Chronicle Herald Letters to the Editor, Jan. 22, 2007

Chronicle Herald Letters to the Editor (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Jan. 22, 2007

Shameful incident

I was shocked by the vitriolic, hypocritical hyperbole of feigned intellectual injury, accompanied by induced hysteria of a lynch mob variety, which occurred this week at a Halifax hotel. All this political show was provided for our television news cameras by so-called defenders of the politically correct agenda.

The fact that this verbal and physical assault took place in a city that prides itself on its openness to the world, or so our leaders say, is shameful. Halifax has again provided a venue where freedom of speech and freedom of movement are a fraud!

Hijacked by the personal agendas of the legions of the loud, we see Haligonians, and Nova Scotians in general, portrayed for all to see on the national news as masked and hooded hooligans who, regardless of the right or wrong of the debate, have taken it upon themselves to speak and act on behalf of the so-called silent majority.

Well, aren’t these hooded, masked and physically violent people doing exactly what they accuse racists of doing? Note to all participants of the mob: This is not Montgomery, Ala., or the American South.

Seeing the ugly and pathetically childish behaviour by our young people, I was ashamed that this was occurring where I live. Shame on the mob who participated in this act of aggression against an individual and, more so, shame on the authorities for allowing this incident to occur in our city.

Louis Leroux, Halifax

Freedom of hearing

Never have I been as proud of Nova Scotians as I was when I read about the protesters who prevented Jared Taylor from speaking at the Lord Nelson Hotel (Jan. 17 story). Bravo!

Were they over the top? Not at all! This is exactly the kind of reaction we need to have towards anyone spewing intolerance. Just because someone has the right of free speech doesn’t mean that our city should provide the forum for it. We NEED to show all people that we stand together against racism.

I also want to express that along with our freedom of speech, there needs to be freedom of hearing. It deeply offends, worries and upsets me when I am subjected to the kind of misinformation and prejudice that Mr. Taylor is spreading. What about my rights not to be offended, worried or upset?

I only wish that CTV News had been concerned with my rights before giving Mr. Taylor an audience on the program. On hearing that they would be interviewing him, I promptly turned the channel. I hope there weren’t any children in homes tuned to ATV while his drivel was being aired. Isn’t there some way we can protect our next generation from being exposed to Mr. Taylor and his backward views?

Shelly Casey, Lakeside

Rights only for some?

Did I understand a recent televised news report, where it seemed to me a college professor found it proper that freedom of speech was denied another person, by methods I think likely Hitler’s thugs would have used?

It was my impression college professors value tenure to give them “academic freedom” to express any opinion they might hold. Do they really feel freedom of speech should be restricted to themselves and those they agree with? Or is this professor an anomaly? If so, I think the others should speak up.

John Newcomb, Walton

Lower than low

Regarding the Jared Taylor incident, the only people lower than he was were the masked hecklers and the thugs who trespassed by carrying him out of his (rented) property. These young (as it appeared) people, and anyone who supports them, need to learn that in Canada, we have the right to object, but not to be objectionable—and in this case, possibly act criminally.

I have no time for the man’s view, but even less for the hooligan, vigilante treatment to which he was subjected.

A.B. Elieff, Kingston

Free speech sacred

How ironic it is that our brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces are currently fighting and dying in Afghanistan in order to establish and protect democracy.

What we witnessed here in Nova Scotia, regarding the mugging of the American who was attempting to express his views on race, was criminal. These people, who were so cowardly that they felt compelled to cover their faces, would be the same ones condemning the actions of the Klan or any other extremist group. Simply because we do not agree with his opinion, that doesn’t give anyone the right to lynch him. He was forcibly dragged from the hotel room by thugs who disagreed with his message. The only thing missing was the hanging!

If this individual is encouraging or promoting hate crimes, then let our criminal justice system deal with him. There are those in our society who still believe the Earth is flat. Do we lynch these people because their message is ridiculous? We, as a free-thinking democratic society, don’t have to agree with his message, but we must agree with his right to express it.

Rod A’Court, Truro

Fight all bigotry

The Jan.17 paper has two page 1 articles, headlined “Crowd roughs up ‘race realist’” and “Paris charges racism.”

Both are about prejudice and bigotry. The first is about a right-wing speaker and the second one about perceived racism against a black MLA.

It is appalling to me that the police did not stop the mob that prevented the speaker from presenting his views. They should have defended our freedom of speech, however unpleasant the speaker might have been to some. They did not defend his right to speak.

We should not be surprised, therefore, that some prejudice may still be present even in the House of Assembly.

Racism comes in different “colours.” All should be fought with vigour.

The police have some explaining to do, and it is much more important than the botched Fage affair for which the chief held a press conference. Mob rule should not be allowed to govern our lives, regardless of whether it comes from the right, left, religion, race, etc.

Pavel (Paul) Calda, Halifax

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