November 26, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 49  

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You down with NDP, yeah you know me

Re: "Voter apathy," Nov. 20, 2003

To the Editor:

I couldn't resist responding to David Molenhuis' rant in The Gazette this past Thursday. To begin with, it would be redundant to lower the amount of seats in the provincial legislature to a level comparable to other provinces. Ontario is the most populous province in Canada and thus needs the current level of 103 members of provincial parliament to represent its citizens. As well, to adjust the Official Party Status rule out of convenience for the New Democratic Party only mocks the reason for having the rule in place. Perhaps if the NDP promoted and lobbied for legislative reform, specifically for a mixed-member proportional electoral system where every party in the election is represented in the legislative assembly, then their current status might not be repeated in future elections.

In regards to voter apathy on campus, the University Students' Council has initiated the SmartVote campaign that informs students about municipal, provincial and federal elections. If the initiative has not made an impact on the student body, then a review of its effectiveness should be undertaken.

Since Mr. Molenhuis enthusiastically concluded his letter with a self-comparison to Brian from The Breakfast Club, I would like to finish with a quote from Bender of the same cult classic: "Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up, we'll all get up, it'll be anarchy!" I'm just glad to see some people are still fighting the good fight.

Rob Ford
Honors Political Science/French III

Smoke on the water(ing hole)

Re: "Bars say smoking bylaw hurts," Nov. 19, 2003

To the Editor:

Let's be honest: are smokers simply going to stop visiting the bar because they can't get a drag in between drinks? Some restaurants and club owners might be unhappy with the recent change, but studies of other cities that passed similar anti-smoking by-laws show the initial decline in the numbers of customers is only temporary.

Has anyone thought about all the people who are often turned away from bars and nightclubs due to the smoke? Last time I checked, having asthma or a smoke allergy wasn't a choice. I have yet to hear of anyone I know complain and I believe London has won a long-deserved victory. Even smokers I know applaud this movement because they've been having trouble quitting in the past. Smoking is an individual choice, but who's to say it's not also our choice to decide whether or not we want to breathe in second-hand smoke?

Carcinogens? Tar? For me? I prefer fresh air and long-term good health.

Min Min Tong
Biology II

MIT gets pissy

Re: "'Skanky' Blackmore Shirt," Nov. 20, 2003

To the Editor:

Wait till you see our winter line! Thanks for the cross-promotion. What synergy!

And Macfarlane, way to include the word FUCK in the school paper at least once a week. Your mother must be proud.

Brad Newman
VP-External MITSC, USC Councillor

Thanks for the free publicity. Finally, some news coverage - the exact thing your staffers are trained to avoid.

Mark Brown

Ed. note: All of our mothers are proud. Very fucking proud.


Fasting times at Ramadan High

To the Editor:

More than three weeks have now past since the beginning of the blessed Islamic month of Ramadan. During this month, one in every six people across the globe unite to fulfill the second fundamental pillar of Islam, fasting. All five pillars of Islam are performed at exactly the same time by all Muslims everywhere. This unity in performing the pillars of Islam instills a feeling of motivation to invite others to this blessed way of life. In today's capitalist societies, we tend to lose sight of our own existence and the existence of our creator.

An engineer who creates a machine and knows it inside out is the most qualified to diagnose and repair this machine if it were to break down. Likewise, the One who created us knows how we function and understands how to remedy our problems. The difference that distinguishes us from machines is that God places the choice to fix our lives in our own hands.

The choice of a Muslim to redeem him/herself is through coming closer to his/her Creator through various forms of worship. One of those forms of worship is fasting, to refrain from food, drink and lustful desires from dawn till dusk. Fasting in Ramadan is a 30-day training session of self-control whereby the physical body, that is consistently given its pleasures, is deprived of its desires, and the spiritual body that is consistently starved, is fed. If, as human beings, we cannot control our own physical desires, then we cannot expect to control other people's innate desires, which may be intolerable in today's society, such as theft, sexual harassment, dishonesty and so on.

As Muslims, constantly attempting to control ourselves through fasting, praying and giving charity provides us with a way of life whereby we control our desires and not follow them blindly. In addition, these acts of worship provide us with an ever-increasing motivation to attain peace and comfort.

Ayman Oweida
VP-Muslim Students' Association



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