Volume 95, Issue 63

Thursday, January 24, 2002
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Terrorism a la United States

Defending the downtrodden hippies

Defending the downtrodden hippies

Slacktose Intolerant
Chris Lackner
C&C Editor

Just because "hippies" are "dirty" doesn't mean their commentary should fall upon deaf ears.

Throughout The Gazette's 2001-02 publication run, perhaps no group on campus has been the focus of as much Gazette sarcasm as those on the left-wing, labelled affectionately as "hippies."

For example, one need only look back at our editorial on Oct. 30, 2001, where we ridiculed the "paltry" 200 protesters who showed up at a London policy convention to protest the policies of the Mike Harris' government: "It's the protesters who should walk away with their tails between their legs."

Even when we put hippies on our "nice" Santa Claus editorial list, we simply couldn't restrain ourselves: "Hippies: thanks for your sense of left-wing righteous indignation, tambourines, complete lack of hygiene standards and your application of altruistic morality whenever it's convenient."

Whether you're sympathetic with "hippie" causes or wish they'd beat themselves over the head with their own "tambourines," it is important to listen to the perspectives of the left.

In April 2001, close to 40,000 people descended upon Quebec City to protest at the Summit of the Americas, where heads of state from across the Americas discussed the prospect of intercontinental free trade.

Despite creating wealth for some, it is hard to argue such agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, have not been detrimental to environmental and labour standards, job security and political sovereignty.

These criticisms remain vital to the future of trade, but they have been marginalized post-Sep.11.

Just this week, students at Queen's University held a sit-in at their principal's offices to protest the university's proposal to deregulate undergraduate tuition fees. Although the prospect of the current government endorsing undergraduate deregulation is slim, it could be a reality in the near future.

Do we want future students paying $10,000 a year for a general arts degree? Whether you agree with their tactics or not, the protesters at Queen's attempted to convey a message we can't afford to ignore.

The left-leaning, "hippy"-controlled Toronto Star recently published some interesting numbers. The current death count for the World Trade Centre attacks is 2,893, while the current estimate of civilian death in Afghanistan is 4,000 and growing.

In the United States, relatives of the WTC attack victims are pressuring for more than the $1.65 million in compensation, while in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, starving families are waiting in lines for a bag of wheat.

Whether you support the war or consider yourself a critic, the numbers offer something to consider.

"Hippies" may be dirty and love tambourines, but downplaying the insights [and even the faults] of the left-wing makes us all a little more ignorant.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001