Re: "Party pooper" March 23
To the Editor:
Four years ago we made the fateful decision to attend Western, believing it to be a diverse community in which each student could pursue their education in an environment without segregation. It took little time, however, before we realized that there were many events or cliques at which we were not made to feel welcome, solely because we were not of the Jewish faith.
Shortly after coming to Western, we expressed an interest in learning more about Yom Kippur, however we were quickly informed that unless we could say a prayer in Hebrew, we could not take part in witnessing the celebration. We have always had friends of all different faiths and have always been encouraged to learn about their beliefs, which is why this came as a shock. We had simply accepted that it was the ignorance of this particular group, but then how does this explain the seeming ignorance of the Western Debating Society, or the recent notice published in The Gazette by the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity?
Just this year, as we were considering joining the WDS, we happened to notice a large Israeli flag draped across their table. Now, we may be wrong, but we were under the impression that the WDS teaches people to be open minded and unbiased in their arguments and so we pose the question: What was the Israeli flag doing hanging across the WDS table? This was certainly enough to make us feel unwelcome.
As if this wasn't enough, just this week we came to terms with the fact that this attitude is prevalent throughout Western.
We have always been disgusted when hearing people stereotype fraternities as being "glorified Jewish cliques" and much to our surprise we opened up The Gazette on Thursday to find the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity was proving this statement to be true. Why, when apologizing for an unfortunate incident at a party open to all Western students, did they decide to make a donation to the Jewish National Fund? What about all the worthy causes in our own country? Is planting a tree in Israel more important than feeding a hungry person in Ontario? It certainly isn't to us. Perhaps what you should be apologizing for is assuming that everyone who attended your party shared all your warped priorities.
Correct us if we're wrong, but we have always been under the impression that Judaism was a religious sect and not a nationality. As young educated people, perhaps it's time that we stop blatantly segregating on the basis of religious beliefs and start acting as a nation of Canadians. This is the country, after all, who is helping to fund your education and likely where the majority of you were born.