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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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

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another of Gail Asper's Human Rights Museum lies exposed





The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is in the market for a new lie to replace the old lie they were using to justify a stand-alone gallery on the Holocaust and their potpourri approach to other genocides.


You remember how Gail Asper and her champions were going around lecturing everybody how the study of the Holocaust and of human rights in the modern world are synonymous, with one leading directly to the other, and without one there wouldn't be the other?


Here's how Gail Asper summarized the argument in Maclean's magazine:


In conversation: Gail Asper
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Q: The Ukrainian-Canadian Civil Liberties Association has charged that one horror—the Holocaust—is being “elevated” above all others at the museum. What’s your response?


A: ... All the experts agree that no human rights museum could ever be established without a full examination of the Holocaust. It was fundamental to our notion of human rights today, the catalyst for the world coming together to say “never again,” precipitating the anti-genocide conventions and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

Well....not so fast.  It seems there's a phrase among scholars for Gail Asper's declaration -- a crock.

Once Asper's deathgrip on all things CMHR was broken (about the time her other big lie was exposed, the one about how taxpayers would never be asked to cover the runaway costs of construction), independent experts were hired to produce the exhibits for the museum.  And lo and  behold, guess what they concluded?

The answer comes from the horse's mouth in an interview with Dr. Clint Curle, the museum's "head of stakeholder relations", in the most recent edition of the Winnipeg Jewish Review. 

We quote:

Dr. Curle: The organizational framework for the museum has evolved over time. One of our challenges has been to conceptually locate the Holocaust and the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the Museum. The historical proximity of these two events suggested an inspiring relationship between violation and response. As content development moved forward, the Museum, with the input of experts in this area, realized that this relationship oversimplified both the history of the Holocaust and the history of the Universal Declaration, and exaggerated the actual historical connections between the two. In its present conceptual articulation the Museum has de-linked a direct causal relationship between the Holocaust and the Universal Declaration."

Translation: Experts hired by the museum say that claims that the Holocaust was the cause of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights are exaggerated and unsupported, so the CMHR has eliminated any allegation that one was the cause of the other.  Well, how about that.

We told you this very fact two years ago when Gail Asper was going around telling Canada's Ukrainian community to shut up:
http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2011/04/shut-their-mouths-first-legacy-of.html

Added Curle:
"Taking the Holocaust on its own terms in this way speaks powerfully to broader human rights concerns regarding the power of the modern state, the vulnerabilities of civil society to become an instrument of oppression, and the controversial relationship between war and human rights protection, but does not instrumentalize the Holocaust to tell a creation myth about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." 

A creation myth? You don't say. 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was always supposed to have "a gallery devoted to the subject of the Holocaust." said Curle. The question facing content developers was how to fit the Holocaust gallery into the framework of the museum which was not on commemorating genocides.

So they decided that if they were going to teach about human rights they had to start somewhere ("the Holocaust as an entry point") and that somewhere may just as well be the Holocaust (" a mainstream pedagogical approach to human rights education").

They had to have a reason to start there, though, so they decided that since Germany was a developed, civilized, constitutional democracy and Canada is a developed, civilized constitutional democracy--- without the Nazis--- then maybe they could say, to paraphrase George Orwell, that all genocides are equal, but the Holocaust is more equal.

"However, we want our visitors to think about how such features of modern nation-states were mobilized in Nazi Germany’s genocide against European Jewry and attacks against other groups. Because of these structural affinities, the Holocaust holds special relevance for countries like Canada."

It seems the other mass murders of ethnic groups hold no lessons for modern society, because they're not getting the same treatment.
While the Holocaust gallery will contain "(p)ersonal testimonies and associated artifacts and images (that) make the themes accessible for visitors", the five genocides recognized by Parliament will be touched on in a gallery called Breaking the Silence.

The focus of Breaking the Silence, said Curle, is "on how people have used the rights available to them in Canada in order to speak out and raise about gross human rights abuses."

"The plans for the Holocaust gallery have not changed in response to criticisms questioning the inclusion of a devoted Holocaust gallery in the CMHR," sniffed Curle. 

He dismissed complaints by the rest of Canada's ethnic groups that the Holocaust is getting preferred treatment at the CMHR.

"The CMHR has endeavored to have constructive dialogue with many of the parties involved and continues to do so." he brayed.

Someone not even getting "constructive dialogue" are the Palestinians.  Asked how the CMHR planned to handle the Arab-Israeli situation, the director of stakeholder relations was brusque.

"Plans are still in development." he said.

Yep. Twelve years of planning and the best they can say about how how Israel impacts the human rights of Palestinians is "plans are still in development."  The market for lies just got bigger.

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