From: Ismail Zayid

To: The Halifax Herald

Sent: Oct 22, 2000 12:07 AM

Subject: Offensive language

Dear Editor:

In a recent column in The Sunday Herald, and in reference to oil prices, Peter Duffy describes the Middle East as a "scorpion’s nest." Arab Canadians find this language offensive and ill-mannered.

He forgets that the high price of oil in North America, Europe and Britain is largely due to the heavy taxation on oil by the governments of these countries, ranging from 50 to 80 per cent. It is well known that Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states have been anxious to pump more oil and bring down the price of oil, against their own self-interest.

As to Mr. Duffy’s expressed wish that this oil was in Europe, this is hypocritical. Since when have the Europeans, who have for centuries exploited the resources of their colonies in Asia and Africa, been generous with their own resources?

If his comment was in reference to the continuing violence in the Middle East, namely between Palestine and Israel, let me remind him that it is his British forefathers who are the primary cause of this conflict. It was the British government’s foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, who, in November 1917, issued that infamous document "The Balfour Declaration," in which he practised this unique act of "generosity," at the Palestinian people’s expense, promising to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The renowned British historian, Professor Arnold Toynbee, described the British role in this document in these words: "We were taking it upon ourselves to give away something that was not ours to give. We were promising rights of some kind, in the Palestinian Arabs’ country, to a third party."

I believe that a little more attention to facts should be made before Mr. Duffy makes statements that are hurtful and inappropriate.

Ismail Zayid, MD,
president, Arab Canadian Association of the Atlantic Provinces