Readers write

September 11, 2013 | Viewpoints

Evil misdeeds, behaviour must be condemned for what they are

Re: “Boxing up the Old Colony Mennonites,” Aug. 19, page 14.

Royden Loewen is correct in reminding us that we need to show respect and report sensitively when describing people with lifestyles that exhibit values different than our own (“Ministry in a very different world,” July 8, page 4). Loewen helpfully reminds us of some of the strengths and remarkable community and economic successes Old Colony Mennonites have achieved in Mexico, Bolivia and elsewhere. It is important to be reminded that we ourselves may have a questionable lifestyle when scrutinized by someone with a different set of values.

That, however, should not prevent investigative reporters like Jean Friedman-Rudovsky from reporting on horrible acts of crime and misconduct within any community. In “The ghost rapes of Bolivia: The perpetrators were caught, but the crimes continue”
(, she portrayed a horror story with sympathy to the women who were the victims.

This Manitoba Colony community in Bolivia apparently does not have the leadership resources with the will to end these atrocities. In such a report, it would have been inexplicable for the reporter to highlight the cheese and community economic successes, given the horrors the women in the story have endured for a number of years.

This is a very sad story indeed. It is an extreme example of how many generations of people—who have practised avoidance and separation from the larger society in which they live—have become so disconnected. The story also demonstrates tragically how the lack of a meaningful education system in the community is very evident.

It is not always easy or attractive to report, but evil misdeeds and behaviours such as rape must be reported and condemned for what they are. It is a matter of promoting human rights and preventing further abuses. I would expect Canadian Mennonite to do just that.

Peter Peters, Winnipeg

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