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Online Only - Letter: Sick sights yonder

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

I am a first-year engineering student fleeing to the social sciences. As I go from day to day, studying into the wee hours of the morning to get a good grade on the exams, I try to avoid getting into situations that may unnerve me. Sadly, I have seen something that cannot be unseen. Between the Science B building and MacHall there is a large area that students frequent and move between their classes-- a pathway that I frequent as I go between my classes strewn across campus-- there was a demonstration held by the the Campus Pro-Life club. It made the three-fold comparison between Hitler, the KKK and the massacre of the indigenous people. Oh, and there was a fourth and final piece that they compared these events to-- mothers.

Women who chose careers, their own lives and/or refuse to battle with rapists over child support, are like Hitler. A power crazed, murderer of dozens of millions of people through his actions are like mothers who choose abortion. Wait. Let that settle and sink in, dear reader. Just let us remind ourselves what type of fringe group the CPL is and think about how they're tarnishing the U of C's respectability nearby and abroad by this academically-squashing comparison. Think about how they're mooching off of SU Club money on their endeavours-- money that should go to superior endeavours like Master Debaters and housing-related issues. Think about how CPL is oppressing the people that are forced to walk through their little freakshow of fallacies in order to get to class on time. Think about the level of hatred that they possess against any will toward free, democratic thought. Think about the emotional cost they've done, the dumbing down of this debate into infancy and the wholly concoctedness of it all.

These pictures-- no, a better word would be smut-- serve no purpose other than to bring some small bit of fame, retraumatize the victims and silence anyone who wants to engage in active, thoughtful debate.

I support the actions of the administration in protecting my right to education-- education that I paid for and that the taxpayer subsidizes. I shouldn't have to deal with the thought of small children passing by the images of rail-think Jews of the holocaust and the promulgation of irrational, nonsensical and anti-academic comparisons. Nor should I have to suffer through the media mongering that the CPL are attempting to capitalize on.

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The one thing I liked about the article was the fact that you are still so young. I am also happy, as you no doubt are, that your mother didn't decide to abort a young growing child about, I'm guessing, twenty years ago.
I am sorry your pure life has been unnerved by what is really happening in this world, I do hope you survive.
I hope some day you too will let it settle and sink in as to what is really happening when an abortion occurs.
Maybe you could think about this after the birth of your first child, if you are so blessed. I hope you are privileged enough to be there to watch that fetus magically (I jest) turn into a child, your child, as he/she passes through the birth canal. What a glorious site indeed. Be careful though, they take a lot of your time and love. Often they even take your sweat and tears and then they leave home and only think of themselves and how so many things in this life get in their way, how terrible for them. That should not be allowed to happen to "ME" they think. I have rights because I was lucky enough to make it through that canal alive. And now that I have made it I have the right to prevent others from making it because .... well, because they might get in my way of total enjoyment of this life that I deserve.
Again I am glad you are young and have much time to experience life and the wonder of it all and maybe some day you will realize how wonderful and precious it really is. Something not to be taken lightly. Something we should consider when thinking of ending someone else's life in exchange for you not having to suffer any attempts by others trying to impress upon this world the importance of life, every life.

Dear Concerned parent,
Youíre cynicism and egotism is appalling. Frankly, this student has stood up to express their views, and you so arrogantly impose your views. This begs the question as to why you are coming on-line to a University newspaper, only to flaunt your age as something that is to be used against this young person.
AND who are YOU to say: ìI am sorry your pure life has been unnerved by what is really happening in this world, I do hope you surviveî
How do you know this? How do you know what any young person has been through? I know things that would spin your head upside down. So pure fucking what, I ask? That is an insult to every single person who has experienced something more than ìpureî. Why donít you go take your close-minded views and go preach to someone else.

Dear Student/Hospital Employee
How is it ìthis studentî stood up to express their views but in doing the same, in my opinion anyway, I am seen to be ìarrogantly imposing my viewî.

As to the question as to why I am coming to an on-line University newspaper as an ìolder personî, I would think you would find that encouraging and not imposing. I have children who attend this university and I take an interest in their education. I take an interest in their entire life. I was not trying to flaunt my age to be used against those younger than myself. I was trying to show that from a perspective of time things can be seen differently. Do you agree with everything that is said by all of your professors? Is this not a place to listen to different ideas and to look at them for what they are saying? The writer of the article mentioned that they thought the money wasted by the CPL should go to superior endeavours like Master Debaters. I do not believe debates are held with two sides holding the same opinion. Why then am I not allowed to have an opinion and express it here? I am sure most in this institution read books which are written by those who are older than themselves, and those books are used also to teach the younger minds what age and education have taught them. My opinions may not teach you anything but they are still opinions which could quite possibly be held by more than myself. If at an educational institution you cannot listen to an opposing opinion, or believe others are not allowed to have them where will this lead.

Yes, alot of my comments were sarcastic and I am sorry that I offended you so with that use. It was reading the article that showed, to me, a self centered argument that made me want to bring that up.

Forgive me again but when you ask ìHow do you know what any young person has been through?î it makes me wonder are you thinking when you ask such a question to an ìolderî person. How do you think I got older? I went through what young people go through. If you think you are the only one or only group of people to go through things in life, think again. I was not trying to imply that every young person has lived a pure life. Mine, if you knew me, was and is not. I have no doubt you have experienced things which could spin my head upside down, but then again you do not know what I have been through to bring me to a place where I value all human life either. I would never purposely try to insult those who have ìexperienced something more than pureî but the article, if you read it from my perspective, seemed like that was the argument they were using to bring their point across. They were having their purity attacked by the images of this world. E.g. ìSadly, I have seen something that cannot be unseen.î

I see that I struck a cord and not all my intentions were taken as they were intended. I try very hard to not be closed minded. I do though value life very highly, maybe because I am getting much closer to the end of it.

I hope, as the presenter of the article we are discussing hopes, we do not silence anyone who wants to engage in active, thoughtful debate.

Dear Concerned parent,
You are correct, I do not agree with everything my professors say. Nonetheless I have never had a professor go about their opinions in such a disrespectful manner as you. University is a diverse place with many opportunities to voice opinions. However there is also a reason that voicing an opinion crosses over into hate and abuse of freedom of speech.
An irony here is that many people who are pro-life were embarrassed by this charade of events. You automatically assumed because this student was against the photos that they are pro-choice.
I think that the self-centeredness was in part of the few people who refused to follow the rules that were laid out for them. All they had to do was put their pictures in a circle, as to allow each individual to make a decision whether or not to look at them.
In regards to you not knowing what young people go through, it seems to me that although you have had some experience with young peopleís issues (your own, perhaps your children) that your lack of empathy shows that you do not understand the impact that those photographs had on some.
It was not fair to people who experienced the war, experienced abortion, starvation, etc to have those pictures posted up in an area where some students could not avoid.
In fact, did you see the pictures? Before I become a student at the university I was appalled the university would allow such censorship, but the less ignorant I became and when I actually not only saw the pictures for myself, but experienced the impact it had on some, I realized how fortunate I was for the University to be standing up for me as a student.
It seems absurd that you are now backtracking on what you had said. Your comments were purposefully sarcastic and insulting. They mocked this student and their article. So I do not understand how you can even allude to the fact that it was thoughtful debate. You were there to shove your opinion in peopleís faces. So please do not even say that the following had anything to do with any sort of thoughtful debate ìthat your mother didn't decide to abort a young growing childî. That is crude and ill-mannered.

> I hope, as the presenter of the article
> we are discussing hopes, we do not
> silence anyone who wants to engage in
> active, thoughtful debate.

This is an issue explicitly because one side of this debate refuses to elevate their discourse to the threshold of being thoughtful. As banal as this Internet argument has been, it has covered much more intellectual and moral ground than GAP seems to be able to contemplate.

Dear Student/Hospital Employee,
Thank you for your response. I think my emotions have settled down now.
Yes I reacted quickly and harshly and probably emotionally most of all. Of all the things I have been accused of I have never been accused of having a lack of empathy. I take that accusation seriously and am sorry for not taking more time to make my first response. When someone is so passionate for one side, in my case the side for not doing away with the life which has been created, one gets emotional and strikes out at those who don't seem to take the value of life the same way.

When I viewed the two sides I saw a pebble and a mountain. I saw a side which was worried about being hurt emotionally, which may not seem like a pebble to others, and a side (the baby) not given even a chance to experience the life which has been started. That to me was the mountain. It is true you have points well made about the unfairness in which you see things done, the hurts caused by such pictures but my great passion, though you say, not properly presented, was for the life which I feel should have every right to experience joys and sorrows.

You show yourself to understand the unfairness some people go through who cannot avoid what happens right in front of them by people who don't seem to care whether it hurts them or not. On the other side I believe those showing those pictures are thinking the same thoughts about those who don't want to see the horrors of destroying the life of those who cannot avoid what happens by people who donít seem to care whether it hurts them or not, or even takes away their only hope of life.

Though I did not see the exact pictures which were displayed I have seen pictures which are used by Pro Life and though they are horrible sights I believe they are used to express the horrors some see in taking life from innocent children, by the millions.

My attack should not have been on the writer of the article and for that I am sorry, it was a release of bewildered emotion. Yes I do backtrack, and this is not the first time Iíve had to say sorry. If you find this absurd also, so be it but that happens in my life, I am sometimes taken over by emotion as humans at times do though it is not an excuse. As I get older I find that I have not always done things the best way or even the right way. That does not change the way I feel about abortion or using ways to shock people into thinking about what they are doing when they do it, agree with it or donít speak out against it. To me abortion, the denying the person a right to taste this life, is still a horror and I will probably never understand those who take the life of a new creation as meaningless, something which can just be discarded because it gets in our way. This to me is crude and ill-mannered.

I now understand your issue a little better and I hope you also will think about what is really happening when an abortion occurs.

I hope as my emotions calm down I will be seen as picking on the ideas and not the presenter.

I would like to thank this concerned parent for showing such graciousness and humility in your replies to the student who did not invite that nature of response by the manner of their accusations. I commend you for standing up for the dignity of all human life and appreciate that you take such and interest in the education your children and receiving it and then environment in which they are receiving. Your children are lucky to have your interest in their lives.
On another note, I particularly enjoyed the sentence found in post #3 'Frankly, this student has stood up to express their views and you so arrogantly impose your views.' I think the irony has already been pointed out, here and in many other situations.

Dear Respondents,

Well, look at what I found when I googled my name. It seems like my letter has been published online, as you see above, and that there has been a little debate going back and forth.

As the nursing student was kind enough to point out, there seems to be an assumption that if I was against the display I was instantly pro-choice. The problem I drew issue with was not abortion, readers, but the distasteful display of starved, dead bodies, side by side on massive banners. Let us go over this. I made a point of repeating this about four times in the original essay. I have an issue with putting dead Iroquois, bone thin and bone white Jews, and bloody cockroaches on massive billboards. I was offended by the people jumping up and down around the signs, holding up "stop signs" and talking about their issue in such a academically-empty, thought-removed, and dishonourable manner. If was any debate on abortion at the UoC then the CPL has killed it.

I was offended by the low brow technique of plying the dead of Europe's Jews to absolutely any anti-abortionists' arguments.

I lived with a holocaust surviver for a sizable portion of my childhood (for more than 8 years). I saw his serial code tattoo; and both his mental and physical scars.

I've been to the Holocaust symposium in Washington D.C. I've seen the hall of shoes. I've been to the Holocaust symposium at Chinook college. I've read their journals, their books, and the horrors of being pack up and shipped to the far corners of the globe by uncaring countries after surviving the worst atrocity in history. I know there is a difference between Jews being carted off to Auschwitz and a mother choosing not to have a child.

I have a problem with the tactic of dumbing down such an important debate by the pitiful wailings of children parading around with massive billboards with the most smutty, disgusting imagery they could pull off of the darkest, ugliest recesses of the Internet. This smut is just like child pornography in its scale of how disgusting it is.

I drew offence at this asinine tactic of dumbing down the debate, of telling anyone within earshot that mothers who chose their own lives were committing mass atrocities that can barely be comprehended by people brought up in Canada. If I haven't made myself clear (I think this is the seventh time) abortion had very little to do with this letter.

And to you, concerned parent, the nursing student has already addressed you. Thank you for saying sorry for your rather abrasive initial response. I am appreciative that you find the time to check on your childrens' university and to attempt to provide a point of view that most students my age spurn instantly because of pig pigheadedness. I know that this type of topic pulls emotions from corners that people rarely delve into. I know that it is an uncomfortable topic for people to talk about. I know that mothers and fathers, who have had their children and seen the miracles (and messes) they bring, can be overcome by the urge to stake out a basic, human stance the moment they even catch a whiff of endangered children. I've have the joy of seeing my mother seethe with these issues.

And the Cow is right. These sparse few posts have been infinitely more deep in its debate than CPL. I thank both the parent and the nursing student (the Student / Hospital Worker, I suppose..) for their effort and time spent speaking to one another. It's good to see this issue being debated rather than seeing more wailing.

By the way, after the researching, I think I found where the CPL found their billboards. It seems they have been getting their posters from a website that suggests that all Catholics should be put to death, that every other religion is doomed to sin and death, that 9/11 was an inside job, and that Jews were not the victims of the Holocaust. Source: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/ . That says some serious things about where the CPL is coming from.

Oh, and on a final note, the concerned parent earlier noted that she/he was indignant about any thought about moving funding from the CPL to Master Debaters. For one, it's a moot issue since the CPL has lost its SU footing and probably will not be receiving funding. Seeing as it has been banned from the University and all. If another pro-life group came about, sans the pornography, I'd be alright. If a new pro-life group does not display dead people on a sidewalk, and chose to develop a clear/substantiated position then I'm more than willing to listen.

I know this response to getting rather long but I'd like to note that Master Debaters is debating this exact topic on January 15th at MacHall (South Stage, 11:30am-1pm).

The Master Debaters exhibition on the 14th is for the prorogation of the parliament. They've already dealt with the CPL on an earlier seminar.

I am glad the pro-lifers are standing up for what the world needs now - two days after reaching 7 billion people - more unwanted babies. Completely ridiculous. I hope I never see the day where we value the choices of a woman below the rights of a ball of cells.