Letter From The Editor

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Dear IW page # 2,

It’s finally snowing, and despite being practically dormant during winters and cursing the winter weather every year for as long as I can remember, I am surprised at myself this season for missing the extreme cold and being so delighted on seeing snow. School has taken its toll and amid assignments, quizzes, and lab reports (Thank God no midterms yet!) here I am, writing my editorial. After a count of 5 for people who have missed actually attaching an attachment to their emails, I am very close to being done. I am sure you will enjoy this issue as much as you enjoyed the last one, and you know where to knock the door if you don’t.
This issue covers Ontario Engineering Competition, hosted by University of Waterloo this past weekend, articles on UW’s new features including UW YouTube channel, New Digital Media Institute and redesigning of the UW homepage. We also have our regular features, Iron Archives, Research at Waterloo, movie review, Future of Gaming, a column by the Brew Man Group, The Fashion Files, and a column by Chad Sexington. Starting this issue, we will also have a column on health and fitness. We also have a variety of articles on the Winter Olympics and a very friendly column discussing things you can do during the reading week, contributed by some of IW staff members. This issue also covers FEDS Elections briefly – the polling will start on February 9th and end on February 11th, I highly encourage you all to vote in these elections.
Before I move on to my editorial I would like to share some experiences and thoughts. As I mentioned, OEC took place in UW and since the event majorly took place between DC, DWE and RCH, there were many students passing by the IW office in E2 on Saturday. I personally felt very regretful not to have ever taken any initiative to participate in any cross-university activities. This is definitely going on my things-to-do list and I advise you all to participate in such events at least once too. Later in the day, I roamed around the buildings for Iron Inquisition and realized it’s a very enriching experience; you get to meet so many new people and see all kinds of ideas and projects that people are working on. Surprisingly enough, on surveying I learned that students from other universities really like our campus buildings. It was utter shock to me because I had never liked the concrete and metal architecture at UW; I guess we are so used to our campus that we don’t realize its uniqueness and elements in other campuses absent from our own tend to attract us more.
Some students from University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) also dropped by the IW office;  one of the students is interested in starting a student newspaper at UOIT and wanted to know how is it all carried out. It was a nice bit of chit-chat and it felt good to answer their questions. They also took some of our older newspapers and of course we took this opportunity to warn them about Imprint.
Early on Saturday morning, when I came in there was a UofT sticker on the IW placard outside the door. With some careful effort we got it off but the behaviour was definitely disappointing. Later on, it was rumoured that UofT stickers got stolen and they were posted all over the campus. Regardless of who has done it, this behaviour is very inappropriate. Such competitions are a means of bringing students from different schools together for exchange of ideas, celebrating each others’ accomplishments and strengths and promoting healthy competition. Acts such as this, intended to sabotage the reputation of one school or the other do not prove anyone superior than the rest rather put a blot on the morals of the student community as a whole. It is my humble request to all students to refrain from such activities, especially when people from different backgrounds have come together,  as it gives rise to general feelings of hostility and back biting.
And just a friendly reminder to my fellows at UW: the cardboard box outside the IW office (the old WEEF office, E2 2934A) is used to keep IW current issues and is NOT a garbage box. Please don’t throw your coffee cups and chocolate wrappers in there. Do pick a newspaper if you like 🙂

An earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit Haiti on Tuesday, January 12th. Around 170,000 people have lost their lives and a far greater number is in worse conditions due to the immense damage to infrastructure, unavailability of food and medicine, and lack of sanitation and hygienic conditions in this state of chaos.  News of the Haiti earthquake and its after effects have been flooding over all media. It has mobilized the entire world and help in the form of rescue teams, medical units, food and other relief materials have been pouring in from the entire world. This is not the first time in history that a natural catastrophe has attracted attention and sympathy from the nations. Such incidents make me wonder why can we not live with such feelings of compassion and sympathy for our fellow human beings regardless of demographic boundaries invariably? We live in a world dominated by world politics. If a country declares war on another, we don’t even pause to think about the effect it can have on a common person, who like you and I goes to school or work in the morning, does household chores and watches a movie before heading to bed. Then it’s all about some intellectual or ideological theory or some ghost from the past and increasing death tolls of the same people don’t bother us. Why does it have to be an earthquake or tsunami to make us feel for those who get adversely affected? Are we so naïve that we think the soldiers will only kill the ‘bad guys’ while the public will be walking gaily on the side walks?
Another thing that I read following Haiti earthquake was regarding adoptions. Following the earthquake, many families in Canada and U.S. who had already applied for adoption from Haiti have shown concern for immediate immigration of their adopted children. In addition, Edmonton Haitian community has requested the government to ease the immigration laws to facilitate sponsorship/immigration of their Haitian relatives. Similarly, the African Union has called for a mass adoption program of Haitian orphans and is considering creating a state for them in the African continent. I personally, am not quite in favour of such steps. The popular word that I had heard was ‘rebuild’ and I don’t consider transporting children out of the country rebuilding the Haitian nation. I am not casting any doubts on part of the parents who are interested in adopting these children.  But their sincerity and sympathy is not enough justification to separate these children from their homeland. Such abrupt cultural disconnection might not be healthy for the children in the long run. In my opinion the focus should be to “rebuild Haiti” – providing Haiti with the resources that are needed for reconstruction of the country and for a better future of these children. An attempt to relocate the entire population is a weak argument because it takes away the will and power from the Haitian people to face and fight the prevailing situation and does not provide for the building of a strong character for a nation that was the first independent nation in Latin America.
A second concern that has stemmed out of child adoption specifically is illegal child trafficking. Recently ten members of a U.S. charity group had been arrested for trying to smuggle 33 children across the border.  Haitian Social Welfare Institute has also said that “numerous children” have left the country illegally. The Haitian government is enforcing strict laws to ensure that it does not happen again. This problem can as a matter of fact happen in case of adoption too. If the government starts acting on mass adoption, to what extent can it ensure that children are going to homely environments and will not be used for illegal activities?
With these thoughts, I am going to conclude my editorial. It will be a while before I get to see you again, since we are taking a midterm break. Good luck with the midterms and enjoy your Reading Week.

Smile C:
Amrita Yasin

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