Dear Mr. Coren

18 04 2009

Mr. Coren,

I assume, since I am a feeble woman who cannot bear to cope with the realities of my world, that you are expecting me to bestow my greatest praises on you for having the courage to stand up for me and my weak child bearing body. Surely, all women must be sending you letters thanking you for saying what no one else would dare to say in our liberal country that sends women to die for no other reason than to prove our egalitarian notions and modern sensibilities. Oh yes Mr. Coren, save me from the Taliban-like Harper government who gives me the right to join the Canadian military and the ability to choose to go and defend my country.

Now, allow me to actually consider this piece you’ve honoured the world with.

“But what on earth was she doing in such a place and in such a job?”
I imagine she had decided to sign up for the military, and had accepted a tour of duty. As far as I know soldiers currently have the right to turn down tours in Afghanistan, so I am guessing she, with her tiny lady brain, decided she should go. Since in Canada we allow women to travel freely (without the permission of their male relatives, shocking I know), she got on a plane and went to do a job she was obviously qualified to do.

“Look at the innocence, the gentleness, the grace”
I’m sorry, are you writing about a woman in her combat fatigues or a six-year old girl in her Sunday best?

“Because there are few if any women who have the skills required to serve as a front-line combat trooper.”
Yes, women, being devoid of all muscles and the hand eye coordination required to shoot a gun obviously cannot be soldiers. This is why women are not allowed to be police either. Or play video games. Or leave the kitchen. Now by front-line combat trooper, are you thinking about some idealized Rambo figure ripping hearts from chests, or the real images we see today on the news of soldiers pressing buttons in tanks or shooting from behind fortified walls? Not to belittle the role of soldier, my father was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and did a tour of duty himself. That being said, I don’t remember him ever saying anything other than positive comments about the women he toured with.Of course, they just laid around in bed all day complaining about how the guns were too heavy.

“the safety of a girl who should be laughing with college friends rather than fighting theocratic madmen”
By using the term “theocratic madmen” you seem to be refusing to acknowledge the fact you are fast becoming a fundamentalist yourself. You deem where a female should be and seem to think that it is your place to decide what is and isn’t safe for her. Seems vaguely familiar to some laws that were recently passed in Afghanistan? I’m truly surprised this piece did not include some reference to us engaging in these laws as well. Also, 21 year old women are not “girls”.

“Can we really imagine for a moment that if a group of Taliban tribesmen rushed a trench or an encampment this poor young woman could fight them off, could deal with the thrusts of their long knives and heavy clubs? Do we seriously think that the men in the unit would not risk their own lives to protect a pretty young girl who was inevitably being beaten to the ground by salivating killers?”

I’m not even sure where to start with this one. The racist undertones, the patriarchal mindset…oh it’s wonderful! Anyways, how could anyone assume that any one person could fend off a “group” armed with “long knives and heavy clubs”. Wouldn’t the soldiers be obligated to defend anyone in their unit? Or wait, do they only need to protect the pretty ones?

“More than this, even contrived cultural denial should not prevent us from admitting that the death of a daughter or a wife is different from that of a son or a husband. Women nurture, give birth, care in a way that is unique. Quite simply, they are different from men.”
So…this unique way women care cannot translate into serving their country? They cannot possibly sympathize with women suffering under a brutal regime and decide to help their sisters? They should just stay at home and pop out lots of babies for the motherland? Oops, I think I might have fallen into that Nazi motherhood rhetoric as quickly as you did. My apologies. Also, thanks for letting me know I should care more if someone with a vagina dies, I didn’t realize penises devalued a person’s death. Good to know. Because that’s the only difference between men and women – genitals. The rest is this wonderful thing called “socialization” where we teach people how to act. I’d get into how your parents must have raised you, but that would be getting a little bit too personal now wouldn’t it?

“If captured, of course, such a woman would be repeatedly raped. And tortured. Again, I’m not meant to say this”
New-flash: MEN CAN BE RAPED TOO! This is in fact a very common thing in many cultures when at war, to rape men and take away their masculinity. Men are raped in our own society too but that lovely “socialization” I mentioned early serves to keep them silent on the issue. Men can also be tortured. Just google Abu Ghraib and you can see how that works. Oh! And LOOK AT THAT! A WOMAN is one of the torturers. Bet you didn’t see THAT coming did you?!

“We rightly condemn Islamic extremists in Afghanistan because they treat women so badly”

I think this and the paragraph that follows show how wrong your logic has gone here. You claim that by allowing women to join the military (read: get a job) and serve their country overseas (read: leave the house by themselves and go places they want to go) we are hurting our daughters and treating them badly. You compare this to Islamic extermists. Yet if we were to stop letting our daughters and wives gets job and leave the house by themselves and go places they want to go we would literally have to become the Islamic extremists. By allowing our women freedom to do anything, even say get blown up for the country, we differ ourselves from these Islamic extremists. I guess women should just stay home having lots of babies, celebrating their loving caring vaginas and waiting for hubby to come home from a long day of ripping apart deer for nourishment.

What hypocrites as have become, truly. Allowing women to make free choices and wander around this vast Earth as they please. Certainly we could use a good dose of these new Afghan laws to keep women in their place. I’m glad for now I at least have Mr. Coren looking out for my lady interests. The next time I need to apply for a job, I’ll make sure to inquire as to whether you approve of my job choice.

Truly,

Chelsea Detheridge

See his article at the link below
http://www.calgarysun.com/comment/columnists/michael_coren/2009/04/18/9157026-sun.html

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