Friday, May 26, 2006

Say What?

Hyperbole and activists go hand in hand, and by doing so, they tend to diminish their cause.

Take for example Doreen Silversmith, member of the Feminist Organization for Women's Advancement, Rights and Dignity (FORWARD).

Ms Silversmith spoke to the press this week about the state of affairs in Caledonia, and about a UN report released Monday that cited several areas of concern with regard to Canada and discrimination.

Here are a couple of quotes from Ms Silversmith:
"It's all interconnected. You see the product of (neglect) in what's going on in Caledonia right now. Human rights are an illusion (in Canada).
We want to hold Canada up to its promises. The genocidal practices that the country is doing to our people must stop."
That's right -- genocidal. I know, I know -- some people like to use the term 'cultural genocide' to refer to the irradication of the language and heritage of a race group. The use of the word 'genocide' in this fashion has always irked me. Since the beginning of time, cultures have changed, grown and evolved -- sometimes due to invaders, sometimes simply as a natural progression. Historically, most invaders have to some extent, erased or irreversibly altered the culture of the native inhabitants of the conquered land. It is part of our global history --not just Canadian history, not just British/French history, not just Western history -- it has happened throughout the centuries in societies both east and west. Some conquering nations have long since fallen and some conquered nations are extinct. Only in the late 20th century did the expectation of compensation, reparation or restitution attach itself to historic injustices and iniquities.

But Ms Silversmith doesn't even use the modifier 'cultural' in reference to the 'genocide' that she says is being perpetrated against her people by Canada. The implication is more cynical when considering the continuing reality of genocide worldwide.

Whatever Ms Silversmith's grievances are, her attitude does nothing to advance her cause, and in fact tends to alienate people like me who might otherwise be willing to listen.