Old smear tactics still being used
OHSWEKEN - In June, I received a copy of an article written by Ross Maracle of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. He has a television ministry and was preparing to preach about Oka and the Mohawks. He was also planning a weekend of meetings at Oka in an attempt to bring about a reconciliation of the troubled factions there.
One of the things he mentioned was that he once quoted the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In its annual report, it referred to the Canadian treatment of the aboriginal people as a national tragedy. After quoting that report, he was promptly told by a so-called friend that the CHRC was comprised of a bunch of communists. The person was wrong, of course. Mr. Maracle later found out that one of the commissioners is Randy Brant, a fellow clergyman.
This is a common trick used by people who do not like to hear certain facts. They take attention away from the message by trying to smear the messenger. In the near past, one of the ways to try to discredit someone was to call them a communist. For a while after the Second World War, it seemed that there was a communist behind every bush.
There are still some people, usually someone who hasn't read a newspaper for a year or two, who will solemnly tell you that the switch to the metric system is a communist plot. Of course, it's no plot at all but a worldwide switch to the metric system would be great for capitalists. Capitalists who could make tools, parts, vehicles, etc., for the metric market in Europe and also for U.S. and Canada would greatly benefit. Capitalists, not communists, would benefit.
Wrongly branding a person a communist is still widely used in Central and South America. It is widely used against anyone who pleads for human rights for the poor. Many aboriginal people who want only simple justice are branded as communists by the the dictatorial right-wing governments. If they try to resist the predatory takeover of their lands by millionaire landowners, they are called communists. If they try to recover their land which was taken over by rich landowners during the recent unrest in such places as Honduras, Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador, they are called communists. Once they are called communists, they can be tortured and shot or put to work for slave wages and no one worries.
I think it is time that we let the leaders of these right-wing countries, and also the wealthy multinational corporations that secretly keep these governments in place, know that it is no longer acceptable to act this way. The time is past when we should all drop everything and run as soon as we hear the word communist. I think Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Yeltsin in Russia have shown us that much.
Maybe now we can see the person behind the label and treat that person like a person, not an animal. Especially since we know the label may be wrong.
Our Town is an Expositor feature which provides a forum for news and views from some of the smaller centres in the region. George Beaver, a former teacher and principal, is a freelance writer who lives on the Six Nations reserve.