January 27, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 64  

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The long and short of it

Re: “Confessions from an Amazon,” Jan. 9, 2004

To the Editor:
I guess the adage is true: you always want what you don’t have. For all the tall girls who wish they could shrink a few inches, being short isn’t all that and a gin and tonic.

I can’t buy jeans without getting them hemmed, capris are really more like pants and there’s nothing mini about any of my skirts. I have to grocery shop with someone tall enough to reach the top three shelves and I now have to look UP to my younger sister — a recent development everyone but me finds amusing. Going out with my 5’10” roommates is like being a wiener dog among giraffes, and it’s an incredible feat to haul myself into any SUV or truck.

You’d think I would have a short complex or something, but I don’t. I swear. You can tell by the two dozen pairs of 4” heels in my closet.

Jessica Richardson
Arts III

A lost $14

To the Editor:
Most of us remember the joyous occasion of cancelled classes in high school — even if by virtue of the enigmatic “5 minute rule.” A cancelled class was reason for celebration, because in secondary school attendance was mandatory, and from our perspective, free.

However, it appears as though many of Western’s not-so-bright have retained the same attitude towards cancelled lectures at the university level. “Back to bed!” or “Beers at The Spoke!” typify the reactions of many Western students to the announcement of cancelled class.

What many of these disillusioned individuals seem to have forgotten is that we pay to be here, and a cancelled lecture is our money being burned before our eyes. A semester of one course costs approximately $500, and with an average of three hours for one class per week, each lecture ends up costing a student in the ballpark of $14. Incorporating into the equation the number of students in the class, these lost costs can in many cases climb into the thousands.

So next time a professor announces a class cancellation, stand up on your chair and demand the lecture you paid for. Another option, for more introverted and modest individuals, is to simply approach the professor and ask for a return on your $14 investment.

Peter Janiszewski
Kinesiology IV

OSAP is crap

Re: “Gov’t admits OSAP ‘isn’t working’,” Jan. 20, 2004

To the Editor:
I was glad to hear the government has finally realized that what they may deem as “in a student’s best financial interest” on paper may not always be the case in real life. Now more than ever, especially with the double cohort year increasing the student population at a dramatic rate, the needs of students have risen tremendously. Housing is more expensive, book costs are adding up and basic student living is not so basic anymore. At my residence alone, our rent is guaranteed to rise at least 5 per cent every year.

I am in my third year at Western and this is also my third year receiving OSAP. Attending university probably would not have been possible if it were not for the financial assistance from the provincial government. Unfortunately, OSAP has disappointed me with a discrepancy I think everyone should be aware of.

As I was ready to pick up the second installment of my OSAP a few weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that my papers were not even sent to the university. After speaking to some helpful councillors, I was shocked to discover I had to pay over $800 to the government before I could even receive my papers. Due to a discrepancy found in my application from last year, I had been “over awarded” money. What does all this translate into? I better pay up if I even want to see the rest of my loan.

The government may be stepping in the right direction by admitting the system is not working, but it is one thing to admit it and another thing to actually do something about it. If the run-around I have experienced with OSAP is any indication that the government is heading for improvement, they still have a long way to go.

Emily Anonuevo

Disrespecting dwares

Re: “Dwarf Tossing Comes to London, PETA Declines Comment,” Jan. 21, 2004

To the Editor:
I would like to know what Mr. Bellamy’s purpose was in contacting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for comment on the dwarf-tossing issue. Isn’t this “sport” de-humanizing enough without the added insult of equating dwarves with animals?

Club VIP co-owner Jeffery Baines justifies this activity by saying that it is hard to attract customers to a bar without a smokers’ patio. If that’s the problem, then Baines should build a damn patio, not toss a dwarf!

Picking up a human being and throwing him is being condoned and accepted as entertainment. It is disgusting to think humanity has sunk so low.

Lorelei Harris
MIT/History II

Last laugh

Re: “If we had $20 million to spend,” Jan. 21, 2004

To The Editor:
You are an ass. Ha Ha Ha.

Deanna “a feminist with a sense of humour” Spencer
Women’s Studies V

Big surprise: Mid-East speaker polarizes readers

Re: “Mixed Response to IAC Speaker,” January 22, 2004

To the Editor:
Having spent much of my life learning about the state of Israel, I have to say that hearing Walid Shoebat, who came to speak to a large audience alongside Rabbi Tovia Singer, was one of the most interesting and unique educational experiences of my life. Anyone can spend a few minutes doing research and get a basic feel for the two sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Once this is done, a question is likely to arise very soon: What causes Palestinian terrorism?

Shoebat brought perhaps the most unique perspective to this question. Walid is a former terrorist for the Palestinian Liberation Organization who was involved in all sorts of violence, including planned bombings. His accounts of growing up in the indoctrinating system of schools, mosques and media run by the PLO was more compelling than any book or article, no matter how scholarly the source. Walid brought a rare first-hand account of how Palestinian children — as he himself once was — are molded into instruments of hatred and violence.

Perhaps the most poignant part of the night happened near the end. One member of a small group of detractors who were not interested in Shoebat’s story decided to exit the event by storming out while spewing malicious accusations at the speakers and moderator. Just before this young man exited the room, Shoebat picked up a microphone and addressed the rabble-rouser personally: “I was once just like you,” he said.

I personally hope that this angry young man understood the message Shoebat had conveyed — a mind filled with hatred will never truly see the light of peace.

Matthew Fisher
Political Science II

To the Editor:
An anonymous student described the talk as “one-sided horse shit,” but I have trouble understanding how Walid Shoebat’s courageous story, along with Rabbi Singer’s astute analysis, could be interpreted in that way. Shoebat’s presentation juxtaposed his hate-filled youth with his adulthood, where he chose to rebel against his people in pursuit of the truth. If this is seen as “one-sided,” then it is simply because of a disagreement with his argument and frustration that an individual who once towed the party line has decided to research the foundation of his beliefs.

“Denial,” which Hussam Ayyad, president of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, claims Shoebat demonstrated, is the exact opposite of what his life is based around. Shoebat has noticed his previous denial of accepting Jews as humans and has confronted the world he was once part of to deal with their denial too.

Elyse Levy
Economics II

To the Editor:
Why call it a peace talk if all you’re trying to do is hate?

Israel Action Committee speaker Walid Shoebat cannot possibly represent the Palestinian people. Shoebat’s childhood, sad and full of hatred, is unique — his father was horrible and mistreated him and his American mother. It’s too bad that instead of resolving his issues with his father, he’s chosen to spew generalized lies about the community to which his estranged father belongs. Well respected rabbis disassociate from Shoebat’s message completely. According to Rabbi Nadya Gross: “I’m wary of exchanging one kind of hatred for another kind of hatred... Shoebat’s fiery passion has just found another target.”

Shoebat sees things in black and white: Jews are righteous and chosen by God, so Palestinians must then be evil. Can discourse like this ever lead to peace? Is “we were chosen by God” reason enough for Israel to continue oppressing the Palestinians?

Another speaker, Rabbi Tovia Singer said, as evident in the Holocaust, the only way a people can comfortably oppress another is by dehumanizing their victims. As such, the IAC event focused on dehumanizing the Palestinians, calling them an evil and hateful bunch. News flash: If Palestinians are taught to hate, it is by Israeli soldiers humiliating, harassing and brutalizing them daily. If Israelis are taught to hate, it is by Palestinian suicide bombers. Neither “side” is more evil than the other and neither kills with God’s support.

I hope the next event the IAC has will not be an effort to dehumanize Palestinians, but rather will focus on substantive reasons to provide Israel with support.

Randa B. Mouammar, M.A.
Faculty of Law, LL.B. (2005)

To the Editor:
There’s nothing wrong with freedom of speech and nothing right with hate speech. What exactly is the purpose of a talk that dilutes the issue and encourages more hatred of the type it purports to condemn? Do racist attacks and callous disregard make these guys feel better?

I have never been so offended and outraged as I was at the end of the “Let’s Talk Peace” event last Wednesday. Almost everything mentioned at the so-called “Let’s Talk Peace” event involved ignorant and baseless attacks on Muslims and Christians, who are, if the message is to be derived properly, “murderous and raping.”

“Muslims are not innocent; Christians are not innocent. They are all connected to the Holocaust,” one of the speakers, Walid Shoebat, said. The speakers also ridiculously suggested that Nazism is the doing of Islam and Muslims. Not only does this encourage a distorted and false image of Islam, but it is blatantly untrue.

Insults, lies, ignorance and hate all came together that night. Where is the talk of peace? If the organizers of the event actually intended to talk peace, their invitation of a bigot was a gross misstep. The only thing more unbelievable than the title was those who laughed and screamed “YEAH!” during the speech. May they never know the yoke of oppression and occupation.

Wassim El Khatib



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