Death by Civilization

One thing about the Nazis is that they were excellent record-keepers. It’s because of this that six million Jewish families knew who among them had perished, who had been gassed vs. being shot, who died at Auschwitz vs. Treblinka.

They didn’t find this out when World War II ended, because it took 60 years for those records to be opened to the public. The German government kept a lid on these 50 million pages of information out of, and I am being serious here, privacy concerns for the victims.

We now have a comparable situation with the discovery of the bones of 215 residential school children in Kamloops, BC.  It’s not comparable in scale, nor in intent. The Jews (and gays and handicapped and other “undesirables”) were murdered. The Indigenous children died from craven indifference. But the essence is the same. As a result, both apologies and access to records are being demanded, and for now at least, carefully avoided.

One reason large institutions like hospitals, national governments and global religions don’t like to apologise for killing people, is that this admission opens them up to lawsuits which could cost them billions. I suspect this could be why Pope Francis did everything but apologize on the weekend for the Catholic Church’s role in the death of those children in Kamloops.

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