Letters – Our Readers Write: Spring 2017

Letters published in the Spring 2017 edition of In The Hills magazine.

March 20, 2017 | | Letters, Our Readers Write

New Canadians

Rasmi and Islam Al Hariri are settling into life in Orangeville with their children Laith, Duha and Mamdouh. Photo by James MacDonald.

Rasmi and Islam Al Hariri are settling into life in Orangeville with their children Laith, Duha and Mamdouh. Photo by James MacDonald.

I am one of the many dedicated individuals who make up the New Neighbours private sponsorship group and our family, the Al Hariris, were featured in the “New Canadian” article by Liz Beatty [winter ’16]. I and others in our group felt that Liz wrote a very compassionate and insightful piece about our family as well as the other families in the Dufferin area. The newcomer families are very happy to be in a safe, welcoming and caring community such as ours and their happiness is portrayed in the amazing photos taken by James MacDonald. Both Liz and James were great people to connect with and their respect for Islam and Rasmi and their children Mamdouh, Duha and Laith, was evident in every interaction. The article will play an important part in the archives of the Al Hariris’ settlement in Canada. Thank you very much.
Lori Ker, member of the New Neighbours Sponsorship Group

I recently read editor Signe Ball’s column titled “Season of Hope” [winter ’16] and while I do agree with some of her comments, I would like to offer some friendly feedback.

I don’t believe this column should contain political viewpoints. I respect what she wrote about our heroes and local people helping our refugees, but the comment about how do we explain the “bigotry and xenophobia” [in the American election] to the children, and instill the important values is not really the issue when looking to the innocent Syrian refugee children.

Until you have experienced working with immigrants and refugees, you cannot fully understand their struggles. After almost 20 years of seeing their courage and sympathizing with their stories, I have also seen the hurt, anger and hate many of them harbour for the suffering their loved ones endured through religious and political wars. I’ve mediated during discussions and heated debates among those of different cultures and races who cannot forgive and forget.

It is not the children we need to worry about. They will learn the values of “compassion, tolerance, grace and civility” by growing up in Canada. It is the parents, the elders, whom we must convince not to teach their children to practise the cultural values that go against those we hold true in Canada. Despite the teachings in other cultures, we must guide them to understand we have equal rights for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. We will always ensure they have a safe haven here. It is the beliefs and values of the parents and what children are taught at home that we need to be concerned about.
Karen Vehkavaara, Orangeville

Signe Ball responds: Forgetting and forgiving are not mutually inclusive. On this continent, we do well not to forget such things as the history of slavery and residential schools, for example, or our country’s shameful turning away of Jewish and Sikh refugee ships. Forgiving is a more complicated matter, but generally easier from a position of safety.

It was perhaps not the writer’s intent to generalize, but we believe it is important to be clear that not all immigrants share the same values, any more than all Canadian-born people do. Indeed, in the current political climate, “values” has become a loaded word, especially because the definition of them is so vague and variable. Fortunately, the basic Canadian rights the writer mentions are enshrined in our Constitution and protected by our laws.

War and Remembrance

Moved back to Orangeville in July and read your astounding magazine. Absolutely great reading. The editorial and the two articles by Ken Weber on “war and remembrance” [autumn ’16] got me back on track to find my grandfather who we lost during WWI. Reading about this war stirred my passion to find a person my father had never known. Dad was born in 1916 and I think Granddad was on his way overseas. He never returned and I have been trying to find out where he was buried. My parents and uncles have all passed, so I only have records to try and trace and find him. But these articles have made me determined to finish the job to pass on to my children and my siblings. Thank you and I look forward to the next edition.
H. Baker (web comment)

Thanks for the Memories, David and Beth

Beth Hunt and David McCracken, fine food and laughter. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Beth Hunt and David McCracken, fine food and laughter. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Editor’s note: Our “Local Heroes” piece on Beth Hunt and David McCracken [winter ’16], retiring owners of The Globe Restaurant in Rosemont, drew a record number of comments on our website from readers who clearly valued the welcoming atmosphere the pair created at the restaurant over the years and their generous spirit of community. Here are just some of the comments condensed from the site.

Oh, the memories! Celebrated many events there including Christmas lunch for Matthews House Hospice caregiver support group. Many, many thanks to Beth and Dave for giving us scones every Monday afternoon for over two years for the family tea we hold weekly at Matthews House Residential Hospice. You brought a few joyful moments to people going through a difficult time.
Sally Taylor, Alliston

The Globe holds a very special place in my heart. Rosemont was my first home in married life and we so enjoyed gathering the family at The Globe for Christmas celebrations. My brother and his wife were married from our home in Rosemont and we held the reception at The Globe. That was some 40 years ago and last year we celebrated their 40th anniversary where it all began.
Cheryl Mitchell, Burlington

The Primrose teachers enjoyed watching Beth’s daughters grow from little girls into young women. Beth and David also catered many wonderful events for Primrose School. One year they created Harvest Soup from the vegetables grown in the school garden! The Globe always felt like a home-away-from-home for us.
Laurie May, Town of Blue Mountains

Kids at the Skatepark

I just finished reading Bethany Lee’s article “Kid Culture Rules the Skatepark” [winter ’16] Fantastic! “Imagination and the need for speed…” What a great synopsis of the value of “play.” Thank you for this insightful and well written piece that will, hopefully, result in an understanding of a culture by adults who need to get out more.
Charlene Van Rees, Orangeville

Lid on or off?

In the winter issue there is a recipe for Moroccan stew [“Cooking Class”]. However, during the 20-minute simmering time, the recipe does not say whether the stew should be covered or uncovered – the difference between a thick or thin end result. If you could let me know which it is: lid on or lid off, I’d be most obliged.
Catherine Osborne (web comment)

Associate editor Tralee Pearce responds: I have checked with Lavender Blue about their recipe, and here’s their answer: Lid off. It’s definitely a thick stew.

Online In The Hills

We welcome your comments! For more commentary from our readers, or to add your own thoughts on any of the stories, please add a comment at the bottom of any article. You can also send your letters by e-mail to [email protected] or use our handy submission form. Please include your name, address and contact information. In the Hills reserves the right to edit letters for publication.

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