PILGRIMAGE ENCOUNTERS SYRIA’S PROBLEMS
By Philippa Wolff – April 22, 2011
Recent unrest and major protests in Syria mean that a King’s pilgrimage will be put on hold.
Thorne was forced to officially postpone the trip on Mar. 29, following a warning to “avoid non- essential travel” that the Canadian government applied to Syria in its entirety on Mar. 26.
The country has been in major turmoil since Mar. 18 when anti-government protests quickly escalated into violence between the people and the state.
“The country is entirely unsafe,” said King’s chaplain Canon Dr. Gary Thorne, who was to lead the pilgrimage.
“Lattakia, one of the places we were going to, was actually closed to outsiders and tourists
because of the trouble and bloodshed,” he said.
But for second-year King’s student Thomas McCallum, who was set to go on the pilgrimage, the danger isn’t why he supports Thorne’s decision to cancel.
“I feel as if it would be almost rude to go to Syria right now,” he said.
“If I were to be protesting Harper, sticking my pellet gun out my front window, and a bunch of Syrians were to be strutting around on my doorstep because Abraham pitched his tent there, I wouldn’t be too happy.”
Thorne called the decision to cancel “enormously disappointing.” He noted that extensive preparation went into the trip,both spiritually and with contacts in Syria.
A secondary pilgrimage is in the works, which will be to a location a bit closer to home – the backcountry of Nova Scotia – in early May. Thorne doesn’t know the details of the trip yet, but said pilgrims will be beyond the reaches of civilization, either canoeing or walking.
And Thorne said he hopes that this won’t be the end of the Syria pilgrimage.
“Our best hope is that next year, at this same time, a group of pilgrims from King’s College will go on this pilgrimage (to Syria).”
Avoiding a Fiery Pit
By Whitney Cant – April 22, 2011
Following the King’s Theatrical Society’s 80th anniversary, it has come to light that multiple fire regulations are being broken in the Pit, the KTS’s primary performance space. These violations vary from a lack of sprinklers to improper paint storage to the lack of a proper emergency exit.
If not addressed, the KTS could face the loss of the Pit, says Dave Etherington, last year’s KTS vice- president and the current treasurer. Etherington says he hopes that discussion will never have to happen.
Proper storage and exits are priorities on the KTS’s todo list for the summer, and the KTS is
currently in talks with a subcommittee of Property Grounds and Safety for a deal to redesign the entire space. Etherington is confident that the KTS will come through on all of the regulations that the HRM Fire Department has told them to address, and the Pit will have a future in KTS productions.
One glitch in the preparations: a lack of funds. The Pit is property of King’s, and according to Etherington, it is the university’s responsibility to provide the KTS with a safe performing space. However, Etherington is quick to point out that the KTS is fully committed to doing their part to assist the university in addressing the fire regulations. He says that it is a joint responsibility between King’s and the KTS to make the Pit a safe performance and spectator space.
“The pit has been under threat of being shut down for years,” said Bethany Hindmarsh, the new president of the KTS. “The fragility of these traditions and institutions is part of their charm. But this was a bit of a wake-up call to all of us. We’ll continue to work with the administration so renovations aren’t happening during next year’s season.”