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A Libyan man walks in the rubble of the damaged U.S. consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. (Mohammad Hannon/AP)
A Libyan man walks in the rubble of the damaged U.S. consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. (Mohammad Hannon/AP)

What readers think

Sept. 14: Free speech can kill, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Free speech, but …

In our complex world, almost every statement has a “but.”

Censorship is abhorrent – but.

But when a trailer for a movie can unleash so much tragedy (The Film That Provoked The Protests – Sept. 13), but when innocents die because of the stupidity and deliberate provocation of others, such as pastor Terry Jones, it is time for Americans to reconsider permitting the freedom to advance the odious.

Aaliyah Jacques, Montreal

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The argument goes as follows: The worse the human-rights abuses and hostility from a country, the more important it is to be engaged in dialogue with that country. That is why, it is argued, we should still have an embassy in Iran.

However, what kind of dialogue is possible when mobs of well-armed attackers are trying to destroy your buildings and kill the occupants? This is the very anti-consular activity that has occurred in Iran, Egypt, Libya and Yemen – so far (Justice Will Be Done – Sept. 13).

After these actions, it is becoming easier to agree with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent move to close the Canadian embassy in Iran.

Irv Salit, Toronto

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E-break enthusiasm

At our home, we have an e-Sabbath every Sunday (Who Thought We’d Be Wistful For TV Night – Life, Sept. 13). That means for one day a week, laptops, e-readers, video games, televisions and other electronics remain off for the entire day for the entire family.

At first, my nine-year-old son was appalled at the concept, but now he sees it as a fun day of traditional crafts, outings and special activities.

Rene Caron, Ottawa

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What’s free rein?

If John Ibbitson (Harper Supremely Constrained As He Chooses Next Top Court Judge – Sept. 12) calls a process where the Conservative Justice Minister submits a list of seven names to a committee, of which Conservative MPs constitute a majority, which then forwards three names to Stephen Harper, who chooses any one of those with his selection going unchecked as “supremely constrained,” I’d hate to see a system where the PM has free rein.

Michael Jason, Toronto

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Unfair has facets

Does Philip Hochstein (ABCs Of Wages – Sept. 13) see anything unfair when public-sector wages (or the spin-off jobs they help maintain) help pay the contractors and construction firms that his association represents?

A strong economy springs from decent wages and working conditions for all workers. Nobody wins in a race to the bottom.

Michelle Walsh, Ottawa

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A reward’s rationale

I applaud the remarks of your letter writer (Nix The Reward – Sept. 13) about the inappropriateness of rewarding the monitor who couldn’t control the behaviour on the school bus.

I wish the people who contributed to the bus monitor (Toronto Man Hands $703,000 Cheque To Bullied Bus Monitor – Sept. 12) would contribute to life-saving cancer research or other noble causes.

Lois Davidson, Westport, Ont.

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I have seen some mean-spirited letters, but Nix The Reward takes the cake. What was this 68-year-old monitor supposed to do when a bunch of young, dare I say, brats, ganged up on her?

John Oattes, Sudbury

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Not so golden

There are silos full of grain around the world, stockpiled by corporate farmers waiting for a higher stock market return. The issue is not food quality but food dispersal (Greenpeace’s Golden Rice Stand Should Appall Us All – Sept. 13).

While Golden Rice may seem like a golden ticket, it’s more likely to add a zero to some CEO’s paycheque than end world hunger.

Micaela Sheppard, Toronto

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Honour our past

It is both sad and striking to note that among the 17 monuments of Parliament Hill honouring Canadian heroes, there stands not a single indigenous figure or indeed any reference to the partnership with first peoples that made Canada possible (Move Over, Laurier: Ottawa Plans 1812 War Monument – Sept. 12).

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper truly wants to celebrate our past, he could at least consider a statue of Tecumseh, that great Shawnee chief and hero of the War of 1812.

Kelly Crichton, Constance Bay, Ont.

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Our tax dollars would be better spent on a national portrait gallery, which could educate Canadians about their nation’s history (including the War of 1812), house many artistic works of merit and be a worthy addition to the national capital’s attractions and a tourist draw.

Ottawa does not need another resting place for pigeons and graffiti.

Patricia Malcolmson, Nelson, B.C.

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Snubbed? Really?

Re World Statesman of the Year Stephen Harper to Snub UN (Sept. 12): The United Nations comprises 193 member states, ranging from the big boys, such as the U.S. and China, to the small, such as the Republic of Nauru, population 9,322. Can anyone actually think of even one of them that is likely to feel “snubbed” because Stephen Harper is not attending the General Assembly?

Maxwell Yalden, Ottawa

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The mayor’s methods

The reason Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his staffers’ volunteerism is so shocking lies in the fact that too many people lack a sense of social responsibility (Ford Ran On Taxpayers’ Rights – And Fumbles That Very Play – Sept. 13). Instead, they choose to make their way through life mostly anonymously, barely getting to know their neighbours, let alone contributing to their community.

Truly progressive companies value employees who give back to their community, with approval on company time, and public servants should be treated no differently. When more people step up to the plate, or in this case the field, all of society benefits.

Catherine Agar, Salford, Ont.

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I didn’t realize it shouldn’t be considered a gravy train when Rob Ford is the conductor!

Brian Dust, Toronto

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Where socks go

The eternal question of where lost socks end up does indeed have an answer (Thunk – Sept. 8). I agree with those who subscribe to the theory that socks are the larval form of wire coat hangers.

Di Easton, Caledon, Ont.

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