Help for Syrian Civilians

Dear Virtual Editor,

You will not be hearing from me again until January— for the best of reasons.  It appears that my book on Canada’s involvement in other people’s wars has found a publisher.  The only problem is that I have not yet finished writing it!  Fear not, I will be back in touch to urge everyone to throw out Republicans in 2014.  The “off year” elections this time will be far more important than those in 2016.  Meanwhile, two farewell matters:

Help for Syrian Civilians

All of us who still have a sense of community know that there are two difficulties with donating to worthy causes.  The first is choosing among the many good ones that seek our help.  Once we have been identified by them, we can rely on never again logging on to an empty Inbox.  The second problem is trying to make sure that our money actually gets to those we wish to help.  The decision on the first problem is yours, but I have the answer on the second if you choose to help Syrian civilians.

Syria1Julie Angus, a Syrian-Canadian, and her husband were named National Geographic Adventurers of the Year in 2006. Their exploits included rowing together across the Atlantic Ocean.  She is one determined person, and so is her father, Dr. Saren Azer, who lives here in British Columbia.  Both were cut off from family members in Syria in 2011, but Dr. Azer found his way back to volunteer at the Domiz camp, just inside Iraq from Syria.

We have all seen enough pictures of wide eyed skeletal children.  I am not going there, but here is a brief description. The camp was built for 12,000 and currently houses 80,000+, who live in tents on two square kilometers. Two thirds of the refugees are children. Medical supplies ran out several weeks ago.  Julie and Dr. Azer are beating the drum for support that will produce a shipment of medical supplies—physician travel packs, each with enough medicine for 600 treatments. He can get $6000 worth of medicine in each pack for $575. The goal is 50 packs.   Importantly for us, we know for sure exactly where our contribution to purchase the supplies will go and how it will be used.

Please go to www.peaceandhumanrights.org  and learn how you can help.  I find that the project’s credibility is further enhanced by the very basic method of fund raising. The banks don’t even get a cut. You have to donate by sending them a check!  Anyone so enthused by this plea that they cannot wait can send the check right now to: Health Partners International, Canada, ISPR, 162 Manor Place, Comox BC V9M 1C6, Canada.

R.I.P. The Last Moderate Republican?

Dear Virtual Editor,

1oh1aI.AuSt.156James E. Holshouser Jr. died in June.  Elected in 1972, he was the first Republican Governor in NC since Reconstruction.  In 1975, the Cumberland County Bar Association sent two names to the Governor to fill a vacant judgeship on the Superior Court. Mine was one of the names and my brother-in-law at the time was Vice Chair of the national Republican Party. Holshouser chose the other guy, who went on to be an outstanding judge. Here are just a few reasons I have no difficulty forgiving the good Governor.

Holshouser believed in early childhood education and established the first statewide kindergarten system. He pushed a capital improvement campaign for community colleges. After leaving office, he served on the board of the Southern Regional Literacy Commission and other related organizations.

Holshouser-InnaugurationHolshouser won office in the same election that brought the lamentable Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate. You remember Helms, the NC version of everyone’s funny uncle that it was best to keep out of sight when visitors came.  (After hiatus, I may tell you about my personal interactions with Helms.) But you would never know that Helms and Holshouser were members of the same party. I did not agree with some of what the Governor did, but I never heard from him any of the race baiting, fear-mongering, or poor-bashing that was the Senator’s stock in trade.

Today’s NC Republicans could use some of the education, not to mention literacy, that Holshouser helped make available to them.  Even more, they would do well to emulate his absence of mean spirit.  But perhaps he was the last moderate Republican. The current crop has taken the Helms model to a new level, from rhetoric to legislation.

In truth, I was way too far left for even a moderate Republican to appoint to the court. I especially do not hold a grudge because I know that the current office holder would not only do the same as Holshouser, he would probably go on to tap my phone!

Finally, I have to confess that I remember this last moderate Republican fondly in part because we both had the benefit of an excellent education. He was a mere nine years ahead of me at UNC Law School, the institution that Helms would have dearly loved to see closed down. The current legislature is working on that also. I hear Plan B is to rename it Bob Jones University—North Campus.

See you in January.

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