Commentary  Letters: Semantics, Speling, and Intra-daily mail

A semantic battle

Re: “Resister? More like deserter” | Commentary | Oct. 9

Mike Prebil correctly noted in his letter that Jeremy Hinzman, if deported from Canada, would likely face a U.S. court martial for the crime of desertion.

However, Prebil also claimed that referring to Hinzman as “war resister” instead of “Army deserter” was inaccurate, and implied “the existence of a decidedly political dimension… where there is none to be found.”

I’m writing to weigh in on this semantic squabble.

First, note that the term “war resister” is frequently used by diverse news agencies, such as The Toronto Star, CTV, and Agence France-Presse. If the term is invalid, so much for their coverage.

But I would argue that the phrase is more accurate than “deserter” because it suggests a side of the story that is essentially political.

Going AWOL, for many soldiers, is an act of political resistance to the Iraq war. “War resister” is employed to distinguish these soldiers from those who deserted for nonpolitical reasons.

Hinzman has described the U.S.-led war in Iraq as “a criminal enterprise.” Many U.S. soldiers deserted the army because of their political opposition to unilateral aggressive war. The term “war resisters” acknowledges this political choice more clearly than “deserters.”

Note that during the sentencing hearing of war resister Robin Long, the prosecution used his public opposition to the war in Iraq as evidence against him.

However, the term “war resister” was not meant to suggest that Long was prosecuted for his opposition to the war alone. He is in jail for desertion, and I hope that was clear to readers.

David G. Koch

U3 Political Science

Daily staff writer

Choose Life and SACOMSS should work together

Re: “Clearing up a couple SACOMSS issues” | Commentary | Oct. 23

I’m writing to clear up Choose Life’s stance on abortion in the case of sexual assault for SACOMSS and The Daily. National Campus Life Network encourages and works with campus pro-life groups, but the groups themselves, such as Choose Life, are autonomous from NCLN. That said, our stance on this issue does not differ much.

Condoning ending the life of an innocent child conceived in rape is not consistent with Choose Life’s mandate to promote respect for human life and human rights from conception. Choose Life recognizes that regardless of how it happens, at fertilization, a unique, living human being is created. If it happens from sexual assault, we recognize that both the woman and unborn child are victims and need support. We would be more than happy to work with SACOMSS to help any survivor get the support and resources she would need to carry her pregnancy to term and choose to either raise her child or look into adoption.

Natalie Fohl

U2 Biology & Political Science

Founder of Choose Life

Abortion debaters should sit down and talk

Re: “Freedom of speech does not trump womens rights” | Commentary | Oct. 16

It is a sad day when pro-life advocates are placed on par with white-supremacist groups in consideration of the beliefs they hold. The point that pro-life advocates are in fact anti-choice is reflective of a small minority of radical proponents for the rights of the “unborn child” over those of the mother.

The problem with the entire abortion debate is that neither side is willing to realistically sit down and discuss the positions and arguments of the other side with the objective of trying to find a solution that takes both value sets into consideration. Being pro-life should not mean disregarding completely the right of a women in the process of birth, it is equally disgraceful for a pro-choice group to promote the ubiquity of abortions without considering the gravity of such a decision.

If advocating for the rights of the fetus is socially and morally wrong, there should be no reason to fear allowing it a voice, especially in an institution of higher education – moraly corrupt messages tend to self-destruct over time. Allowing a dialogue on the other hand, is important for the potential of establishing a voice for considering the implications and options that a large portion of the population consider to be preferable – something the pro-choice movement tends to fail in providing.

Access to abortion is a legally established right in Canada that is not going to disappear, but in an age of unrestricted access, it is foolish to deny a voice for prudence. The denial of any speech but hate speech is a tact of those who fear the legitimacy of the opposition’s argument. The moderate pro-lifer position is not a position against a women’s right to choose as much as it is simply a call to take the life, or potential for life of the fetus, into consideration. A far cry from hate speech.

As a close friend of mine has said, “Rights are not synonymous with a moral code,” and the right to an abortion, should not de facto make it an ethical action.

Philip Holdsworth

U4 Political Science & International Development Studies

Vice’s wisdom on the working class

Re: “Mind the gap: Borough on the brink” | Culture | Oct. 23

I would like to invite a comparison between Aditi Ohri’s treatment of the neighbourhood I live in and the immortal words of conceptual artist Nayland Blake, as cited in the most recent issue of Vice Magazine: “I grew up lower-middle-class and I’m kind of overeducated, and my tendency is to fetishize working-class guys.”

Please stop writing about St. Henri.

Sarah Allux

U3 Geography (Urban Systems)

It’s S-a-e-e-d, asshole

Re: “Call me vague” | Commentary | Oct. 16

I’m offended by Mr. Silverman’s inability to spell my last name after having known me for three years.

Sana Saeed

U3 Honours Political Science and Middle East Studies

Daily columnist

Thoughts on the hijab’s sexy-ness

Re: Aristotle’s Lackey: To Shake Or Not To Shake? | Commentary | Oct. 20

In response to Sana Saeed’s article, I am not, nor would I ever ask you to shake your ass to assert your sexual liberation – well at least not every day and of course never without your complete assent. Nor am I writing this letter to The Daily with the purpose of inciting criticism for the practice of wearing a hijab. In Canada, anybody anywhere is free to wear a hijab, a turban, or phylacteries, and that’s what makes this country great.

This is an appeal for realism, to examine this subject from a rational perspective. Basically, Saeed claims that the hijab does express a woman’s sexuality, and I’m here to disagree. In theory the hijab is sexy. It hides a woman’s sexuality from the world. Conversely, many Western women are going out of their way to express their sexuality (through miniskirts and tight jeans and such) which makes the hijab inversely sexy, and therefore sexy.

But in reality I can’t be burdened with such philosophical undertakings when I see a Muslim woman crossing the street. To me, a hijab expresses sexuality in much the same way as a nun’s habit.

However, I do agree with Saeed on some points; some Western women have forgotten the meaning of the word tact and are being a little over aggressive in expressing their sexuality. I also agree that Girlicious is a lousy show with a frightening host who’s had way too much cosmetic surgery. But one thing that Western girls do possess is the freedom to present themselves as they see fit. One day a girl might be in the mood to flaunt traditional sensibilities and tart herself up to the nines, and the next she might be completely asexual in a pair of old sweatpants and an overcoat. The point is: why hide your beauty everyday? Let your beauty shine the way nature intended it and before the weather intervenes.

Ezra Black

U4 History

Sex is more than giving and receiving

Re: “Guttural mind: The Story of O-No” | Mind & Body | Oct. 9

Ms. Alsop, I enjoyed your article, but you seem to simplify sex and that is a dangerous thing to do. I appreciate that you are trying to even out the battle and open some eyes, but it is a message that has exhausted receptive ears for several decades. The only men that haven’t heard it yet shouldn’t be consorted with, but regular Daily readers know the facts (as do all McGill students…I hope). It may have been better to argue for a more balanced relationship, where both “parties” become involved. Men have suffered too long under the yoke of “good sex,” and I think that it’s important to tell all men: don’t be afraid to ask for some favours in return.

Sex is extremely complicated, and simply using different tools (your argument for the existence of the ten omnipotent pseudo-penises, for example) cannot be the answer. If it isn’t working out, a better resolution may be to re-evaluate the relationship.

Simplifying sex to “good” and “bad” has really given it a feminine connotation; what we should strive for with sex performed between a man and a woman is an act both performed, and criticized, by both people. “Good sex” is not realized when the woman comes – partners have to go above and beyond orgasm. Both partners must have a great night. Your POV (point of view) may be that PIV (penis-in-vagina) satisfies all of a man’s desires. Well, it doesn’t. Ejaculating is not all that men want and need. Women have to reciprocate; it is frustrating to spend a night getting a girlfriend to come and not receiving anything in return. Your preachings, words I have heard many times over, have caused sex to become a give-and-take, where men give and women take.

Aaron Vansintjan

U0 Arts

Daily production & design editor

The Daily received more letters than it could print this issue. They will appear in the next issue. Send your letters to, and keep them to 300 words. The Daily edits for style and brevity, and does not publish letters that are homophobic, sexist, racist, or otherwise hateful. So just don’t try it.