There is no principled reason for opposing a Human Rights museum. But why not create truly unique galleries by allocating, for example, an entire floor to Canada's internment operations, which afflicted not only Ukrainians and other Europeans in 1914-1920 but Japanese, Italian, and German Canadians in the Second World War and the Quebecois in 1970? Explaining the baneful consequences of the War Measures Act upon several different Canadian communities during the course of the 20th century highlights the need for vigilance in defence of civil liberties in times of domestic and international crisis. University of Saskatchewan scholars such as Bill Waiser and Bohdan Kordan have already pioneered that approach. Instead Canada's first national internment operations got only a minor reference, placing it on par with "the alleged slaughter of Inuit sled dogs in the High Arctic" or hoaxes like the one about "thousands of Nazi war criminals hiding in Canada."Two thoughts: First, how dare a museum that pretends to be devoted to human rights ignore the untold multi-millions of victims of Communism? Such an oversight says it all, I think, about the mausoleum's skewed (i.e. Leftist) perspective, but I suppose we should be grateful there's no "Dr. Norman Bethune: Canadian Human Rights Hero" exhibit. (At least, I assume there's none.)
A thematic gallery comparing the many genocides that befouled human history, not just in Europe but in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and not only in the 20th century but before and since, would have genuine pedagogical value. Placing the Shoah in context, as Timothy Snyder does in his much-applauded volume, Bloodlands, would remind us that while the word "genocide" was invented just after the Second World War, the act itself is neither modern nor, sadly, unlikely to reoccur.
And how to explain that the victims of Communism weren't mentioned? Stalin and his satraps murdered millions more than Hitler, a point underscored in Stanford University professor Norman Naimark's outstanding new book, Stalin's Genocides, yet that Soviet dictator is not named, not once. Nor are Mao Tse Tung's atrocities included even though the Chinese Communists slaughtered about the same number as Hitler and Stalin did, combined. And what about Imperial Japanese barbarities, such as the infamous "Rape of Nanjing"? It's left out, as it is in most Japanese textbooks, even as the Holodomor is currently being cut out of Ukraine's.
Being inclusive and equitable takes nothing away from hallowing victims of the Shoah...
Also--poor Izzy Asper, God rest his weary mausoleum-boosting soul. Here he wanted to put up a museum that would place the Holocaust front and centre in the minds of his fellow Canadians as "the" example of man's inhumanity to man. Instead, his dream is devolving into one big kvetch-fest, as one after another victim group complains about the Jews being accorded numero uno victim status, and demanding what might best be described as "victimhood equity" (what a concept!).
He had me at the mass internment of the Quebecois in 1970.
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