January 30, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 67  

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The road to peace starts at home

To the Editor:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has escalated to gruesome new levels in the past decade. We have become so immune to it that upon hearing about the death of yet another Israeli soldier or the killing of Palestinian children, we are hardly shocked. Many have tried to implement a solution to resolve this conflict, while others with hidden agendas have just added fuel to the fire.

The solution I propose is not George W. Bush’s “road map,” but rather an internal solution. It is a solution that will take time and dedication by those directly and indirectly involved. I am neither Palestinian nor Israeli, but as a human being, I can empathize with both sides and their desire to suppress this ongoing carnage — enough blood has been spilled.

The recent fiasco that has been taking place on Western’s campus by certain clubs is repulsive. If we cannot develop an understanding and compassion for one another here in a peaceful surrounding, how can we ever expect to solve the crisis in the Middle East? Propagating hate towards a particular religion or ethnic group in justification of portraying your side of the issue is unacceptable.

The way we perceive and treat one another reflects our true intentions and motivations. We need to empathize with one another and open our eyes so that we may stand and speak against brutality and oppression. Change comes from within and once true peace and understanding resides in our hearts, it will have a ripple effect.

I am not suggesting that one sit idly by if oppression or violence is taking place. Speak up against it, but do not fail to look at why it is taking place. If you sincerely want to resolve this issue, then make it a priority to listen to the other side with the intention to resolve, rather than listening only to defend your views and state that you are right and they are wrong.

If I have offended anyone or any particular group or club, it has been done unknowingly because my intention is not to offend or demean anyone. I, like many others, only want to see peace come to this Holy Land.

Zari Hamidi
Sociology/Religious Studies III

Israeli wall unfortunate but needed

Re: “Panel looks at the pain of the Mid-East conflict,” Jan. 28, 2004

To the Editor:
It is a tragedy when any human life is lost. Unfortunately, the organizers of the event at which Rachel Corrie’s parents spoke don’t seem to recognize the loss of life of completely innocent Israelis in coffee shops, night clubs and university cafeterias.

This event was content on offering a message that the fence Israel has constructed to defend its citizens from murder is, in their misinformed opinion, constructed for the sole purpose of “dehumanizing Palestinians.” The reality these organizers neglect is that the sole purpose for the fence is to protect the right to life.

The single most important human right is the right to life — be it Rachel Corrie’s life or another child coming home from school on a bus. The choice is as follows: slow down buses to check for explosive devices designed for murder or allow them to carry such devices uninhibited to the neighbourhoods, playgrounds and shopping malls to be used as intended.

With a situation as delicate as the Middle East conflict, it is important to acknowledge the views of both sides. The speakers from Tuesdays’s lecture failed to do so, as they did not recognize that Israel’s actions, whose sole purpose is the protection of its citizens, are a direct result of terrorism. These security measures, as unfortunate as they may be, are necessary in order to protect the welfare of all citizens of Israel.

Julia Driman
Psychology II
Ariella Goodman
Political Science II

Hijab hijinx

Re: “Zut alors!” Jan. 29, 2004

To the Editor:
Why is France so stupid? Why is it that a liberal democratic state has taken it upon itself to dictate how one’s religion may be practiced? France wants crosses, hijabs and kippots out of the classroom, thinking that the way to separate religion and state is by eliminating religion. Wrong. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The way I understand separation of religion and state is as follows: everyone has their own beliefs, but we don’t want one (or any) religion influencing or dictating how our political system is run. This makes sense, seeing as a democracy wants to best represent what’s good for everybody, regardless of their religion. The acceptance of religion as sacred to the individual is a cornerstone of democratic ideology.

In Canada, we can come to school and wear whatever we want. I am not, nor should I be, intimidated by anyone’s religious apparel (unless it clashes). Ideally, I shouldn’t even notice it; I should care more for the person than what book he prays from. In that way, we can live and prosper together.

One final example: Sept. 11. The hijackers like Mo’ Atta were not crazy Osamas from the Afghan mountains; they were middle-class, European dwellers alienated from their state.

If France wants to set an example for the world, it will recognize that their citizens, regardless of religious belief, are important to the success of the nation as a whole and must be respected as such.

The idea of separation of religion and state is not to eliminate religion from the state, but to eliminate religion as a barrier in the psyche of those who inhabit the state.

Jen Gurion
Political Science I

Spoke becomes a joke

To the Editor:
It is unfortunate that the popularity of The Spoke has declined so much over the past year.

One of the main reasons for this decline is that The Spoke no longer offers students incentives to go, such as the dollar beers they had last year on Monday nights. While the on-campus bars used to be a favourite among students, we need to be persuaded to come back. I really think The Spoke can gain back its popularity (even without the re-introduction of Wet/Dry) by providing us with reasons to go.

With the termination of the Wet/Dry program, these bars no longer have to worry about underage students drinking, and therefore, deals that were previously in use at The Spoke can be re-implemented.

Amy Rotman
Anthropology III



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