A while back, Quebec opposition parties, led by the Iranian born Muslim separatist member of Quebec Parliament, Amir Khadir, demanded that the National Assembly table a motion condemning Israel for the attack on the Gaza bound flotilla which aimed to bust the Israeli embargo. As we all know, up to a dozen resisters were killed when they clashed with Israeli commandos who boarded their ship.
Now I'm not getting into a debate on the merits of the Israeli raid, but it seems to me that if Mr. Khadir is to condemn Israel, he should be an equal opportunity censurer. I don't recall Mr. Khadir demanding that North Korea be cited for killing 46 sailors in a recently unprovoked attack on a South Korean Navy boat sailing in international waters and I haven't heard the good doctor call for an official condemnation of the government of his own native homeland of Iran, for the killing of dozens and dozens of protesters who were demonstrating peacefully against a rigged presidential election.
Me wonders why?
Enough.. The Israeli attack is not the gist of this post, it is about the high and mighty attitude we take and the perception that we Quebeckers are somehow better than the 'barbaric' Israelis. This piece is not about Israel, it's about us.
Such things could never happen in Quebec, right?
We're too civilized, right?
We're too conciliatory and would never resort to violence, right?
I came across a video that is quite interesting which I'd like to share with you, but first some background.
Back in the summer of 1990 Mohawk Indians on a reservation in Oka near the town of St. Eustache got into a dispute over a land claim over an unoccupied tract of land of just nine acres, that the city was about to turn into a golf course.
As disputes go, I think you'll agree that it can't hold a candle to the disagreement between Palestinians and Israelis.
The Mohawks set up a roadblock blocking a crummy dirt construction road, that gave access to the site and a confrontation ensued when the arrogant mayor of the hick town of Oka asked the police to intervene.
Now the Indians weren't launching homemade missiles or sending suicide bombers into the local Tim Horton's. They simply barricaded a road. Those living near the reservation didn't have to build a safe room in the basements or walk in fear in the streets that death would rain down upon them from the sky.
But the confrontation escalated into a major fight with positions hardening on both sides. The police tried to storm the barricade and in the ensuing melee, an officer of the Surete de Quebec was killed.
The army was called in and the situation degenerated.
Sounds like a rather stupid fight over an empty field, in hindsight, right?
The Israeli's would laugh. They'd tell us to give the Indians the empty land, it 's no big deal. Nobody is trying to take over your country. Nobody is trying to kill you. One half of a lousy golf course is all it takes to defuse a situation that has already cost one life and is costing the country millions of dollars.
But no, for we Quebeckers, it was the principle of the thing and the sentiment of the day was not to give an inch.
As the debate grew nasty, the federal MP for Chateauguay observed that all the natives in Quebec should be shipped off to Labrador "if they wanted their own country so much". Radio hot lines hosts, including renowned Anglo hater Gilles Proulx, were spewing racial invective and some were demanding that the authorities attack the Indians. (Mohawks speak English and are viewed by Francophones as 'English' Indians.) Hatred spewed forth in forms unseen in living memory.
And so it seems that in the
If a road closure got us so steamed up I can only imagine what would be if a suicide bomber walked into Place St. Eustache and detonated a bomb killing ten to twenty people. What if rockets landed in the middle of a residential neighbourhood in Chateauguay on an ongoing basis? What if the Indians threatened more and more deadly attacks and what if they demanded that we give back all the land which they claim, was theirs to begin with.
Do you think we might ask the army to blockade the reserves and make sure no weapons got in? Do you think we might ask the police to patrol the river and stop and inspect all boats headed into the reservations? Maybe we'd launch our very own version of 'CAST LEAD"
But let's not daydream.
The natives didn't do any of that. All they wanted was their nine acres back and so - back to the story.
Mohawks of the Kahnawake, reservation on Montreal's south shore blocked the Mercier bridge in solidarity with Kanesatake, pissing off residents of Chateauguay.
Now things were getting serious. The bridge is a major link between the island of Montreal and the South shore, including the large community of Chateauguay. The closure meant an hour or two of extra commuting and in the summer heat, emotions exploded.
At the blocked bridge crowds spewed racial hatred at the natives and radio commentators urged military action. The crowd wanted blood and the atmosphere rivalled the bloodlust of the legendary Roman Coliseum.
When the bridge blockade was finally ended the natives made their way down from the bridge through the old Whiskey Trench, a stretch of sunken road so-named for the old Seagrams plant that sat alongside. As the natives made their way through, the locals attacked from above, not only with racial epitaphs but with rocks as well.
Watch the video;
And so Mr. Khadir wants to censure the Israelis.
My question is this, who's going to censure us?
It seems that the Israelis are capable of a lot more restraint than us. I know they wouldn't go to war over an empty lot.
How does the old saying go?
Let he without sin cast the.........