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When will we ever learn?

Hi folks … here is another of my columns recently censored by Mr Putin… the only possible reason I can come up with is this could be taken as criticizing his position re gays

In my advancing years I don’t get as angry as I once did, Perhaps that’s because I’ve seen so much go around and come around. I’ve come to feel, after looking back at my life’s experiences, that perhaps big powers would do well to mind their own business when it gets to the internal affairs of others. Maybe a good dose of international shyness would not be a bad idea.

I am, however, spitting mad at my own country especially the Province of Quebec. And I’m pissed off at France.

Let me go back a few years to set the stage my anger rests upon.

The Canadian Legion is an organization for veterans of the armed forces, Because of the passage of time it takes in new members who have not heard a shot fired in anger.

November 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada and is a very big day for veterans who crowd the Legions, salute fallen comrades and drink a beer or two … or maybe a bit more.

British Columbia, where I was born and live, has a very large Sikh population. About 15 years ago, a couple of Legions banned Sikh’s from entering their premises on Remembrance Day on the feeble excuse that by wearing turbans they were dishonouring The Queen by wearing a “headress”. This was only barely and flimsily disguised racial prejudice and everyone knew it.

It happened that Wendy and I were in London that year for their Remembrance Sunday and we stood near the Cenotaph on Whitehall as the soldiers, sailors and airmen marched by.

Then it happened. An Indian regiment that had distinguished itself in the Second World War marched past the Queen, fully turbaned. They were led by a large Sikh with his turban swinging his baton in his left arm.

He had no right arm, you see.

And I wondered what he would have been told if he had been able to walk into a BC Legion for a drink.

France, mother of their great revolution under the banner Liberté, égalité, fraternité now  deems women wearing veils or even scarves as criminals. And for what purpose? Has there been a rash of veiled female bank robberies? A right to see another’s face is claimed. When did that happen?

Al Qaeda and revolutionary Muslim’s wives wear veils and scarves – does this mean that French Muslims are dangerous criminals per se and thus must show their faces at all times?

I well remember when France, facing revolution in Algeria, fought off efforts by other countries to interfere by saying that Algeria was not a colony but part of Metropolitan France and thus its citizens were all French citizens. There was no mention then of facial coverage for females and turban style headdress for Arab nomads. Could a man wear veil? What about the hirsute, like me, who wear a beard? Are we next?

France is hoist on its own petard – they declared these people to be French citizens and now outlaw what they wear.

But I don’t have to go to France to see this gross breach of civil rights.

I’ve told you about our Legions so now lets back up half a year and see that a young people’s soccer league in Quebec banned youngsters who wore turbans! It was declared to be a “safety issue”. What the hell sort of nonsense is this? What safety issue? This load of barnyard droppings is prejudice, plain and simple. Not only is it prejudice, it betrays a sickness that the Quebec National Assembly ought to deal with. But Premier Pauline Marois is rubbing it in with a proposed Provincial (they call it “national” Charter. The proposed “Charter of Quebec values” will not be tabled for a couple more weeks, but a leaked draft suggests that workers in the public sector would face restrictions on wearing religious garb like crosses, kippas, turbans and hijabs.

The majority of Quebeckers are at least titular Christians – will they be barred from wearing crucifixes?  What about nurses in public hospitals? Will they undergo a bit of a strip tease to see what they have around their necks?

But let’s go back a bit. Why do we have laws?

It is, of course, at least in part, to deal with societal problems. But, as the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What is the evil here to be cured? Are Quebeckers afraid that their children would somehow not to be able to understand what a veil or facial scarf means? Is there great concern in the population that women in veils and men with turbans are about to murder them in their sleep?

I’ve heard it said “I want to be able to look at the face of a person I’m speaking to”. So, don’t speak to women with veils.

Will a man or woman who opens their shirt or blouse and shows off a crucifix be arraigned before the judge as acting like a dirty old man in the park?

It’s amazing to think that if a woman walked down the Champs Elysee bare breasted  or if something similar happened In Montreal, in all likelihood the law would laugh. A woman wearing a burka! Why that’s a different world! Off to the hoosegow!

Let’s be honest here. Quebec, British Columbia and France aren’t the slightest bit interested in whether wearing religious objects offends the civil rights of its citizens. It’s strictly a matter of politics. While there are no Hitlers here, he showed that playing the “minority issue” would push the right political buttons.

When I was a boy during World War II, I believed the Four Freedoms of Roosevelt and Churchill. We were going to treat everyone the same. This message was hammered into us. It was my generation, which in the 50s spawned the Civil Rights of he 60s.

Here it is 50 years since Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. And we’re outlawing clothes and religious symbols.

Ethnicity and prejudice are evidently inextinguishable.

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