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Time for solidarity

Unfortunately, the Sept. 24 letter (The necessity of criticism) about the hateful anti-Islamic film and the ensuing violence has been anything but productive. Angry discourse breeds angry reactions, and the folly of tit-for-tat exchange only divides us and feeds in to extremist agendas.

I am concerned because as a grandmother, I do not want to have to explain to my grandchildren that there are people who hate them because of their faith. As a Muslim, I cannot remain quiet while the honour of my beloved Prophet is trampled on by violence committed in his name.

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As a Canadian, I cannot remain silent when the most cherished of our freedoms, the right to free expression, is violated and abused to promote lies and hatred.

While the media focus on a tiny minority of hooligans and anarchists who commit violence and create havoc, let us not be blind to the hundreds of thousands Muslims who have marched on streets in many countries in peace and solidarity against hate and violence, or the overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad who have chosen to ignore this provocation. Let us not ignore every Muslim leader here and abroad who has condemned the violence and expressed regret.

Let us not compare these crazies with those crazies. This is not a game that anyone can win; it only perpetuates the conflict and does not resolve it.

It is time to stand together for social harmony as faith, civic and community leaders do here in Winnipeg. Let the media reflect that spirit of mutual respect and give voice to the majority that is slowly rising to the occasion to reclaim the discourse.




Defined by wealth

Re: Subsidies are democratic (Letters, Sept 21). As one who has suggested a ban on political donations in favour of an exclusive vote subsidy, I echo the sentiments of the three letter writers.

One only has to look south to see democracy being raped.

In the ludicrously named Citizens United case, the Republican-leaning U.S. Supreme Court ruled that money is speech and that corporations are people.

Now, the democratic power of an American is defined by his wealth, which favours wealthy Republicans and rich corporations predominantly run by Republican business people.

It is estimated that more than $1 billion will be spent on campaigns during this year's American election, mostly Republican money, buying votes. America is now a capitalist dictatorship.

On this side of the border, the Harper government is eliminating the federal vote subsidy, yet is spending tens of millions of tax dollars in advertising, telling Canadians what a great job it is doing.

Hey, Conservative-leaning Canadian Taxpayers Association, wake up and smell the hypocrisy.




A sensitive tribute

Re: A hole in the heart of our newsroom (Sept. 22). I want to thank Gordon Sinclair for his very sensitive piece about the laying off of seven of his co-workers.

I know how speechless he must have felt and how perfect words can never be found to express what's in our hearts. Ironically, the printed word allows us a better avenue to do this.

Too often we read about layoffs in cold numbers but with no names attached -- people who have given their hearts, souls and precious time to their workplace are displaced. Anonymous souls, unidentified, whose situations we have come to accept as a "sign of the times," disappear without recognition.

Sinclair personalizes this modern tragedy and lends dignity to these seven friends and the work they did.




Mindset needs change

Re: Geothermal has problems (Letters, Sept. 24). Edward Katz could not have written a clearer example of how the mindset and knowledge base of the public, let alone the government, needs adjustment.

Katz cites the problems of giant hydro plants located halfway across this continent near thermal vents (in volcano territory), where steam is generated deep in the earth to drive turbines that generate electricity.

However, when we discuss geothermal heating of homes in Manitoba, we are talking about an entirely different industry that is particularly safe, economic and green.

The confusion at the Free Press that resulted in the publication of a so-called debate on two very different technologies with somewhat similar terminologies is, again, a demonstration of the need for far greater knowledge among the public and the media.




A reason to believe

Re: From the lockout to referee-gate, it's a bad time to be a fan (Sept. 26). If the existence of the community-owned Winnipeg Blue Bombers is not about us "having something to cheer about and build civic pride," then it damn well should be. This is a huge reason why the Bombers receive so much support year after year.

And the Chipman-owned Winnipeg Jets, the way they operate in this small market, can hardly be compared to "just another business venture for our town's version of Monty Burns."

Yes, the NHL overall is screwing us, but the problems in Edmonton and the NFL are not the kind of problems we have here.




Footing the bill

I find the most distasteful aspect of the land-swap fiasco involving the fire-paramedic service and Shindico is the notion that we're now about to foot the bill for inquiries and reviews of the transactions.

While I appreciate the need for city councillors to find the means with which to distance themselves from this debacle, I wonder where they were all along. After all, don't we pay them to watch out for the interests of the people they are elected to represent?

In truth, city hall has failed us, and now we are about to pay the tab to supposedly right a wrong that never ought to have occurred in the first place.

This city remains firmly within the grasp of pork-barrel politics, and while we seem to realize it, nothing seems to provide the motivation to alter the scenery.

It's truly frustrating, but perhaps more important, it's a sad indicator that we seem to have learned next to nothing about what is required to create a city worthy of the praise and admiration we seem to crave.




Same treatment for all

In his Sept. 26 letter, Equitable and inclusive, Taras Zalusky of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is quite correct in underscoring that no Ukrainian-Canadian organization has ever protested or objected to the inclusion of the Holocaust in this national museum. This subject must be treated there, along with all the other genocides that have befouled human history, before, during and after the Second World War, and not only in Europe but in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.

That is why the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (which is not a member group of the UCC) has consistently stated that no community's suffering should be given pride of place at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and that includes our own.

As for any promises made by on behalf of the late Israel Asper, they were apparently without substance as suggested by the minister of Canadian heritage, James Moore, in his Sept. 12 Free Press News Café interview with Dan Lett. Unfortunately, the UCC was misled in April 2003.


Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 27, 2012 A11


Updated on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 9:19 AM CDT: adds links

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