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Hell, heaven, soccer

Re 7-1 (July 9): One has to feel immense empathy for Brazilians in the wake of Tuesday's surreal debacle. The tears running down fans' green-and-yellow painted faces and the stupefied look of Brazil's inept defenders said it all. This was to be Brazil's opportunity to get the monkey of a 1950 World Cup defeat to Uruguay off its back. Now Brazilians will carry a gorilla on their backs.

Brazilians, however, have always exhibited an irrepressible optimism. Much like Canada in the great Laurier boom a century ago, Brazil has never doubted its future was limitless. That future has, however, been punctuated by nasty twists of fate – financial defaults, coups d'état, jarring income inequalities and now a 7-1 defeat on the sacred pitch. Such events have frequently made a mockery of Brazil's national motto, "Order and Progress."

Through all this, football has sustained and mimicked the national psyche. Brazil has always found a Pelé or Ronaldo; it surely will again. Brazilians love to quip that "God is a Brazilian." Once, after another ignominious defeat at the hands of an archrival, a Rio paper ran the headline, "God is on holiday." Let's hope it's a short holiday this time; the world loves Brazil's jogo bonito.

Duncan McDowall, Kingston


A player named Dante. Seven deadly goals. A match that, to some, must have looked like one of the circles of hell. But for the Brazilian hosts, this was no divine comedy; it was an epic tragedy.

Mark Bessoudo, Toronto


So, the Germans delivered the full Brazilian?

Moira O'Neill, St. John's


A citizen's rights

Re Khadr Should Be Serving Youth Sentence, Court Rules (July 9): The unanimous decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal firmly rejected the federal government's arguments to continue Omar Khadr's imprisonment in a federal penitentiary. The federal government intends to appeal, most likely continuing its losing streak at the Supreme Court.

All Canadian citizens have a right to expect our government to protect us from unlawful actions. The Alberta Court of Appeal judges noted, "The legal process under which Khadr was held and the evidence elicited from him have been found to have violated both the Charter and international human rights law." We plainly see that citizens can be demonized, condemned and silenced, as has been done to Omar Khadr.

Helen Sadowski, Edmonton


Opioids are essential

Recent articles describing Health Canada's proposed crackdown on opioid pain relievers need to raise concerns among health-care professionals who treat or manage pain, and among patients who have a legitimate need for potent analgesic medications (Ottawa Set To Crack Down On Opioid Manufacturers – July 7).

There is a distinct possibility of rendering these drugs less effective while making them tamper-proof, or even subject to shortages due to manufacturing issues. The hard-core drug abuser will always find ingenious or criminal means to satisfy a need.

Saddling manufacturers with the remedy to the problem is myopic. The forgotten side of the equation is the end "user."

Prevention of diversion of opioids, better drug education and drug rehabilitation programs require equal attention and funding efforts. Opioids are an essential part of pain management. It is time to work together, not place undue onus on the pharmaceutical industry.

Kevin J. McCann, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Waterloo, Ont.


For sale: sex

Doubtless, Peter MacKay will be proven right in predicting court challenges to the new prostitution laws, given that these steer in the opposite direction from that recommended by the Supremes in the last go-round (Sex-Worker Advocates Fear Bill Would Increase Risks To Safety – July 9).

Protection and safety for sex workers perhaps seem as preposterous to Conservatives as protection of addicts at Insite did when the Tories tried to shut it down.

What bothers me most, though, is that the Supreme Court has now turned into the Official Opposition, though packed with Stephen Harper appointees, and is a damn sight more effective in that role than are the NDP and Liberals. It has come to this.

Simon Hearn, Vancouver


Re Advertising Sex, Underground (editorial, July 8): Let me get this straight: One of the arguments that The Globe's editorialists have against the Justice Ministry's proposed new anti-prostitution law is that it will cut into the classified advertising revenue of newspapers. And I thought that political parties and churches were the two most self-serving institutions in society. Shows you just how wrong you can be.

Rev. David McInnis, Ancaster, Ont.


Our Minister for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has stepped into the breach with new provisions to continue to make it impossible to perform a legal activity without falling afoul of the law. Our Victorian legal forebears can rest easy in their graves knowing that fallen women will remain relegated to the margins of proper society.

George Haeh, Turner Valley, Alta.


Talk to Hamas

According to a spokesman for Hamas, the recent rocket attacks against Israeli towns were in retaliation for the assassination of nine members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas: In other words, there was provocation and Hamas was defending itself against Israeli aggression.

I make this point because we here in North America seldom hear from Hamas spokespeople and therefore seldom if ever hear their side of the story. It's much easier to shut Hamas out of the conversation by branding them as a terrorist organization.

History has shown that this strategy is a failure, and because of it, thousands have died.

It's time to get Hamas to the table and open a conversation that will benefit both sides of this hideous conflict.

Jim McMaster, Burlington, Ont.


Spam. A lot

Re This Spam Law Is A Sledgehammer (July 8): If politicians devoted less time to raising money, and more time, effort and thought to good governance, we might be spared the endless stream of shoddy laws the Conservatives spew forth. It takes a special kind of government to think it's unacceptable to restrict politicians' ability to collect funds by e-mail, but perfectly okay to impose million-dollar fines on anyone else doing the same.

Penny Gill, Dundas, Ont.


As a regulator, it is my function to read and interpret legislation and in my opinion, Canada's new anti-spam law is poorly written, ill-defined and aimed at the wrong targets.

I chuckled when I finished reading Margaret Wente's column, then picked up my cell to read an e-mail from the CRA to advise me that I was due a refund.

Unfortunately, the URL led to a site in Italy. Didn't the Italian phishers get the message about the new law?

Sandy Mahon, Regina