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Crimea, Israel analogy flawed

Peter Rosenfeld's analogy between the current situation in Crimea and Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian territories falls flat when he fails to note that, in 1967, Israel came to control east Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank in a defensive war after another attempt by Arab nations (Syria, Jordan and Egypt) to crush Israel (Diplomatic double standard, Letters, March 24).

East Jerusalem and the West Bank had been unlawfully occupied by Jordan since 1948 after the first war of annihilation against the nascent state of Israel. Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, removing more than 8,500 settlers and its combined armed forces from the Strip, and does not "occupy" the region. Until the fate of the territories is decided by a final peace agreement, Israel has the right to administer these lands.

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In other words, the so-called "occupation" is not illegal. The legal status of the territories is "disputed" in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338.


Toronto, Ont.


No winners in lotteries woes

Re: Bigwigs seek plan to draw young to lotteries, March 24.

More than 25 years ago, when I could actually play sports, the team I was on was required to work the bingo halls to receive government funding.

I remember selling tear-open tickets to one particular woman. She gave me $20 for her tickets. This happened four times before she eventually won $50.

While she walked away jubilant, Manitoba Lotteries had just pocketed $80 while handing out $50.

If the younger demographic doesn't want to buy into an unhealthy and potentially addictive pastime, why is the government trying to promote it? Is the lotteries cash cow more important than the health of our young people?

Maybe the government should celebrate the decline of gambling and look for other, more positive ways to raise funds.




It's morally reprehensible that the rapacious provincial government is wringing its claws in consternation over that fact that 18- to 34-year-olds aren't playing lottery games, with their attendant opportunities for addiction, in the numbers that the predatory state is wishing for.




Instead of looking for ways to get young people to buy lottery tickets, the province should be congratulating them for being smarter than the rest of us.




English Canada fuels separatists

Re: Separatism a pretext to avoid reality, March 22.

If there's one thing English Canadians are really good at, it's feeling morally smug and superior. Our favourite targets are Americans and, especially now, Quebecers.

A case in point is Barry Cooper's recent disdainful opinion piece. I agree with Cooper that the Charter of Quebec Values proposed by the Marois government is cynical and unnecessary.

In his zeal to denounce Quebec separatists, however, Cooper quotes convicted criminal Conrad Black, a man who renounced his own Canadian citizenship, calling Canada an "oppressive little world."

Even in these days of shortened attention spans, people should be able to understand the direct line from Anglo-Canadian xenophobia and the arrogance of the last century to Quebec separatism.

English Canada did everything it could to exterminate French language and culture beyond Quebec's borders, banning, for example, French as a language of instruction in Manitoba schools in 1917.




Budget quote not Cicero

In his letter, Jack Thiessen uses what he believes are the words of the Roman philosopher Cicero (When in Rome, Letters, March 24).

Cicero may or may not have been a fiscal conservative, against spending on foreign aid and welfare programs, but he did not say the words attributed to him by Thiessen.

Rather, they came from the pen of historical fiction writer Taylor Caldwell. The statement about balancing the budget from her novel A Pillar of Iron was an invention of Caldwell's -- not a reproduction of Cicero's own words.



Frozen-pipes riddle

A riddle on an existing problem versus a potential one:

If the frost continues to penetrate, with more lines freezing each day than are being thawed, and if running water through the lines reduces the chances of freezing, and if our sewer system would be "overwhelmed" should all city properties run their taps:

How many running taps in the relatively few areas publicly identified to be at-risk would it take to avoid further freezing and attendant repair costs, without overwhelming the sewer system?

Could the city's thinking be as frozen as the lines?




Report blows whistle

Re: Where's the smoking gun?, March 24.

It's ironic that a Bellringer has now turned into a whistleblower.




Apologies to the Bard

I appreciated the Shakespearean call-to-arms article by Bartley Kives (Manitoba is their motherland, March 22).

Maybe we could name our own Saint Crispin's Day and, with apologies to Shakespeare and his timeless Henry V, include "We few, we happy, but frozen band of brothers."



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2014 A8


Updated on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 6:43 AM CDT: adds links

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