Letter writers making it personal
Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am
Because of her willingness to argue against the accepted verities of our times, Doris Wrench Eisler seems to have become the victim of a campaign of personal vilification by certain of the St. Albert Gazette’s readers.
Letter writer Zenon W. Wojnowskyj has now moved this campaign to a new and troubling level. He has written two letters arguing, in effect, that since he disagrees with Ms. Eisler about what’s happening in Ukraine, the Gazette should shut her up and stop printing her views on the topic.
In his most recent effort, published on April 23, he accuses her absurdly and offensively of being an “obvious Ukrainophobe.” Moreover, he abusively and irrelevantly raises a dispute between Ms. Eisler and a bylaw officer that crosses the line into “personal attacks,” which the Gazette claims on its website it does not permit.
I’m not sure I accept Ms. Eisler’s views on Ukraine in their entirety, but I found Mr. Wojnowskyj’s interpretations of the recent history of that region to be tendentious and misleading, no matter how much he happens to know about Cossack dancing costumes. On the evidence widely available to readers of western news sources, for example, it is not unreasonable to suspect that anti-Semitism remains a serious problem within the current Ukrainian government. Moreover, given many reports that Ukrainian parliamentarians were coerced to vote for the new government, it is likewise not unreasonable of Canadians to wonder about the legitimacy of the contents of the open letter Mr. Wojnowskyj claims “completely discredit anything that Ms. Eisler has to say about Jews in Ukraine.” Finally, while Mr. Wojnowskyj is within his rights to assail Ms. Eisler’s point of view, she is quite obviously not a “Ukrainophobe.”
I can’t say Ms. Eisler always speaks for me, but I do appreciate her frequent letters because she is usually well informed and now again is proved right when I thought she was wrong. So my thanks to the Gazette for continuing to let Ms. Eisler’s voice be heard, on this and other topics.
David J. Climenhaga, St. Albert