Saturday, June 06, 2015
The Mohawk Institute and the Disturbing Silence of Stephen Harper
After following Stephen Harper's bestial political career for so long, I didn't think anything he did could shock me.
But I must admit I was stunned by his strange silence at the closing ceremony of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I wondered why a Canadian Prime Minister wouldn't say something, anything, to mark the significance of the moment.
Or recognize the pain and suffering of so many. Or all the horror stories like this one.
The story of what happened to Russell Moses in a hellish place called the Mohawk Institute.
The Mohawk Institute, referred to by the children as “the Mush hole,” was a dark and horrible place, the stuff of children’s nightmares. Food, as described by the Moses letter, was “minimal in quantity and appalling in quality.”
Moses laments in his letter that he had seen “Indian children eating from the swill barrel, picking out soggy bits of food intended for the pigs.”
Where cruelty ruled.
Robbed of their names, forbidden to speak their languages (severe beatings would follow any use of traditional language), subjected to harsh physical punishment and deprived of love, the children suffered enormously.
And which was by any standard of human decency, nothing but a concentration camp for children.
So why would Harper remain so silent about such a tragic episode in Canadian history? Why wouldn't he say something to acknowledge the pain and suffering, and reach out to the survivors. No matter how hollow his words might be.
And I can only think, like Karl Neremberg does, that's it's because his silence is like a dog whistle to his ghastly racist base.
The reason Harper and his government have adopted this grin-and-bear-it attitude toward the TRC is that they hear other voices than those that have flooded the media this week. The Conservative leader is acutely aware that many of his party's "base" have views quite at variance with the "politically correct" consensus.
The kind of people who gave been flooding the comment section of newspapers or websites with comments like these:
"You don't think the taxpayer pours enough tax money into Indian Affairs? Geez. Time for them to go back to the tee-pee, out of our sight !!
"Stop being a blood sucking parasite. The world does not owe you a living because you were here first... and there is some question about that …"
And when I think that Harper is pandering to those kind of people I am even more convinced that he is unfit to be a Canadian Prime Minister...
Bruce MacKinnon/National Journal
And the more I like Don Martin's idea. Why don't we scrap plans for the monstrous monument to himself Harper is building in the heart of Ottawa?
The so-called Memorial to the Victims of Communism...
And turn the site into another kind of memorial.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper should dedicate the site to the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential schools.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggests a national holiday and memorials in major cities. But what’s needed is a national focal point to reconcile the ugliest truth of our history in a hugely symbolic, yet tangibly concrete way.
Because that would indeed be a grand gesture, and a way of finally acknowledging our history. One that would hopefully also celebrate the existence of our aboriginal peoples, their culture, and their survival.
One that would mark the moment when a Harper-free Canada could begin to write a new and better chapter in the history of this still young country.
When those old wounds might finally be healed.
And the ghosts of those poor children might rest in peace at last...
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