Back to top

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 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.

Allan Markin, PhD
Penticton, BC 

Link to Nik Green's original column