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June 11th, 2008

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09:17 pm - Class, Government apology, NDP BBQ, Amnesty International...just another day.
I've had a very...interesting day to say the least.  This afternoon in the House of Commons up in the Parliament, the Canadian Government with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the helm officially apologized to the aboriginal community in Canada for the existence of something called Residential Schools.  So basically, back then, these "schools" would take aboriginal children away from their families, convert them to Christianity, and receive "proper" education, many of these children suffered sexual assults at these schools, physical beatings and many never found their families ever again.  So today, finally, after decades, the Canadian government apologized.

So, after my class this afternoon, I headed up to Parliament Hill and it had been planned that there was suppose to be a BBQ for NDP (New Democrat Party) Members of Parliament (MP), their staff and interns.  Since I was volunteering in an MP's office, I was invited along.  At this BBQ, some of us volunteers were chatting about certain political issues (yes, we're PoliSci nerds, sue us) and I got the opportunity to pull the MP whom I volunteer for aside for a little chat regarding certain issues that had been occuring over China recently (she's usually super busy and rarely do I catch her not on her way somewhere).  She then introduced me to my MP for my area, coincidentally he's the critic in charge of Foreign Affairs and we had a nice 20 or so minute talk over China and some of the misunderstandings and miscommunications related to China.

It was a great talk, and I put on the table some ideas I had been playing around with recently in my head and he (my MP) was very encouraging about it.  After the BBQ, I decided to walk home, I mean my spirits were high, the weather was nice, why not right?  As I strolled down the street, I passed by Amnesty Internaitonal's national office...and hanging on the building, on the front patio, was 8 large banners, written in Chinese with English translations 4 things that shouldn't have infuriated me but given recent events made me literally stop on the sidewalk, stare for 2 minutes without moving, feel the tears of frustration gathering behind my eyes and wanted for the first time to just bawl my eyes out right there on the street.  The plan is to head back tomorrow with my camera and yes, I will be taking photos of those banners, and posting them here.  When Amnesty International meets China, it's never a good meeting.

It's very interesting, the banners were regarding human rights (kind of obvious given Amnesty's a human rights organization) and I'm sure they feel like what the banners are saying would be 100% supported by all Chinese citizens, but instead the moment I laid my eyes on them I went into defensive mode and I just wanted to scream at the building that there's a bazillion things about China that they just don't understand so how dare they try and speak for the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens whilst riding in on their human rights high horse.  It was so infuriating.

Sometimes these days I don't know what to feel anymore.  Look forward to my photos tomorrow.
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(7 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 12th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Bah, LJ is being super dumb. Anyway, this is kind of random, but I just wanna say that I am so glad to see other people posting about politics on my f-list. Recently, I started volunteering for the Democratic National Committee. =)
[User Picture]
Date:June 14th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
:) I would post more but I think it bores most of the people on my f-list. Politics, as important as it is due to the influence it has on our everyday lives, doesn't exactly spark cheers amongst most.
Date:June 12th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
That's quite an interesting coincidence because only a couple of months ago our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd apologised to Australia's aboriginals for a similar thing- something that over here is called the 'stolen generation', which was all part of a type of planned genocide. Sadly it went on until the sixties *angry*
[User Picture]
Date:June 14th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Kill 'em all first, leave a few descendents, then apologize a few decades after to sleep on a clear conscience, it's a great plan for stealing land isn't it?
[User Picture]
Date:June 13th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
awww hug. when are we meeting up? will it be this weekend? gambatte avec ton examen!
[User Picture]
Date:June 13th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Hey, just wanted to let you know I added you to LJ.

I had the chance to learn a bit about residential schools because one of my professors last semester had been in one.

I guess that is the photo you showed me yesterday.

[User Picture]
Date:June 14th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for adding me, I've added you too :) As for the photos, yeah, I just posted them up on a new post today, wonder how long Amnesty plans to keep those banners up.

I saw some photos of the residential schools, they looked so awful, although I guess admittedly buildings back then weren't quite the same as what we're used to today, but still. I wonder what Canada, the USA and Australia would be like today if the Europeans hadn't settled here, would the Aboriginals have eventually developed these lands into their own countries? Would the map of North America follow the borders of the aboriginal tribes? It's really interesting how different the world could be if even one event in history had happened differently.

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