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Peace Arch News Friday, February 12, 2010

opinion Peace Arch News Published at White Rock by Black Press Ltd.

editorial

Haiti heartbreak will endure beyond crisis he celebrity-studded telethons are over. The nightly coverage on the television news has dwindled to a story or two, shuffled over the past few days behind snow updates from Cypress Mountain and security preparations for the Olympics. Scenes of devastation are now already passé; it takes the rescue of someone buried in rubble for more than a week to stir the media’s attention. But the heartbreak of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake will endure for years. The quake that struck the Caribbean nation Jan. 12 killed more than 200,000 and injured an estimated 300,000 more – a death toll comparable to that wreaked by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Long after CNN has pulled its last correspondent from Haiti’s Port-au-Prince capital, the people who survived the disaster will still be burying their dead, they’ll still be digging through the rubble of their homes and businesses, trying to repair their shattered lives and rebuild some semblance of normalcy. Sadly, the odds are stacked against them. Haiti was a ruined country long before the 7.0-magnitude earthquake tore it apart, ravaged by decades of poverty, economic collapse and political misrule, including 33 military coups in 200 years. Despite $5 billion in foreign aid over the past decade, most Haitians still live in squalor, without basics like clean water and sewer lines. For many, education and literacy are a pipe dream. Food is scarce; the country’s agriculture has been stripped by environmental degradation from over-cultivation and deforestation. The search for quake survivors was officially called off on Jan. 23, 11 days after countless lives were changed forever. While it may feel good to drop a few bills into a collection jar at a Semiahmoo Peninsula restaurant, or open up the chequebook after calling a 1-800 phone number – and we can’t help but commend fundraising efforts such as those wrapping up today at Morgan Elementary – it’s important we don’t shut Haiti from our consciousness once we’ve made those selfless acts. Because the money that is pledged now may rebuild homes and infrastructure in the immediate future, but it will take much more to rebuild a country.

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Order of Canada had been stripped because of “his multiple criminal convictions, for which there are no outstanding appeals.” His criminal history – a sad list of theft, assault and drinking-anddriving convictions – is reflective of his battle against personal demons, t’s reassuring to witness the Consider another B.C. boy – our Man- substance abuse chiefly among them. groundswell of compassion building in-Motion, Rick Hansen, a paraplegic He’s currently serving a term in jail, athlete who encircled the behind Steve Fonyo. an unlikely but by no means unheard globe and then finally across The 44-year-old Surrey of residence for a member in good Jennifer Lang Canada in a 26-month odyssey mechanic was recently stripped standing of the Order. of Canada’s highest civilian in support of If a stint at con college It’s clear Fonyo’s honour – the Order of Canada spinal cord was all it took to lose 25-year-old sacrifice still the honour, then why research. he received for running across At 19, Fonyo the country in 1985, raising matters to us, even if we should disgraced theatre may have lacked more than $13 million for Garth Drabinsky regard the man himself mogul cancer research. the grace and or media baron Conrad with some ambivalence. Black – someone who’s good looks of The timing of the news – on Terry or Rick’s the eve of the 2010 Winter renounced his Canadian easy charm and emotional Olympics and Paralympic citizenship no less – still have theirs Games – strikes people as maturity, virtues that easily won despite fraud convictions? particularly galling. us, and the world, over. Perhaps the decision also rankles Fonyo, reputedly abrasive, at It also coincided with the our sense of fair play – a particularly times curt, with the media, not arrival of the Olympic torch timely value now that the Games are so much. relay’s arrival in British Coumbia, a imminent. province where the spectacle of a crossBut he was an ordinary person who set Above all, there’s a sense that for all Canada marathon holds particular out to accomplish something that still his troubles, Fonyo deserves to keep his seems incredible. symbolic value. legacy intact. And he did it. We seem to have produced our share He may not currently reflect the values In letters, editorials and online of plucky heroes, underdogs who embodied by the Order of Canada. refused to be defined by the limits comments, supporters have rallied to But he once did. And his fans and his champion his legacy. It’s clear Fonyo’s their bodies – or society – might community holds out hope that he will 25-year-old sacrifice still matters to us, place on them. As a boy, Fonyo lost again. even if we regard the man himself with his leg to cancer, just like Terry Fox, Jennifer Lang is a reporter with the whose Marathon of Hope was never some ambivalence. Cloverdale Reporter, a sister paper to the completed. The press release explained Fonyo’s Peace Arch News.

Fonyo decision rankles our sense of fair play

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Linda Klitch Publisher

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Fri February 12 2010 PAN  

Complete February 12, 2010 issue of the Peace Arch News newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.peacearchn...

Fri February 12 2010 PAN  

Complete February 12, 2010 issue of the Peace Arch News newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.peacearchn...

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