The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights has a new villain---Christianity

For a brief moment, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights dropped its public mask and revealed its true agenda.

The national moneypit's biggest shill, CEO Stuart Murray, travels the country to put a happy face on the private Holocaust museum that was foisted on the public as the first "national museum" built in 40 years. Its backers, the Asper Family, realized they couldn't afford it without a pipeline into the public purse, so they tweaked the idea by folding the concrete Holocaust museum into a vague, undefined promotion of "human rights" in order to win a "national" patina for the project.

Murray still can't exactly define what the $310 million CMHR will be, other than it will have two permanent exhibits---one for the Holocaust and the other for Canada's alleged mistreatment of its natives.

Here's how a professor described the museum's mandate in a lecture at the Fort Garry Hotel in October:

"Murray emphasized the museum’s inclusivity and that it invited open-ended critical dialogue and debate on the part of visitors. Implicit throughout his talk was that educating about human rights was about respecting individual differences and differences based on group identities, and getting people not simply to tolerate differences in others but to respect and to value those differences."

Get it? Stu Murray is going around telling people the museum won't be pushing any absolutes. It will, instead, invite differences of opinion and treat all opinions as worthy of discussion.

That's the public face of the CMHR. In private, among friends, it shows its true face.

The University of Manitoba recently held a conference on immigration to Canada. Its theme was "positioning the rights of immigrants and refugees into the human rights agenda around the world." Among the speakers was Armando Perla, curator for the CMHR who would, the convention was promised, be telling " stories of some of the more than 700,000 refugees offered protection in Canada since the Second World, and of those denied entry, including war resisters, queer refugees and Romani refugees from Eastern Europe."

The Winnipeg Free Press, the propaganda arm of the CMHR, reported his address briefly:

Government slammed door on refugees
Museum curator remembers those who weren't allowed into Canada
By: Carol Sanders
11/4/2011
"While Canada's proudly welcomed 700,000 refugees since the Second World War it has silently kept the door shut on certain groups over the years, says the curator of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights."
"It has been a little bit quiet about the people we don't allow," Armando Perla told a conference at the University of Manitoba Thursday.

But Perla was the the setup for another speaker, immigration lawyer David Matas who launched into a political attack on the Conservative government in Ottawa.

"If history's taught the world anything, it's that human rights and refugee protection go hand in hand, said lawyer David Matas.

"If you say no to refugees, you're saying yes to the violation of human rights," he said...

snip

When Jews in Hitler's Germany and other parts of Europe were in danger, countries like Canada and the U.S. wouldn't take them, said Matas...The Nazis could see that the world didn't care about what happened to the Jews, and that sent the signal they could get away with genocide, said Matas. Doing nothing for refugees eventually resulted in the slaughter of six million people, he added.

When countries don't act, they're complicit in refugee persecution, he said.

"Today we shake our heads. It was obvious the Jews needed protection from the Nazis." That kind of hindsight hasn't improved the vision of countries that champion human rights today, said Matas.

-snip-

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently condemned plans to hold a summit in Sri Lanka because of the country's human rights record. But Canada has failed to offer protection to Tamil refugees who fled Sri Lanka, said Matas.

His punchline...

"The message to the Sri Lankan government is 'Go ahead and mistreat the Tamil minority -- we don't care,' " said Matas

Now this politicization of a university conference could be overlooked if Matas was simply a private lawyer.

But the FP failed to mention his deep and influential connection to the CMHR.

Matas was on the controversial Content Advisory Committee which was established in January 2009 to travel the country and consult Canadians.

“We are eager to begin a dialogue with the public on their expectations for the Museum,” said then CEO Patrick O’Reilly on the formation of the CAC. “Canadians have interesting stories and unique perspectives on human rights, and we look forward to including these in the Museum.”

The museum had already, almost a year earlier, sent the government a report from its Ministerial Advisory Committee containing a table on how Canadians ranked the subjects they wanted addressed in the museum. Aboriginal issues was at the top with 16 percent, then Genocide with 14.8 percent, then women, internments, war, and the Holocaust sixth with 7 percent.

By the time the Content Advisory Committee got through with it, the priorities of the CMHR reflected a very different Canada.

The Holocaust was now at the top of the list and worthy of its very own gallery. The rest of the world's genocides were deposited in a grab-bag gallery that could be labelled Other.

So a curator for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and a member of the Content Advisory Committee show up at a conference to attack the federal government and its immigration policies. Hmmmm.

You know, that looks a lot like taking sides rather than listening to all points of view.

No wonder. Listening to all sides sounds so good in a speech, but that's the exact opposite of what the museum's supporters believe in. Whenever they get a chance, like the U of M conference on immigration, they prove they are as biased as anyone.

And the bias is the standard left-wing, anti-conservative lean you would expect from a prominent backer of the Liberal Party like Gail Asper.

The real purpose of the CMHR is to serve as a left-wing think tank that will attack conservative principles and policies under the cloak of non-partisan concern for human rights.

They have demonstrated absolutely no commitment to a diversity of opinion on any issue, nor will they.

When the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, backed by a variety of ethnic organizations across Canada, challenged the primacy of the Holocaust in genocide exhibits at the CMHR, the backers of the museum didn't engage in discussion. They invented vile accusations of anti-semitism and accused the Ukrainian community of being Nazi sympathizers to shut them up.

Last week was the fourth annual National Holodomor Awareness Week, when Ukrainians remember the mass starvation of their countrymen in the Thirties by Communists in Russia.

The UCC believes the genocidal polices of the Communists deserve equal attention to the genocidal policies of the Nazis in a "national museum" that's funded by all Canadians.

The Asper-led museum proponents believe otherwise, but, with their slanderous accusations of anti-semitism failing to scare off their challengers, they've made a few changes to their argument.

They used to argue that it was the Holocaust that sparked the human rights movement in the world. It was such a proven fact, they said, there was no need to debate it, Stu Murray notwithstanding.

But then scholars started coming forward to challenge their version of the truth. We wrote about one such comment:

He's not alone.

John Lukas is a well-respected American historian with more than 30 books to his credit, among them The Hitler of History (1997). In Chapter 6, The Jews: Tragedy and Mystery, he wrote:

"That the cruelties visited upon the Jews in Europe were due to Hitler was obvious enough both during and after the war, so that no special attention was directed to their causal and effective connection by profession or popular historians for a relatively long time. Of course, documentary materials became available only gradually after 1945 (though more rapidly than after any previous great war), but there was more to this. There seemed to be no general, or popular, interest in the Holocaust for many years---indeed, for about two decades. The very word "Holocaust" did not begin to appear in American (or English) usage until the late 1960s."

Instead of stimulating debate and discussion the way Stu Murray would have us believe the CMHR intends, the Asper-led museum proponents launched a vicious attack on anyone who dared to present facts contrary to the CMHR world view.

But there appears to be some softening of their position. Note this story on the CBC website about a film showing at the Rady Jewish Community Centre this month.

Winnipeg's Tarbut festival celebrates the gamut of Jewish culture
Posted by Alison Gillmor, CBC reviewer

The film "The Rescuers" makes a persuasive argument that because the Holocaust is so meticulously documented and studied, it can demonstrate how genocide operates.

-snip-

The film also addresses a question that keeps coming up in Winnipeg with the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Why a permanent Holocaust exhibition? The Rescuers makes a persuasive argument that because the Holocaust is so meticulously documented and studied, it can demonstrate how genocide operates.

The argument was echoed in a lecture delivered at the Fort Garry Hotel by Lionel Steiman, a Professor of History at the University of Manitoba and one of the signatories to a letter that accused Ukrainian critics of the CMHR of being anti-semites and Nazi sympathizers.

"There is a consensus among experts that the Holocaust is the most thoroughly documented and exhaustively studied mass atrocity in history."

If that was all of it, they would have a pretty good argument for highlighting the Jewish Holocaust--- in a gallery dedicated to the study of genocides throughout history.

But Steinman included a sinister twist.

"The problem is that to provide even a minimal understanding of how this vast process evolved would require far more time and space than CMHR could possibly give to it. It would have to convey at least some idea of the Christian roots of Jew hatred, and how it permeated European culture high and low; it would have to show that what we condemn as “antisemitism” was not a “prejudice” but the common sense of people everywhere, openly expressed at all levels of society everywhere."

"Antisemitism was a necessary cause of the Holocaust. CMHR’s initial plan for a Holocaust gallery didn’t mention antisemitism, and would have considered the persecution of Jews only in Germany— where only 5% of Jewish Holocaust victims came from. Fortunately gallery designers have moved beyond this, possibly in response to a critique from Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg’s foremost academic authority on the Holocaust. They have now re-framed their Holocaust presentation so as to provide necessary historical background, and ensure that the “lessons” they draw are related to actual particularities of Holocaust experience."

Apart from the unintentional comedy of referencing Catherine Chatterly, Winnipeg's self-appointed "foremost academic authority on the Holocaust", the professor reveals a disturbing shift in the museum's approach to the Holocaust.

He says they now intend to highlight the historic anti-semitism of Christianity as the root cause of the Holocaust.

So let's get this straight.

The taxpayer is paying for a museum that divides Canada's ethnic communities, opposes free speech, provides cover for Liberal attacks on the government, and now blames Christianity for the Holocaust.

Well Merry Christmas to you, too.

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