Soon, somewhere on the streets of Ottawa, our nation’s capital, a monument to ignorance will be erected.
The Stephen Harper Government has put up a website advertising its new Memorial to Victims of Communism.
A memorial to victims of communism is a wrong-headed memorial from the start. It is really a monument to propaganda.
Whether one subscribes to communism or not, it is merely an idea about a way to live. And at its heart, it is not an egregious idea. The failure of communism is not due to any evil embedded in the idea itself, but rather it is due to human beings’ inability to sustain its laudable humanistic goals. Any intellectual knows this to be true.
If ideas could kill, we should be building memorials to mercantilism or to Christianity, which have most certainly been used as justifications for violence. In fact, wasn’t it supporters of Christianity who brought such horror on Canada’s indigenous people through the creation of colonialist policy and the creation of residential schools?
Yet as we all know, it would be absurd to create a memorial to victims of Christianity: absurd, and offensive to the good people who worship a Christian god.
Aside from the fact that Harper’s memorial will cost us many millions of dollars, it is sure to stand as a means to galvanize people in a spirit of ignorance – the very ignorance that supplies the rationale for atrocities against other people. It will become a rallying point for a crusade against a political ideology, leading us to wander mindlessly into conflict with good people who dare to imagine a world differently than we do.
And in the light of the the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recent revelations of the atrocities Canada has inflicted on her own First Peoples, are we not obligated create a memorial to victims of residential schools? Such a memorial will serve as a reminder for generations to come of the horror we ourselves are capable once we lose our moral compass and forget the humanity of others.
It will be a sober reminder of the need for us to regard our fellow human beings with love and respect in a spirit of decency and cooperation.This is the memorial that Canada needs, and one that has been recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.