Maclean's | Jan. 27, 2003 | Orest Slepokura

Unrepentant, unrebuked

Jonathon Gatehouse writes that, "Everyone should know that attacks, verbal or otherwise, on ethnic and religious minorities can't be tolerated, no matter who delivers them, no matter what their excuse" ("No real excuse," Racism, Dec. 30, 2002). Not so. Before he died, novelist and essayist Mordecai Richler was awarded the Order of Canada and was able, metaphorically speaking, to stand beside David Ahenakew, recently censured for his remarks about Jews. In an article published in the Vancouver Sun in 1966, titled "Lest we forget . . . I hate the Germans," Richler began his rant by declaiming that "Germans are an abomination to me . . . I'm glad Dresden was bombed for no useful military purpose." Dresden, of course, was where tens of thousands of German civilians were killed over a 36-hour period on Feb. 13 and 14, 1945, by an Anglo-American air force using incendiaries. Richler was not only not censured, but he went on to be celebrated.

-- Orest Slepokura,
Strathmore, Alta.