Survival of the most spirited,” Acadia, March 24). You give chiac, the French dialect of Moncton, as the exception, due to its English influence. However, if you were to talk to chiac speakers you would discover that they, too, identify themselves as Acadians. It is their shared history with the French speakers from the north of the province that proves their acadianité. The southeastern region of New Brunswick is rich in Acadian culture and, although the English presence paradoxically allows for a stronger economy, Moncton has the resources to promote and defend the Acadian cultural identity. Moncton francophones, be they chiac speakers or not, are Acadians. Culture should not be defined by stagnation, but rather by evolution.

Christina Keppie, Edmonton

I was lucky to spend six weeks on a French exchange in the Acadian community of Meteghan River, N.S. Before that, I didn’t know what an Acadian was. But they were the most amazing and eye-opening six weeks of my life. I was welcomed into a family, I learned about a new culture, a language and some great music and food! As long as Acadians like these exist, their culture will not die.

Elizabeth Laurin, Morrisburg, Ont.