LETTERS: Vote accordingly

I’m just reminding citizens to remember that the freedoms we enjoy can be quickly lost, and to vote accordingly.

I am very concerned about Stephen Harper’s recently stated intention to bring in a “police tip line” whereby citizens can report incidents of “barbaric cultural practices.” This, I suggest, is intended to “augment” our system of law and order by fomenting vigilantism based on neighbours and friends spying on each other. As history demonstrates, this is not a as far-fetched as it sounds.

An example of how such initiatives can go awry occurred in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. One of Stalin’s techniques of building fear and distrust in Soviet society was to encourage “whisper campaigns” in which neighbours spied on neighbours, friends reported suspicious activity of friends and family members denounced family members. The result was wide-spread paranoia, alienation, and treachery. Repressions, banishments, and millions of innocent deaths followed.

For a comprehensive account of this terrible part of Soviet history, I recommend a highly regarded book called The Whisperers, by Orlando Figes.

I have been to Russia many times and have visited one of Stalin’s many mass graves where some 70,000 souls are buried. To those folks who will say “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about,” I ask them consider how many millions of innocent people rest in unquiet slumber in Stalin’s mass graves.

And, I have witnessed in contemporary Russian society how fear and distrust still linger. Ask an older lady at a transit stop for directions and she will say “nyet, nyet” and turn away. Knock on a neighbour’s door in an  Irkutsk apartment building, knowing that they are home, and no one will answer. Enter this same apartment building and go through no less than five steel doors to get to your flat. Wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of clanging steel doors and feel shivers going up your spine knowing this is how it must have sounded to folks wondering who was to “disappear” next as a result of “whisper campaigns” and Stalin’s repressions.

Now I am not suggesting the Stephen Harper is another Joseph Stalin. To achieve this level of infamy Harper would have to grow a moustache.

I’m just reminding citizens to remember that the freedoms we enjoy can be quickly lost, and to vote accordingly.

Allan Markin

Penticton

 

 

Just Posted

Vee’s go one-and-one in weekend games against Vernon

The Vees took a 0-2 loss on Friday in Vernon and came back to Penticton for a 4-1 win on Saturday.

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Auntie Says: Be thoughtful of others around this time of year

Christmas and holidays in general can serve as painful reminders of loss for some

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Unlucky Friday the 13th as Penticton Vees fall to Vernon Vipers

The home-and-home series wraps up tonight at the South Okanagan Events Centre

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

In Photos: CP Rail Holiday Train lights up the Shuswap

The stop on the train’s Canada-wide journey came with a $5,500 donation to local food bank.

Penticton Vees earn split with Vernon Vipers

Vees victorious 4-1 at home in back end of home-and-home series

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Kelowna RCMP officer allegedly sexts assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Frosty will have to pay rent to stay on Okanagan sidewalk next Christmas

Vernon Teach and Learn allowed to keep Frosty up, but will need a permit come January 1

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Most Read