Letters: Third Wave, Seniors & "Ethnic Vote"

Today is mail day. We find out what you've had to say about the lessons of the third wave, courting the so-called ethnic vote, co-existing with moose and what to call a senior who doesn't want to be called a senior. And we have an update from Batool Al-Khawaja, the young woman in Bahrain who watched as the country's security forces took away her father, her fiancé and her brother-in-law.



Thursday is mail day and our Friday host Bob McKeown has slipped away from The Fifth Estate to lend a hand with the mail.

Third Wave: In 1967, then history teacher Ron Jones was teaching his class about Adolph Hitler and the Holocaust and he decided to simulate a totalitarian state in his classroom, in the hopes his students would learn more from the experience. Ron Jones told his students they could be part of the Third Wave, an allusion to the Third Reich, something that his students didn't pick up on right away.

Tuesday on The Current we heard from Ron Jones, along with his former student, Philip Neel, who has co-directed a documentary called Lesson Plan: The Story of the Third Wave. In the course of the experiment, students turned on each other quickly and began to shun outsiders. The experiment lasted 5 days before Ron Jones realized it was spiraling out of his control. It was a compelling story and we heard lots more in the mail.

Many listeners also wrote in to mention the television adaptation of the story which was simply called The Wave. It was made by Norman Lear in 1981 and won an Emmy and a Peabody award that year.

Batool Al-Khawaja Update: We have an update on a story we brought you earlier this week. On Tuesday, we spoke with Batool Al-Khawaja, a young woman who lives in Bahrain and whose father, fiancé and brother-in-law had all been taken from their home in the middle of the night by the country's security forces.

At the time, it had been a week since they had heard any news and they feared the worst. Batool's sister Zainab was on a hunger strike. Late yesterday, the family finally received a phone call, telling them their father was alive and that he would be put on trial in front of a military court.

Zainab Al-Khawaja gave up her week-old hunger strike after receiving the call about her father and husband. Soon after Batool Al-Khawaja spoke with us yesterday, her family was told that her father's military trial would take place within hours.

We spoke with Batool Al-Khawaja again earlier this morning and now the family is really confused because she went to the military court this morning to bring him some clean clothes for his trial and even the lawyers who were ready to work with him were told there was no hearing scheduled for today. And though Human Rights officials working with her father have a list of charges ostensibly filed against him Abdul Hadi Al-Khawaja not a name that officials say they know anything about. There is no record of him in their files and no update on the family.

"Ethnic Vote": Politicians across the country are eating baklava and shaking hands in Chinatown. They're posting pictures taken with people in turbans and learning phrases in Mandarin -- all in the name of winning the so-called "ethnic" vote. Tuesday on the program, we put the idea of an ethnic vote to a few Canadians who support three different political parties. The idea of an ethnic vote was troubling to some listeners, we shared their thoughts.

Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly: Two weeks ago, we spoke with Michel Martelly, the pop singer elected President of Haiti. That interview prompted a long letter from Roger Annis, a co-ordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network. He wrote some pretty provocative words so we invited him to our Vancouver studio to explain.

Moose Cull: Low estimates set the moose population in Newfoundland at a hundred and twenty thousand. That's more moose per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. And it's become a problem ... as moose populate highways, suburbs and overwhelm ecosystems.

Earlier this month, Parks Canada announced a moose cull in the province's two national parks. Monday on the program, we heard from people on many sides of the issue. Eugene Nippard, the founder and chair of the Save Our People Action Committee was seriously injured when his car hit a moose. We heard from him and from Ron Hicks, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association. It's an organization that represents outfitters who set up moose hunting expeditions. Then we heard from you.

Seniors: Last Thursday we turned the program over to seniors in this country to hear their stories about what it's like to grow older in Canada. We heard good news stories but listeners also shared stories of financial hardship, problems accessing health care and isolation. And we heard lots more on our voicemail. We shared some of those calls.

And on the topic of seniors, Julia Manitius of Vancouver emailed us these thoughts:

I wish that the CBC would take the lead in finding a new way of referring to older Canadians, than seniors. My parents lived to 103 and 90 and they hated being called seniors. I am now 66 and I hate it too.

We don't call people in their twenties, juniors!! I appreciate you have to call us something, but what about something more uplifting?? What would you like to be called Anna Maria, when you reach this age?

Well Julia Manitius, we also threw around some ideas in the office yesterday. And here's a list of alternatives The Current came up with:

Several producers suggested we just call it like it is: OLD or "oldsters" . Others suggested we use the word "Elders". Or the wrinkley-gifted, Captains of Aging, the 4pm Dinner crowd, Yearsaholics, Señors, the Chrono-endowed, Youth-challenged, Hip-replacement-sters... but we figured Julia wanted uplifting terms.

How about: the ageless, The Sage Ones, Yodas, Wiseguys or Wisers (like the whiskey) .... generation A'ers as in Back in my Day'ers. And finally... The Casper Generation ... because they're, you know, invisible.

If you have a suggestion of your own for a more uplifting replacement of the word 'senior' or have anything else to say about what you're hearing on The Current, get in touch!

Minority Retort # 3

Well, after a chippy few days on the federal election campaign, Dan Ratner and his panelists at Minority Retort are getting ready to discuss some of the finer points of the week's developments.

Minority Retort is written for The Current by Jason Sherman and directed by Gregory J. Sinclair. Jeff Kassel is Dan ... Susan Coyne is Frances ... Imali Perera is Helen ... and Matt Austin Sadowski is Kyle.

Other segments from today's show:

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