LETTER: Beating on borsht insulting to heritage of Grand Forks

LETTER: Beating on borsht insulting to heritage of Grand Forks

Dear Editor;

Recently I came across the Boundary Sentinel editorial entitled Beating a Dead Borsht. As a proud Canadian Doukhobor (not Russian as the editorial implies Doukhobors to be), I was offended by the tone of the editorial with respect to Doukhobors.

First, I was not able to detect what positive result your editoiral writer hoped to achieve.by indulging in juvenile self-indulgent humour. To be sure, he succeeded in insulting a group of people that has been part of the pioneering spirit that developed the Kootenay/Boundary area.This group has made significant cultural, social, and economic contributions to the region and beyond.

Perhaps your editorial writer needs some lessons in local history.

Today there are many successful Doukhobors: lawyers, doctors, artists, university professors, entrepreneurs, industrialists, farmers, construction workers, and entertainers. To "beat up" on borsht is to insult them all.

Furthermore, I was disappointed that your editorial writer did not provide any constructive suggestions with respect to what might replace the "Sasha and borsht" brand for which Grand Forks is well known. It is indisputabe that borsht has made Grand Forks a regular pit stop for many travellers along Highway 3.

I agree with your writer that the Grand Forks "brand" needs refreshing. I suggest that this can be done by incorporating "Sasha and borsht" into a new brand so that an important link to the past is not lost. I also believe that this should be done through extensive community consultations to ensure that the final decision is not based solely on political initiatives.

I have many friends and relatives in Grand Forks and visit the town on a regular basis. As such, I am aware of the local politics that may have motivated the editorial. The election is over, and it's time for an apology to the Doukhobors.

Sincerely,
Allan Markin, PhD
Penticton, BC 

Link to Nik Green's original column

Comments

Great response

I'm always happy to see a response to one of my columns, so thank you to Dr. Allan Markin for taking the time. However, I also appreciate it when people actually read the column before rebutting. The entire tone of Beating A Dead Borscht was to articulate the obsessive grasp some folks have on the "faded allure of borscht" as I put it. Dr. Markins' response plays exactly to what I was talking about. Markin insists I insulted Doukhobors as a whole by suggesting a soup is not a focal point of the local tourism economy. This is off base and shows a passionate response was formed over an informed one. Frankly this kind of response irks me as it's a cheap way of shifting a topic off axis in order to garner support. "Today there are many successful Doukhobors: lawyers, doctors, artists, university professors, entrepreneurs, industrialists, farmers, construction workers, and entertainers. To "beat up" on borsht is to insult them all." How on earth did you get to the above point from my words? I'm of British background as are many Canadians. So hypothetically, If we opted to push bangers n' mash as the economy savior and someone suggested that to be implausible do you think I would take that as some kind of slight to Queen and country? Absolutely not that would be absurd. "Furthermore, I was disappointed that your editorial writer did not provide any constructive suggestions with respect to what might replace the "Sasha and borsht" brand for which Grand Forks is well known" Well known? Ninety percent of people in the Lower Mainland think Grand Forks is up north. I provided a solution that actually showcased the history and have suggested other options in past columns also. To quote myself... "Turn borscht making into an interactive process and you not only pull people from their cars, but maybe you pull more than five bucks from their hands too. My concept is to slap some of these borscht-making Russian residents we always hear about behind a roadside borscht making attraction." If that isn't enough I'd love to point out how much my company has contributed to improving the local tourism economy if one is to question my passion for the area. From tourism films and photography to addressing apathy and misguided marketing campaigns, I've made it a point to keep my thumb on the pulse of the town even while I'm currently residing in Vancouver.

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