October 15 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 25  

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Can't we just get along?

To the Editor:
My heart saddens at the realization the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still occupies up to half of The Gazette’s Letters to the Editor. This is my fourth and last year here and I naively hoped some sort of co-operation could exist between Western’s Muslims and Jews.

As a Jew, I ask my fellow Jews to please stop using silencing techniques like insulting people as “self-hating Jews” and “propagandists.” If we are to criticize people, it must be on the basis of their opinions, not their character. Bringing up the Holocaust to justify repression of Palestinians is sickening.

As a fellow human being who cares passionately about the Middle East, I ask Muslims to please stop pretending Israel is the sole cause of conflict in the Middle East. Palestine-as-symbol is a convenient way to avoid other problems in this troubled region.

We do not want to radicalize this campus, repeating the horrible events at Concordia University last year. We seem to be replicating the Middle East conflict over here, as Jews instinctively support Israel and Muslims automatically support the Palestinians. Let us use the recent death of Edward Said to remind us the only solution lies in understanding each other’s pain and finding mutual empathy.

Jordan Smith
Political Science/English IV

Ain't no stagnation...

Re: “Patronizing not the way,” Oct. 7, 2003

To the Editor:
In his letter, Mark Blainey makes two fallacious accusations I’d like to address. He accuses the Israel Action Committee of patronizing others by trying to “educate the apparently misinformed university students” and claims my attitude “stagnates the learning of the rest of us.”

The above premises lead him to the conclusion I am against free speech. Ironically, those are the exact approaches Norman Finkelstein utilizes. Finkelstein patronized “misinformed” Israel supporters and stagnated their learning by hurling unprovoked insults at them. Using Blainey’s reasoning, one must also arrive at the conclusion Finkelstein himself is against free speech.

I expressed my ideas in a medium that encourages the free exchange of ideas. How this stagnates anyone’s learning is beyond me. Moreover, it seems you missed the main point of my argument: it’s not Finkelstein’s ideas that make him an intellectual thug, it’s the way he instills fear in audience members that oppose his views by attacking their character rather than their arguments. I’d love to see you express your opinions in such a poisoned environment.

Mr. Blainey, I encourage you to actually join the IAC before you criticize it. Maybe then you would learn that we strive to educate students on relevant issues like the rights of women and homosexuals in Israel, not tell them what to think.

Paul Rakowski
Co-Chair, Israel Action Committee

...nor any hateration

To the Editor:
In an interview with the Canadian Jewish News, Paul Rakowski stated Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) is “infamous for creating a climate of hate.” Not only is this defamatory, but it’s logically inconsistent and absolutely wrong.

First, SPHR is not a “Palestinian club.” We advocate the rights of Palestinians without ethnically limiting our member base. It’s a human rights club and we respect the rights of others as much as we do the Palestinians. As such, we are dedicated to eliminating, rather than creating, hateful environments.

Rakowski also said student activists at Western are “not at the same level” as their counterparts at other schools. Is he implying student activists in general are volatile or simply that we’re responsible for the activities of our sister organizations? SPHR at Western is represented by the actions of other SPHR clubs as much as the Jewish Students’ Union elsewhere can be blamed for Rakowski’s words. SPHR has not created a hateful environment anywhere, but rather has more often been the victim of such notions of “hate.”

Mr. Rakowski, let Western students decide how “hateful” our club is and refrain from representing us as such to the media. We are not Holocaust deniers, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. We serve an educational function to offset propaganda and strive to protect the rights of Palestinians everywhere. Reducing the Middle East conflict to a Bush-like “with us or against us” is to simplify a complicated issue and also creates divisions in a school otherwise accepting of all.

Randa B. Mouammar
Law II

A vote of confidence

Re: “Mustangs need shakeup,” Oct. 8, 2003

To the Editor:
Western has a long and storied tradition in athletics, particularly in the sport of football. Head coach Larry Haylor has been the key contributor to the success of this program over the past 19 years and he continues to demonstrate his passion for football and his commitment to excellence. He and his coaching staff instill this desire to win in their players on a daily basis. Coach Haylor has the full support of both the university and the Department of Sports and Recreation Services.

Dan Smith
Director, Sports and Recreation Services

Yay for binder finder

To the Editor:
Two weeks ago I misplaced a binder in which I keep all my contacts. Losing this binder was devastating as I had no way of contacting Huron University College students about their Intramural sports. While this information would have little value to anyone else, I also had $30 in the binder.

To my surprise, the binder was turned into campus police along with all the money. I just want to extend my gratitude to the person who turned in my binder. You have given me faith Western is comprised of good people.

Rob Hunter
Huron Economics III

Ze Germ-ans

To the Editor,
Over the past year I have noticed a growing problem on campus, in particular around the Natural Sciences Building. Certain individuals on campus feel the need to wear medical scrubs and lab coats into the Nucleus. Now I am not sure if these people are making an attempt at showing how important they think they are or whether they are subconsciously attempting to spread bacteria through-out the campus and their “clinics.”

In hopes of enlightening some of these lab-coat sporting “intellects,” I was hoping you could re-publish an article from a Gazette issue back in Sep. 1998 entitled “Protect everyone, take it off.” Although the article is five years old now, it still holds true today.

Clayton Crawley
MSc. Candidate
Biology Department

Deep focus

Re: “Gays can straighten out: Group,” Oct. 1, 2003

To the Editor:
Catherine Clune-Taylor, president of Queer Western Ontario, says it is ridiculous such groups as Focus on the Family (FOTF) exist today and they are simply “repackaging homophobia.” She couldn’t be further from the truth.

I have known “homophobes”— people so uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality they had trouble speaking objectively and inoffensively on the topic. In fact, one of them accompanied me to this touching and powerful conference. After the first speaker, my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes, saying he learned more about homosexuality through that hour than he had in his whole life. The day continued in such an eye-opening and heart-exploring manner. My friend left a completely different person, as did I, and now speaks on the topic with a much gentler, more loving manner than he did before.

I cannot fathom how Ms. Clune-Taylor could be shocked such organizations as FOTF exist today. They do not breed hatred and homophobia; they open our eyes to reality and convert people like my friend and me into loving, compassionate and understanding Christians, like we are supposed to be. If having an organization like them is not an asset to our society, then I don’t know what is.

Shona Black
Physics III

Lactose intolerant

Re: “Dairy slims while pop makes you fat: study,” Oct. 3, 2003

To the Editor:
Although milk and milk products are rich sources of calcium, they are also rich sources of fat. Skim milk may cause weight reduction, but these other milk products may not have the same effect. It is better to choose lower fat foods more often and enjoy a variety of foods.

Drinking pop in moderation will not cause an increase in weight, especially if one engages in regular exercise. Eating a variety of foods, eating in moderation, watching your calorie intake and engaging in regular exercise, helps to maintain one’s weight.

Regina Kutin
Nursing III


To the Editor:
What is with the shoes hanging off power lines?

Adam Weir

Wet/Dry policy controversy has yet to dry up... or wet up

Re: “Wet/Dry a USC must,” Oct. 3, 2003

To the Editor:
The Wet/Dry program at Western has always been a privilege, not a right. Brook Dyson has apparently lost track of this fact. All underage students willingly sign a contract for the privilege of being able to enter The Wave and The Spoke. If students this year have decided to ignore those contracts, they deserve to have their privileges taken away. I hope the four underage students caught drinking realize their own selfishness led to the demise of a program that has benefited thousands over the years.

It is not crucial that the University Students’ Council allow underage students to enter bars. If underage students want to take advantage of their fees and frequent The Wave and The Spoke, they should enjoy a meal during the day instead of going when they are in “bar” mode. It would be wonderful if the bars could be modified so Wet/Dry could be reinstated in some form, but that costs money. Should students “of age” be forced to pay from their fees so underage students can again go to bars?

The Wet/Dry program has run its course. With a majority of first-year students now underage it is no longer feasible to be running a program where thousands need to be monitored to ensure no laws are being broken or thousands of dollars spent to allow the program to continue. There are many other ways to socialize on this campus that don’t involve bars. Any money spent renovating bars so underage students can continue to enter would be far better spent instead promoting these other means of socializing. Heck, it might even result in a drop in Intramural fees (which we all know Mr. Dyson would appreciate).

Jon Richardson
Honours Kinesiology 2002
Law I, UNB

Re: “Wet/Dry a USC Must,” Oct. 3, 2003

To the Editor:
In his letter, Mr. Dyson asserts the University Students’ Council must represent all students and puts forth the underlying suggestion the USC has relegated the issue to the back burner.

It may interest the Western community to know Mr. Dyson himself is a voting member of the USC as a King’s University College Councillor. In addition, upon reviewing USC meeting minutes, I can find no concerns about the Wet/Dry program raised by Mr. Dyson at Council.

Mr. Dyson could accomplish much more if he used the power the students of King’s gave him in their last election. When Mr. Dyson chooses instead to write a letter to The Gazette, he is no better than those members of the USC he critiques.

Many councillors, including myself, have been investigating this issue since we heard about it at the Sep. 10th meeting. We continue to follow it today and I, for one, welcome Mr. Dyson to join us.

Arzie Chant
Science Councillor
University Students’ Council



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