Calgary Herald

Wednesday, October 03, 2001


Calgary Herald

Shame on Hedy Fry for not standing up to rebut Sunera Thobani's outrageous remarks about U.S. aggression immediately after they were uttered at a conference in Ottawa.

It's not that Thobani, a former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, is not entitled to speak her mind. That is what freedom of expression is all about. But her comments suggesting American foreign policy is "soaked in blood" should not have gone unchallenged. That, too, is what freedom of expression is all about.

Fry was at the head table. We believe it was incumbent upon her, as federal Secretary of State for the Status of Women -- and incidentally, as an official of the government that gave $80,000 of public money to the three-day conference -- to bring a cooler perspective to bear in that roomful of, incredibly enough, 500 cheering women.

Thobani has a simplistic "might makes right" view of the U.S. that is coloured by her own anti-Americanism. Her inference that the U.S. deserved what it got Sept. 11 because its foreign policy is abhorrent.

Interesting, too, that as a feminist she considers western "colonialization" a worse fate for women in Afghanistan than the horrific abuse they suffer now.

Fry should not have waited until she got back to the safety of the Commons to denounce Thobani's speech. Her behaviour is as cowardly as Thobani's remarks.

© Copyright 2001 Calgary Herald