Your Crime is Not Diminished by Time, or Apology

Only a devilish ideology can kill children on an industrial scale just for the pleasure of it. Sita Ram Goel called Christianity and Islam as evil ideologies that have arisen from the poison in human psyche. The more I read about their deeds and history, the more I tend to agree with him. 

How many missionaries or pastors have been hanged until now for crimes against humanity?

Your Crime is Not Diminished by Time, or Apology
Why Nothing has Changed for Victims of Church Torture, or for the Victimizers
By Rev. Kevin D. Annett  

“Its worse now, because I m supposed to be healed. They get away with everything and Im still here on the corner.” — Bingo, a homeless native survivor of Catholic Indian Residential schools, Vancouver, August 10, 2009

Here in Canada, I have an odd deja vu feeling these days that I’m working again on the Intensive Ward of the UBC Psychiatric Hospital, except somehow the patients have taken over.

It’s a feeling that’s reinforced whenever a smiling government or church official announces that the residential school era has “finally found closure” now that a few words have been uttered, and a bit of money thrown around. Somehow, these guys mistakenly believe that their liability and guilt as been diminished by their lawyers.

To stay sane, I stay close to people like Bingo and the many thousands of others who imagine they survived the electric shocks, the beatings, the sodomizing and starvation and tortures that were daily residential school life. It was official policy in Canada to destroy innocent children. Probably one hundred thousand children died at the hands of priests and nuns and other clergy, and their minions, many of whom still walk around free.

“Then I saw the priest take that little baby and throw him into the furnace. I heard a little cry and heard his body go pop in the flames. We weren’t ever supposed to tell.”

Irene Favel saw the burning alive of a newborn baby in the summer of 1944, not in Auschwitz, but in Lestock, Saskatchewan, at the Muscowequan Catholic Indian school. And she described it live on a national CBC television broadcast on July 3, 2008.

After the broadcast, no-one protested, save a handful. No outraged editorials responded with passion or appeal. No church official was ever charged or brought to trial.

In May of this year, an aboriginal woman named Charlotte Stewart and her sister Beryl held a press conference in Vancouver where they described watching their sister Vicky, age nine, get murdered in Edmonton by a United Church residential school employee named Ann Knizky.

“We want the United Church held responsible” said Charlotte to the two reporters who showed up.

“We want this woman brought to trial and the church to admit what happened. Vicky needs a memorial site so she won’t be forgotten.”

The church said all the predictably correct words, in a letter to Charlotte a month later, written only after the Stewarts threatened church officials with a lawsuit. But no-one is being held responsible, and the police are refusing to investigate.

On a national scale, this protection of perpetrators has been guaranteed by the Canadian government’s refusal to bring criminal charges against the churches for their killing of all those children. And the same guilty churches have even helped to choose the “Truth and Reconciliation” commissioners who will pretend to “investigate” the residential schools while promising that no names will be named or wrongdoing reported.

This kind of miscarriage of justice is called “healing and reconciliation” in Canada.

I won’t ask the obvious question anymore, which is how can church and state get away so easily with such a huge and monstrous crime. We know exactly how. The question is not even why might makes right, or how religion can sanctify murder, for history teaches us why.

Instead, what is suddenly confronting all of us, including the Pope and the Queen of England, is the realization that we cannot escape ourselves, or our own history.

We try to evade ourselves, of course, all the time. Many Canadians now really believe that we have somehow made better what happened at our hands to Indians, as if money and words ever heal anything. For every lawyer-crafted “apology”, every bit of hush money doled out anonymously, is designed to do something more basic than protect blood-soaked institutions, and that is simply to continue our own self-deception.

You don’t have to stand next to a residential school survivor, or a United Church clergyman, for more than five minutes to know that nothing has changed, for any of us. The survivor is still as crushed as ever, and the clergyman is just as stupidly self-justifying. And little Vicky Stewart still lies, unavenged and unremembered, in the cold earth.

And yet while nothing really has changed for us, the truth is finally out there, like a pesky virus in our body politic, threatening to germinate in our soul and change us.

Jesus once compared the kingdom of heaven to a tiny mustard seed, a very strange but compelling metaphor, since such a seed transforms any garden into a mass of weeds that chokes out all other contenders. The truth is like that, which is why we fear it so.

Nothing has been resolved, or reconciled, or healed. The churches and governments that planned and carried out horrible crimes against children are still as liable and guilty as they ever were, regardless of “compensation” and court-ordered gag orders. Native people continue to die in droves, and their land keeps being stolen. And it is the simple job of anyone who knows and love the truth to say and show this to the criminal parties, and dislocate them.

I watched with wondrous joy this summer when thousands of Irish men and women crowded the streets of Dublin with their outrage that the church could absolve itself, and be absolved, of its violence and murder against children. And I wait, and wait, for Canadians or Americans to demonstrate a similar clarity and courage.

And yet we can reverse our complicity, simply by understanding, and declaring, that the residential school crimes are not resolved, that the process of justice, cleansing and moral accounting has just begun, and that the churches and governments and persons responsible for genocide must and will be brought to public trial and sentencing.

We did so at Nuremburg, against other people. Can we do it now, against ourselves? And by doing so, find ourselves again?

Kevin Annett is a former minister with the United Church of Canada who was fired without cause in 1995 when he questioned the church over its killing of children in its Alberni Indian residential school. He is the author of two books and the co-producer of an award-winning documentary film on genocide in Canada. He is the Secretary of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, and lives and works with aboriginal and low-income people as a community educator and minister in Vancouver, Canada.

For more information contact Kevin at: hiddenfromhistory@yahoo.ca This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or through his website at: www.hiddenfromhistory.org

Kevin Annett
260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8
Ph: 250-753-3345

Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website: www.hiddenfromhistory.org

Film Trailer to Kevin’s award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8HB5cbKHDU&feature=related

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Your Crime is Not Diminished by Time, or Apology

  1. Padmanabhan

    It is true that the ancient Hebrews invented Religious Genocide, which is the killing of other peoples for having a different religion than the killers’ own. They did this by murdering the priestesses and priests of the competing deities worshiped within their own population, then the competing clergy of all the local tribes. For good measure, they also killed the conquered tribe’s adults and boys, keeping only the little girls whom they could then rape and brainwash into the new religion of Yahweh-ism and their new roles as slaves to men (“Old Testament” is filled with plenty of examples). Jeremiah and his revisionist followers did their worst to remove the evidence of Yahweh’s wife Tiamat, and demoted the other deities to “Angels.” The history of what then became known as Judaism is, if we are to believe the Biblical tales, in large part one of sanctimonious religious terrorism — practiced right up to the time when their weapons were physically taken away from them. Many are offspring of a Genocidal Religion continue to doing the similar bad things forever to the mankin

    • ramesh

      On March 5, 1772, a French expedition led by Nicholas Marion du Fresne landed on the island,Tasmania. Within a few hours his sailors had shot several Aborigines. On January 28, 1777, the British landed on the island. Following coastal New South Wales in Australia, Tasmania was established as a British convict settlement in 1803. These convicts had been harshly traumatized and were exceptionally brutal. In addition to soldiers, administrators, and missionaries, eventually more than 65,000 men and women convicts were settled in Tasmania. A glaringly inefficient penal system allowed such convicts to escape into the Tasmanian hinterland where they exercised the full measure of their blood-lust and brutality upon the island’s Black occupants. According to social historian Clive Turnbull, the activities of these criminals would soon include the “shooting, bashing out brains, burning alive, and slaughter of Aborigines for dogs’ meat.”As early as 1804 the British began to slaughter, kidnap and enslave the Black people of Tasmania. The colonial government itself was not even inclined to consider the aboriginal Tasmanians as full human beings, and scholars began to discuss civilization as a unilinear process with White people at the top and Black people at the bottom. To the Europeans of Tasmania the Blacks were an entity fit only to be exploited in the most sadistic of manners–a sadism that staggers the imagination and violates all human morality. As UCLA professor, Jared Diamond, recorded:

      “Tactics for hunting down Tasmanians included riding out on horseback to shoot them, setting out steel traps to catch them, and putting out poison flour where they might find and eat it. Sheperds cut off the penis and testicles of aboriginal men, to watch the men run a few yards before dying. At a hill christened Mount Victory, settlers slaughtered 30 Tasmanians and threw their bodies over a cliff. One party of police killed 70 Tasmanians and dashed out the children’s brains.”

      Such vile and animalistic behavior on the part of the White settlers of Tasmania was the rule rather than the exception. In spite of their wanton cruelty, however, punishment in Tasmania was exceedingly rare for the Whites, although occasionally Whites were sentenced for crimes against Blacks. For example, there is an account of a man who was flogged for exhibiting the ears and other body parts of a Black boy that he had mutilated alive. We hear of another European punished for cutting off the little finger of an Aborigine and using it as a tobacco stopper. Twenty-five lashes were stipulated for Europeans convicted of tying aboriginal “Tasmanian women to logs and burning them with firebrands, or forcing a woman to wear the head of her freshly murdered husband on a string around her neck.”

      Not a single European, however, was ever punished for the murder of Tasmanian Aborigines. Europeans thought nothing of tying Black men to trees and using them for target practice. Black women were kidnapped, chained and exploited as sexual slaves. White convicts regularly hunted Black people for sport, casually shooting, spearing or clubbing the men to death, torturing and raping the women, and roasting Black infants alive. As historian, James Morris, graphically noted:

      “We hear of children kidnapped as pets or servants, of a woman chained up like an animal in a sheperd’s hut, of men castrated to keep them off their own women. In one foray seventy aborigines were killed, the men shot, the women and children dragged from crevices in the rocks to have their brains dashed out. A man called Carrotts, desiring a native woman, decapitated her husband, hung his head around her neck and drove her home to his shack.”

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