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EDITORIAL ROUNDUP

on September 22, 2013 1:10 AM

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:

Newark, N.J., Sept. 17, The Star-Ledger on Miss America:

To the new Miss America we offer hearty congratulations, and best wishes in her determination to ignore the psychos who have been posting racist comments online.

It is a sad fact of modern life that bigots can gain visibility much more easily than they used to. There was a day when they had to screw up the courage to confront their targets in the flesh, or at least take the trouble to scrawl graffiti or draft a letter.

Now they can post a comment online under an anonymous screen name in 30 seconds. And with that vile mission completed, they can move on to pollute another online conversation. So a mere handful of bigots can spread their slime far and wide, making their views seem more common than they are in reality.

The messages regarding the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, who is Indian-American, proved yet again that bigotry and stupidity often go hand in hand. Here’s a sampling:

“And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.”

“9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets Miss America?”

“Congratulations Al-Qaeda. Our Miss America is one of you.”

For the record, Davuluri, 24, is headed to medical school, unlike the clowns who wrote these notes. When she was asked about the ugly tweets, she turned it into a teaching moment.

“At the end of the day, we are all Americans,” she said. “Some of us have different skin color or may speak a different language at home or may practice a different religion. But we are all still American.”

Tweet that, bigots.

Toronto, Sept. 17, Toronto Star on Egypt should free two Canadians held without charge:

Enough. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making discouragingly little headway with muted expressions of diplomatic “concern” about the fate of two Canadians — a physician and a filmmaker — who have been languishing for weeks in an Egyptian jail without explanation or charge. It’s time to channel some outrage.

The military coup that has plunged Egypt into this contempt for due process and the law is a betrayal of its 2011 democratic revolution. It is roiling relations with friendly countries such as Canada and the United States. It is scaring off aid, investment and tourism. And it is condemning Egyptians to yet more violence and instability. That’s the message Harper should be sending, forcefully and publicly, to Cairo’s generals and their political cronies.

Dr. Tarek Loubani and John Greyson were arrested on Aug. 16 after they went into a Cairo police station to ask directions in the midst of political upheaval there. The police now allege that they and a few other foreigners took part in riots involving Muslim Brotherhood supporters near a police station and mosque. They’ve been held for a month, and on the weekend a prosecutor ordered them held for 15 days more. They fear being jailed indefinitely, and have now launched a hunger strike to protest.

While their families credit Harper and our diplomats for “advocating for John and Tarek’s release at the highest levels,” the pair’s detention is an outrage. Our diplomats are in touch, have managed to improve their jail conditions, and have met briefly with Egyptian prosecutors. But that still leaves the two in limbo. ...

Canadians can’t be expected to turn a blind eye to this. More than 115,000 have signed a petition demanding that Greyson and Loubani be freed. And at the Toronto International Film Festival high-profile stars including Atom Egoyan, Sarah Polley and Alex Gibney took up their cause.

Egypt must provide a credible case, or release these men as it should release many others.

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