Lost in translation
Re: “Hijab-wearing an individual decision,” Feb.
To the Editor:
Andy Patton stated that Muslim women are forced to wear the
Hijab, and Raghab Ebied pointed out that some Muslim women
make a conscious decision to wear it. I feel the need to
mediate a common ground. Though some women decide to wear
the Hijab, many educated and uneducated women are forced
to, not by their countries, but by their families.
Raghab quoted a section of the Qur’an that has been
under severe scrutiny from Muslim scholars. Many state that
the request for women to dress modestly must be put in context
of the situation that existed prior to the Qur’an’s
revelation. Women were commonly flaunting their bodies, and
rape and abuse were common. It is no wonder that God commanded
modesty, for women’s safety and respect.
The definition of the “khumurihinna” has been
contested also. Many scholars believe the meaning was modified
after a consensus was developed regarding its meaning, consequent
to the Qur’an’s revelation. Thus, it is as fair
to assume that the meaning was modified post-Qur’an as
it is to assume the meaning existed prior to its revelation.
Language is a medium which individuals are free to interpret
and obey as they see fit and not according to formal definitions.
Many Muslim women have consciously decided that modesty is
a mental state and that no physical covering could ever guarantee
modesty. This is surely the case because one who is modest
in her dress is not always modest in her ways of being, and
In the end, I choose to defend the proverb, “To each
Political Science & Women’s Studies III
To the Editor:
I went to grab a quick lunch at the Nucleus Café in
the Natural Sciences Centre and wasn’t able to get a
seat for 15 minutes because of inconsiderate students taking
up the booths with their books. No food, they were just studying.
I find this unfair because we cannot take food to the library
and they could have easily been studying there. There are zillions
of places to study — stop making us wait to eat our damn
It’s the United States of whatever
Re: “America the Beautiful,” February 4, 2004
To the Editor:
Might I respectfully suggest that Ms. Burdzinski further research
her subject matter before pointing fingers? The professors
of the CentreSpot roundtable who, she would have us believe,
choose to “denounce America” as a “favourite
pastime” are not simply ignorant Canadians who “know
very few Americans and have spent very little time [in the
In fact, the debate was conducted by a professor at the Centre
for American Studies, who has likely spent the better part
of his life researching the stars and stripes, as well as Dr.
Bryce Traister, who is himself an American and Berkeley graduate.
To my mind, it is particularly telling that these experts
denounce George W. Bush’s chilling rhetoric (and perhaps,
by extension, American arrogance), as they have a wealth of
first-hand experience on which to draw. Indeed, the denunciation
is more than warranted — perhaps Bush’s America
has diverged from the country’s “founding ideology,” but
this self-aggrandizing divergence is supported by a majority
of contemporary Americans.
Furthermore, as a daughter of a Vietnam draft dodger, I feel
I must respond to Ms. Burdzinski’s “justification” of
American arrogance. My father, facing the prospect of fighting
a war in which he did not believe, moved to Canada to seek
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ironic, isn’t
To the Editor:
I think some of the anti-American sentiment that is so strongly
expressed stems from reaction to attitudes and misinformation
similar to that exhibited in Ms. Burdzinski’s letter.
To say “America was the first country founded on the
rational principle of individual rights — a beacon
of prosperity and freedom” is to prove my point perfectly.
She further describes the United States as being a progressive,
just and generous nation, saying it achieved its greatness “by
the hard work of free, individual, proud American minds.” I
disagree. I’d say those free, individual and proud Americans
had some help with building their economy from the African
slaves forced into service for over 500 years.
According to an article by Michael Moore, the U.S. is the
only country to drop bombs on over 20 different countries since
the end of World War II.
In addition, threats of economic sanctions against countries
that don’t play ball with U.S. foreign policy (specifically,
the proclamation that countries that refused to fight in Iraq
would be left out of business ventures resulting from the take-over)
would be considered which of the U.S.’s virtues Burdzinski
mentions? Progressiveness? Being “just”? Freedom?
Until the U.S. is willing to recognize that it can’t
continue to pretend to be the global gendarme it thinks it
is, we will continue to be squeezed more and more firmly under
its thumb, and resentment towards the U.S. will grow.
Am I Canadian? Yes. Am I arrogant? If yes, I’m sorry.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness shouldn’t
be left to definition and dissemination by the United States