Not so safe after all
Your Oct. 21 editorial (“The world is becoming a safer place for all—except terrorists, From the Editors) characterizes the U.S.’s use of drone attacks in Pakistan as having little or no downside. In reality, the drone strikes are a source of terror for the people of Pakistan, particularly those in the region of North Waziristan, where most drone strikes occur. Al-Qaeda-linked groups have killed dozens of local villagers they accused of being spies for U.S. drone strikes. If you read the entire findings from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, you’d would be hard pressed to paint such a positive picture. Amnesty International has also issued a report called about U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan,” which details their effects. Among them is the October 2012 killing of 68-year-old Mamana Bibi. She was killed in a double strike, apparently by a Hellfire missile, as she picked vegetables in the family’s fields while surrounded by a handful of her grandchildren.
Alex Prim, Co-ordinator, Amnesty International Group 151, Boston
The U.S. was the first nation to develop nuclear weapons; today even an economic basket case such as North Korea can build a bomb. The U.S. may be a leader in the drone technology, but the day will come when the world will witness its first drone attack by a terror organization. Your editorial’s conclusion is correct; the war on terror may never end. It is naive, however, to suggest that the development of greater intelligence and focus in that war is limited to governments.
André Carrel, Terrace, B.C.
Time to sing a new song
If David Gilmour’s curriculum and our national anthem are important issues for feminist groups (“Why the song must remain the same,” Opinion, Oct. 21), I suggest they redirect their time and resources to help boys and men. Boys drop out of school, commit and experience violence at rates much higher than girls. Politically astute women could raise placards on marches to help single dads get equality in our biased family court systems. They could apply pressure campaigns so that corporations see sponsoring men’s cancers as important a cause as women’s. They could use their unwavering sense of equality to help establish men’s studies courses and “men’s issues groups” on campuses where they are effectively non-existent or banned. They could use their clout in our education systems to hire more male teachers and use their branding talents to re-engineer our social attitudes thus allowing more men to stay home as fathers if they choose.
Paul Coulombe, Toronto
I am very much in favour of changing our national anthem by replacing “thy sons” with “all of us.” It’s obvious to me that women are excluded by the current lyrics. All the arguments Emma Teitel uses against changing the wording only support the rightness of that change; she goes so far as to call the wording “quaint”—not a word I want to associate with my national anthem. Wedding traditions and Shabbat traditions are not in themselves oppressive, however, lyrics that were once indicative of an oppressive culture do not lose their edge; as long as the wording exists, the underlying culture does, too.
Elke Teichler, Dawson Creek, B.C.
Emma Teitel’s column brought to light so many more changes that our anthem should undergo. With so many Canadians today being immigrants, they cannot rightfully claim this country as their “native” land. For these millions, the lyric should be changed to “home and amazing land.” Similarly, we have a lot of elderly and infirm citizens, some wheelchair bound or even bedridden. So, “with glowing hearts” and “stand on guard” are impossibilities for these Canadians. “God keep our land”? What about the atheists? Wouldn’t “Let’s keep our land” be more appropriate? All these changes must be made immediately. Oh, Canada, surely we have more important and pertinent issues to pursue than this!
Ken Whitehead, Dartmouth, N.S.
After reading his most recent column about BlackBerry (“About that open letter from BlackBerry,” Feschuk, Oct. 28), I’d like Scott Feschuk to tell me if it is his role in life to crap on all things Canadian? There is a lot of competition out there for inventive, risk-taking people. BlackBerry has done Canada proud in a very crowded field and has many satisfied followers. They have also created an industry that employs thousands that has bolstered greatly the Canadian economy. Why can the media not support our homegrown industries, instead of leaping into the camp of the U.S. competition?
Mike Whitney, Kimberley, B.C.
Bring on the better human
Thank you for your inspiring article, “Building a better human” (Rethink, Oct. 21). As a person with damaged lungs (I have 25 per cent capacity) due to a condition similar to cystic fibrosis and also have end-stage kidney failure (around 10 per cent function), knowing there are so many dedicated people out there who are working on projects that could one day make my life easier is very good news indeed. I scorn the ignorant views that we are “tampering” with the human body. Would those people be so quick to say that if they were in the same position as someone like me?
Jim Hutton, Calgary