April 11 2005


April 11 2005


Letters to the Editor:

‘We should look for economic collaboration with nations where we can be equals and say no to the U.S. elephant that keeps trying to screw us.’ -MARTHAMCALISTER,NANAIMO,B.C.

Thinking outside the box

Your cover story on the Royal Ontario Museum and its display of the so-called James ossuary was intriguing (“Cash box,” March 28). But whether or not the box was real, I believe that artifacts owned by private collectors or artifacts dealers should never be put on display, and certainly not as a centrepiece of a blockbuster exhibition. This practice is unethical because it legitimizes artifacts dealers and most certainly helps them get a better price at the auction block. This, in turn, encourages frauds such as the one you exposed and worse, promotes the destruction of archaeological sites— the very sites museums claim to protectthrough pillage. The ROM would certainly not be involved in this mess if, rather than questioning the authenticity of the ossuary, it had questioned the ethics of displaying a privately owned artifact.

Nicolas Cadieux, Montreal

Jonathon Gatehouse wrote a substantial and informed report, but your cover image was offensive. What a shame you chose to insert a dollar sign into the name Jesus. As Canadians prepared for Good Friday reflection and Easter celebrations, that was guaranteed to insult much of your readership. Gwenneth McCracken, Edmonton

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has gone too far, beyond any limits of the law or of basic decency, in an effort to destroy my reputation. Their accusations against me, detailed in your March 28 cover story, are completely false. They persist in their harassment against licensed antiquities dealers in Israel, and have made me their prime target because, using their words, I am the “leader of the legal antiquities trade in Israel and the most knowledgeable in his field.” Their goal is to destroy me by linking me with the activities of others with whom I have absolutely no connection. Using their almost unlimited power in the area, the IAA’s harassment started 25 years ago when I received my licence to deal with antiquities, and has continued

unabated. I am greatly encouraged and appreciative of the great outpouring of support I have received from my clients and colleagues. I will continue to do all within my power to establish the veracity of my claims and the ultimate vindication of my name and reputation.

Robert Deutsch, Old Jaffa, Israel

Racism and Air-lndia

As a daughter of a victim of the Air-lndia bombing, I was very disappointed to see that Karla Homolka and a three-year-old antiquities fraud warranted recent cover stories in Maclean’s, and that the Air-lndia verdict did not (“It can’t end here,” Crime, March 28). But don’t worry, we’re used to it.

Lorna Kelly, Guelph, Ont.

I am surprised that you raised the issue of racism in regards to former prime minister Brian Mulroney calling India’s prime minister to offer condolences after the Air-lndia crash which involved mostly Canadian citizens. This did not point to “genteel Canadian racism.” Air-lndia is based in India and is an Indian airline. Even though most of the passengers were Canadian, there was a loss for India, too, in terms of its aircraft, passengers and flight crew.

Inderjeet Singh, Amherstburg, Ont.

Closer ties (but no sex please)

After reading the Allan Gotlieb-Wendy Dobson-Michael Hart essay calling for closer integration with the U.S., I have great concerns for the future of a sovereign Canada (“Bed the elephant,” March 28). Proposals coming out of the negotiations going on between Canada, Mexico and the United States suggest that because of 9/11, Canada should give over to the United States equal control of our border, immigration, natural resources and airspace, just to name a few items on the bargaining table. The very suggestion that North America would be a safer place if Canada relinquished most of its sovereignty is absurd. Since Canada and Mexico have no known enemies, and are not about to create any, whose safety are we talking about? The future of a sovereign Canada is in great peril.

Gordon Jardine, London,Ont.

I am bemused by the sexual allusion in the cartoons that accompanied the essay by Gotlieb, Dobson and Hart. Considering the delicate nature of political relationships, the sexual references served no purpose other than to denigrate both the American

and Canadian governments. Must Canadians sexualize all the issues? Let’s think beyond the bedroom.

Frederick White, Grove City, Pa.

The American ballistic missile defence plan is unworkable and most people know it. Nevertheless, for George W. Bush and his backers, it’s a useful platform meant to assuage the fears of those who need that assurance that their president is doing something, regardless of how farfetched, to protect them. That Canada has the audacity to back away from the plan evidently makes us unreliable as neighbours, allies and trading partners. But, wait—let’s examine which country is really the unreliable neighbour, ally and trading partner. For years, American protectionists have lobbied against Canadian industries, particularly softwood

The U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay is the only place in Cuba where human rights abuses exist, a reader insists

lumber, imposing catastrophic tariffs which the WTO, time and again, has found illegal and unwarranted. Yet, repeatedly, U.S. special interests convince their government to ignore such rulings. Perhaps it’s time Canadian governments began to look elsewhere for trading partners.

Frank Pelaschuk, Richmond, B.C.

A large chunk of every dollar in every Canadian pocket is directly attributable to our relationship with the United States. Canada needs a security perimeter with the U.S. to ease the flow of goods and to ensure our security. However, when we have a prime minister who bends with the will of the uninformed, we lose responsible government. Canadians must be educated to see the Americans as our friends and partners, not as a nation to be feared. Our Prime Minister must revisit his decision on missile defence, and he must be more supportive of the American defence and security initiatives.

Keith Sutcliffe, Dartmouth, N.S.

Gotlieb, Dobson, and Hart have the wrong metaphor. As the softwood lumber dispute and the mad-cow debacle amply illustrate, the U.S. is not an elephant. It is a boa constrictor.

Barry Brewer, London, Ont.

The climate in Cuba

What exactly is this human rights crisis you refer to in Cuba (“Idealists or fools,” Cuba, March 21)? Can it be found in the abundance of health care, education and other free-of-charge social services? Is it in the community grass-roots organizations that meet regularly to express local concerns? In my nine visits to Cuba, from the resorts to rural communities, I know only a healthy, well-educated culture that struggles to live independently of U.S. intimidation. The only place in Cuba where human rights violations exist is the one place I have yet to visit: the U.S. navy base at Guantánamo Bay.

Robert Huish, Burnaby, B.C.

Much of Cuba’s civil rights problems can be squarely planted at the feet of the United States. Is it not ironic that the U.S. is the second biggest trading partner to the only remaining significant communist country,

China, and is still paranoid over a small Third World island off its coast?

Vic Janzen, Chilliwack, B.C.

Memories are made of this

“A love that moves me so” (Over to You, March 14) about attachment to a family car brought back memories of trips in my dad’s Chevy truck in the 1930s. He owned a small business selling wood and sometimes we children helped him, carrying one or two sticks at a time. I can still smell the wonderful fragrance of that wood and hear our dad telling us what good helpers we were. I remember going to visit our country relatives in that Chevy half-ton and falling asleep in the back of it on the way home. I was probably eight years old when it was traded for a bigger truck, and I watched with a very heavy heart as it was backed out of our yard for the last time. It had made a home in my heart that is still there.

Eileen Higgins, Saint John, N.B.

Answering the mail

Regarding the letter in your March 14 issue by a reader who blames the poor for their own woes, this shifting of responsibility is commonly used by someone who wishes to ease his conscience. I would challenge this man to read “Canada’s gangrene” again (LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, Feb. 28). It refers to those who work and still cannot make ends meet, to those who do not have a permanent address and thus cannot enter the workforce, to mothers who have to decide whether to look after their children or hold down a job. These people do not choose to be poor. And I disagree most emphatically that society at large is not to blame for poverty. A society by definition is a collection of people working toward a common goal. If members of a society fall behind, it behooves the group to pick them up.

Cam Derksen, Uturn Transitional Housing Project, Brandon, Man.


‘No pity in my heart,’ the reporter wrote of the Nazis

ON THIS DATE 60 YEARS AGO, Germany was a few desperate weeks away from defeat.

As the war in Europe neared its close, Maclean’s ran first-hand reports from overseas and featured stories on the job and housing shortages that returning Canadian vets would face in a postwar economy. In the March 15,1945 issue, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that the war’s eventual victors should “reform” Germany by reaching out to the nation’s youth. He quoted the 17th-century philosopher Benedict de Spinoza: “Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love.” If a generation free from hate is to grow up in Germany, Russell wrote, “we shall have to do everything in our power to avoid giving the children occasion to hate us.”

Filing from somewhere near Hamburg at the war’s conclusion, Maclean’s correspondent Lionel Shapiro sounded more embittered. “There is no pity in my heart for these people,” he wrote of German civilians searching for food and shelter, and of Nazi military personnel seeking a place to surrender. “I have seen too many of our graves that line the long weary road from Africa to the Elbe; I have felt too much of the colossal tragedy for which they, individually and collectively, are responsible.” To Shapiro, victory was a time for sober reflection. “Humanity in our time,” he wrote, “must have been sadly lacking in fundamental qualities that a nation of 80 million in the heart of Europe must be virtually destroyed in order to cleanse the Western World.” — Pamela Young

From Our Pages celebrates Maclean’s centenary

The sweetest reward of peace