Mennonite camps exist outside of Ontario and Manitoba
Re: “Focus on Camping,” Feb. 18, pages 23-28.
One might think from reading these stories that no Mennonite camps existed west of Manitoba. We know that’s not the case, so maybe a better title would have been “Focus on Camping in Eastern Canada.”
—Linda Wiebe Dickinson, Airdrie, Alta.
Editor’s note: Canadian Mennonite solicits material from Mennonite camps across the country and publishes or posts online the stories we receive.
Einstein quote was originally written in German
Re: “Einstein on the Bible,” Feb. 18, page 11.
The maturity of Canadian Mennonite is indeed praiseworthy!
What readers of “Et cetera” might not be aware of is that Einstein conducted all of his correspondence and his professional work in the German language while in the United States.
—Heinrich [Heinz] Bergen, Regina
Women Talking is ‘a human story . . . a work of art’
Re: “Author Miriam Toews a ‘two-trick’ pony” letter, March 4, page 7.
Miriam Toews’s book Women Talking resonated with me. Her background information was this: In the Manitoba Colony in Bolivia between 2005 and 2009 many girls and women were sexually attacked in the night by some men in the colony. Eventually eight men were convicted in a Bolivian court and received lengthy prison sentences. Toews constructed her novel “as a reaction through fiction to these true-life events, and an act of female imagination.”
In her story eight multigenerational women from two families gather to discuss their course of action. They come up with three responses: Do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. The women discuss big ideas and frequently they digress as they struggle with their pain and anger, and also the demands of children and animals on the farm. They believe in pacifism, they sing hymns and pray, they practise foot-washing. The Mennonite colony structure is a patriarchy and women’s rights are less than men’s. Do they have the right to their own thoughts?
What does it mean to be a practicing Mennonite? Does it mean adult baptism, pacifism, shunning, being separate, being perfect? All the brands of Mennonites share the Menno Simons story. Some are more “liberal” than others. Does that mean we have little in common with other human beings in a conservative setting?
I think Toews has given us a human story. Her book is a work of art; she deals with a heartbreaking subject with wit, humour and imagination.
—Evelyn Hoeppner, Morden, Man.