Commentary | Letters

Would the real Harvard nix Humanistics?

Re: “In defence of Humanistic Studies” | Commentary | February 9

I stand with Richard Kreitner in support of Humanistic Studies. Let me assure you, I am no political activist – in fact, I’m more inclined to follow other apathetic students in their avoidance of administrative bureaucracy altogether. Though Kreitner doesn’t “expect an undergraduate uprising over the proposed demise of some obscure interdisciplinary program,” the Humanistic Studies Students’ Association intends to prove otherwise.

Okay, I get it, I’m aging and graduating, so why does a granny like me care enough to save Humanistic Studies? I care because in 2008, another large interdisciplinary studies program at McGill, Biomedical Sciences, was nixed, demonstrating a disturbing trend away from interdisciplinary learning. I also care because McGill’s slow elimination of interdisciplinary studies makes me question its self-proclaimed status as “Harvard of the North.” Harvard and Princeton both offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs, programs that make employers say, “Hey! What a well-rounded graduate. Let’s hire her.”

I care even more because Humanistic Studies offers us a beautiful thing: choice! I choose Humanistic Studies to avoid feeling confined to two to three disciplines, and because Plato told me that “knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” I care because my Bachelors of Arts is as valuable as yours, and because I wouldn’t trade all of the deliciously varied classes I’ve taken for anything. I care because the administration has decided to implement changes without consulting students, ignoring proposals for change, and deciding instead to speak on our behalf.

It doesn’t matter what you major in: if you care about choice, liberal education, and transparent administrative decision-making, then sign on: If McGill insists that we must go, then we must go out with a fight.

Aviva Friedman

U3 Humanistic Studies

Humanistic Studies Students’ Association President

For real seriously, Zucker?

Re: “Talk to me, we’ll get beyond polarizing questions” | Commentary | February 9

It’s pretty low that Hartlee Zucker resorted to blaming that debacle of a General Assembly (GA) on SSMU Speaker Jordan Owens. Damn her indeed, for following her duties and responsibilities without letting any student lobby pressure impose her judgment. Using her as a scapegoat is the refuge of one without a better argument.

Speaker-bashing aside though, seriously? Like, for real seriously? Was it really that heart-warming before the big ole’ mean, blonde, curly-haired Speaker came and destroyed everything? Did we attend different GAs? The one I attended consisted of ridiculous motions and attacks, from the initial bang of the Speaker’s gavel.

Most students came without ever having been to a GA and without even having read the star motion. There was constant disrespect shown to the GA’s democratic procedure and nature. It was not, contrary to Zucker’s assertions, a unified and harmonious gathering from the get-go – how can it be when students come armed with blinding ideology?

Do you know why there were tears, Zucker? We cried because we saw fellow students on the other side of the room hug each other – not people from across the room – accompanied by loud eruptions of celebration. There were, actually, many of us there who supported the motion with reservations – we agreed that there was a divisive factor within the motion, but we disagreed that that divisiveness should be grounds for avoiding discussion.

So, why are we still perpetuating this? Let’s talk. Call me. Email me. Holla at me. I want to hug people on the other side of the room too, save the opposite sex. An advance apology to them.

Sana Saeed

U3 Honours Political Science

Daily columnist

I would’ve voted for human rights, just

Re: “Palestinian human rights: indefinitely postponed” | Commentary | February 12

I understand that Israel’s recent bombings of Gaza have had a devastating effect on residents’ lives and on their access to education. I would have been happy to support the motion to condemn the bombing of educational institutions in Gaza at the General Assembly (GA) if it were truly about Palestinians’ access to education, but when I read the resolution for myself, it was immediately clear that it wasn’t. As soon as it matter-of-factly stated that “Israel illegally occupied the region in 1967,” the bill went from being a humanitarian appeal for the right to education to a condemnation of Israel on a much broader scale.

Human rights are something that McGill students take very seriously, but if you politicize them to the point where they are completely one-sided, good luck finding broad support for them. That’s not how it’s done.

John Carroll

U1 Economics

Boycotting isn’t a joke

Re: “Five things to ignore before boycotting Israel” | Commentary | February 5

Very funny, Mookie Kideckel. I would have chuckled at your sarcasm if the content was even remotely applicable to a practical boycott. Contrary to the image you illustrate, the boycott agenda and fellow adopters are not unreasonable; in fact, you are.

At face value, boycotting depicts a picture of an economically crippling motive and seriously, you actually accept that as is? What a shame – this focus sets the premise of your amusing and otherwise shallow piece.

Boycotting is much more multifaceted than simply aspiring to wither the economy. It is a tool of protest, and a non-violent one, in making a statement. It is a symbolic gesture of showing solidarity and (non)support. You portrayed a picture of a boycott as doomed-to fail propaganda, and this is where you’re partly wrong. Does the goal need to be about preaching to others? Not necessarily.

Some do it upon self-principle – I, for instance, do it because I don’t want my money to have a part in funding the machines that kill innocent women and children. If your piece is applicable to personal choice then you’re guilty of judging.

Also, I have reservations on your double standard argument. Unlike Sudan or Sri Lanka, Israel is a democratic country, fairly modern, blessed with Western ideals – peace, freedom, and rights, remember? – and possesses strong economic and political standing. This pleads for more reasons to point at them due to its position. They should be leading the way in promoting peace, not chucking white phosphorus into UN schools.

Also, I typed this letter on my Intel-powered laptop and no, I don’t plan to throw it away anytime soon.

Farah Hanani

U1 Electrical Engineering

There’s more to it than that

Re: “Running that GA wasn’t easy” | Letters | February 12

Left and right, there are scholarly debates about whether a writer has the right to interpret his work once it has been committed to paper. As the author of “No Gains in Dividing McGill,” I am going to take a stance on the matter and claim the sole right to interpretation of my true intentions.

My words are to be taken at face value: “My interest is not in criticizing the SSMU speaker for a poorly run meeting…nor is it worth any more of my time and sweat.” I apologize if you were personally offended by the way I expressed my frustration, but I hope you got more out of my article than that.

Yael Greenberg

U0 Arts

Shame on you, fellow Jews

As a Jew, I am disgusted by the actions of my co-religionists at last Thursday’s General Assembly (GA). While I would not like to blame the entirety of the events at the GA on fellow Jews, it was very clear to all who attended that the vast majority of Jews there voted for censorship and a cease to debate on the motion regarding Gaza. Shame on all of you! No matter our religion, we should encourage dialogue and discussion about the issues that affect us. The propaganda and attempt to stifle free speech that emerged at the GA harkens back to an earlier time: 1930s Germany.

James Hirsh

U1 Poli Sci and North American Studies

Get the facts about the acts

Re: “So, you want The Daily to cover more theatre, do ya?” | Commentary | February 12

Marc Sellès scathing attack on culture in last Thursday’s Daily demands a scathing rebuttal. His facts were mostly exaggerated or mistaken, and his “conclusion” lacks argumentative merit. Tuesday Night Café (TNC) Theatre Company produced three (not four) shows this year, and less than half of the 24 performances sold out. TNC’s final ticket sales will fall well short of Sellès’ projected 1,600. And yet, the McGill public is interested and The Daily should be interested as well.

Mr. Sellès claims that The Daily ought to review only those McGill events that do not receive external press coverage. I agree with him, especially because little or no external media actually reviews McGill theatre. In accordance with its Statement of Principles, The Daily must continue to review McGill theatre. Furthermore, in his praise of The Daily’s book and film reviews, Sellès contradicts his argument by suggesting that The Daily ought to stick to reviewing culture external to McGill.

Mr. Sellès’s suggestion that “too few students involved . . . in theatre at McGill are contributing to the culture section,” makes me wonder how he expects McGill artists to justify writing critical reviews of their friends and coworkers? If he is content to criticise the articles in his own paper, then I do not pity him for the repercussions he shall face at the hands of his insulted co-writers. As far as the quality of the reviews, TNC Theatre would be glad to give a workshop on how to write theatre reviews, and we hope that all of The Daily’s culture staff will attend.

The Daily pays little attention to McGill Theatre despite its profound impact on campus life. Regardless of Marc Sellès’s apparent disgust, increased interest and the amelioration of theatrical reviews is not only justified but ought to be implied.

Spencer Malthouse

U1 Philosophy

External Publicity Director for TNC Theatre

I like you a bunch, Jamie-wamie-pants

A letter I submitted to The Daily last week was not published, supposedly because it was anti-Semitic. However, I am a Jew myself, and I consider their discrimination against me anti-Semitic. How do you like me now, Halparin!

James Hirsh

U1 Political Science and North American Studies