Volume 93, Issue 101

Friday, April 7, 2000


A big (sarcastic) thank you for letter

Feeling of discrimination excruciating

Xenophobia hurts Jewish groups

Writer on mark, editorial misguided

American inputs his two cents

Misinformed opinions enlightened

Was letter written as complaint or question?

Israeli flag instills pride

A poem on profs

We need study day

Israeli flag instills pride

Re: "Racy Western" April 4 and "Words more offensive than any actions" March 15

To the Editor:

In light of the recent letter by Lillian Wong and Stephen Black and the events of the silent protest in early March, I have decided to speak out on some misconceptions and stereotypes that have angered me.

First, in regards to the Israeli flag as brought up by Samer Abou-Sweid and Maher El-Abdallah, the Israeli flag does not represent a government "which has built a country upon atrocities and injustices," but rather instills a sense of culture and pride. This is not to say that I agree with everything the Israeli government has done, but both sides must take responsibility for the events that have occurred.

The flag not only represents 52 years of history since the state of Israel was founded, but thousands of years of history – victories and defeats, gains and losses.

Does it, therefore, have a place at a Jewish Students' Union event? Yes. Does it have a place at a Western Debating Society table? Maybe not. Did Miss Wong and Mr. Black ask about its presence or express their concerns or misunderstandings of its context to those involved at the time? I am glad they have spoken out and I am very angry if people did not welcome them, but I am also angry at their generalizations. I guarantee you that this unwelcoming attitude is not "prevalent throughout Western."

As for the fraternity, how does donating money to a worthy Jewish cause make Alpha Epsilon Pi a "glorified Jewish clique?" Do we criticize Canadians that raise money for organizations outside our country? Do we scorn those that donate their own money to worthy causes around the world?

Yes, we are Canadians, but we are also a diverse people with different cultures and backgrounds. Would you begrudge a group of students made up mostly of Asian-Canadians who donated to an Asian cause? Not likely. The fraternity, comprised of many Jewish members, hosted the party and as such, have the right to allocate their funds as they please.

That does not make their priorities "warped." Unfortunately, we must understand that in every culture and religion there will be people who exclude, or even mock, outsiders. I have been the victim of this, as well. I am not using this as an excuse but rather as an invitation for further exploration. Do not give up on the idea that there are people that fight to resist that.

I am a fourth generation Canadian first and foremost, but I embrace my heritage, culture and beliefs. One of the most interesting things for me is learning about other cultures, religions and nationalities, so I would ask that you not judge Judaism or Israel based on the alleged actions of some individuals from the Jewish community.

I would be happy to teach you more about Yom Kippur or Israel and would like to learn about your cultures in return. Fortunately for everyone, I am sure I'm not the only one.

Shoshana Lowe
Biology and Psychology II

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