Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Word Unfitly Spoken

David Ahenakew, O.C. (revoked), has learned nothing and forgotten nothing, as demonstrated by his post-conviction tirade:

I have learned that native people will never get good, solid justice in this country. My case was as much about racism against First Nations as it was about alleged racism against Jewish people."

Lashing out at the courts, Ahenakew said: "First Nations people have never received a fair trial in Canada's judicial system since the first so-called white settlers arrived here more than 400 years ago.

"The jails in this country are full of our people. We are more likely to be victims of crime, more likely to be convicted, less likely to receive either lenient sentences or parole.

"Our ways of life have been nearly eradicated, our languages have been taken away, and we've suffered under deliberate genocidal policies designed to rid the world of us."

Visibly angry, Ahenakew continued his tirade, in a voice quavering with emotion.

"Our children have been brutalized and raped at the hands of foreigners. Our people have been murdered by law enforcement agencies set up to protect us and infected with diseases by the people who saw this as a way to gain our lands," he said

Ahenakew's troubles began at a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference Dec. 13, 2002, where the former chief and founding member of the FSIN senate told conference delegates that Jews created the Second World War.

He later told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix the Holocaust was warranted because Jews "damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's why he (Hitler) fried six million of those guys, you know. How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over everything?"

The legislation under which he was convicted, however well-intentioned its drafters might have been, is no less repugnant than the incitement of racial hatred it was intended to combat.It is reminiscent of the "political crimes" totalitarian regimes use to punish anyone who speaks even slightly ill of them.It allows Ahenakew to claim a martyrdom in the cause of the Indian peoples and free speech that he does not merit.

Ahenakew's credibility has been irreparably damaged as a result of his comments. He will never enjoy the trust and respect as a defender of just treatment for his people that he spent decades building up. He will lose the Order of Canada bestowed upon for his good works.

The loss of his good name is far more fitting a punishment than a $1,000 fine. The financial loss can be made good, the criminal record pardoned, but his reputation can never be rebuilt.

Source: Regina Leader-Post

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