Quebec Debate Short-Changed

Being a longtime reader and an occasional donor to Peace Magazine, I am really surprised about the unusually slanted title you gave the article "Secession and its Outcomes: A Conversation with Robert Schaeffer that Quebecers Should Read" (May/June).

I feel that the approach was unbalanced in that, in spite of its title, the article contained only two short paragraphs about Quebec separation in an article of four pages. Moreover the magazine cover showed a big picture of the Quebec flag, plus the large subtitle "What Separatists Should Know."

If you are going to get into a Quebec sovereignty debate, please do it in a more rational and less erratic manner!

In peace and love, anyway.

Alan Brown, Montreal, Que.

P.S. In such an otherwise detailed article on secessions, why didn't you two mention the peaceful separation of Norway and Sweden in 1905, and the peaceful splitting of the former colony of Dahomey into Togo and Benin in 1960?

Canada As Guilty As China

Chris Higgins's article in the July/Aug issue of Peace portrays the plight of the Uighur national minority in China. I agree that the hand of the Hans has been heavy, but I am wary of the implication that peace-minded people should back the demands for separate nationhood of every minority nationality around the globe.

What really bothers me, though, is not his viewpoint, but his conclusion -- which you strangely chose to highlight in a photo-sidebar. Look again at what he said: "Living in Canada, it is difficult to appreciate the pain and suffering endured by people who are forced to struggle for justice and cultural survival. They should be a source of inspiration for those of us who take our freedom and democracy for granted."

Why is it "difficult"? What better source for such inspiration could we find than the native people of Canada? It might be debatable whether our native people have suffered more brutality, discrimination, forced assimilation, "illegal occupation of their homeland," and even genocide than the Uighurs. But the smug ignorance of people living in Canada" who "appreciate" suffering only among foreign minorities is one reason why we are still so far from justice and cultural survival for a large number of the first Canadians.

Don Willmott, Owen Sound, Ont.

Feeling Disempowered?

I have subscribed to Peace Magazine since its beginning and consider it a necessary alternative medium for self-education. Having just read the May/June 1995 issue, I want to comment on the article "Balancing Market and Community Interests: Sustainability and the Global Economy" by David C. Korten. I don't dispute the need to educate people on this issue but believe that many people are aware of the social global economy. For example, the 1995 campaign "Fifty Years is Enough" aimed at the policies developed at the Bretton Woods Conference and implemented through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs. Furthermore the periodical The New Internationalist has published numerous articles on this subject over the past four to five years. Included with each of the articles is a list of organizations in countries worldwide who are working to change these policies and counteract their devastating effect. In addition to encouraging people to work with the existing organizations in their own country, suggestions are given to facilitate individual actions that can promote lifestyle changes in one's own community to influence these negative policies. David Korten's article left me feeling disempowered --a helpless bystander seeing the planet as a spinning top, turning faster and faster to its inevitable destruction. To effect social change, people need the "hope" that was expressed most eloquently in an article printed in a previous edition of Peace. Education alone does not suffice. It is a top-rate tool to be used for action. Articles such as David Korten's are valuable and important, but need to be balanced with empowering ideas and suggestions.

Jane Almond, Brantford, Ontario

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1995

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1995, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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