Tue | Jun 15, 2021

A history mired in murder and mayhem

Published:Monday | June 7, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Canadian politicians at all levels have eloquently expressed horror and shock at the discovery of 215 bodies in unmarked graves surrounding a former Indian residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Everybody is saying how surprised they were to hear the sickening news. Let’s be very truthful, and state honestly and bluntly that politicians should not be surprised, nor should anyone else living in Canada. For many years, indigenous people have been telling heart-rending survivor stories about those horrible institutions to anyone willing to listen. Those stories often included details of siblings and schoolmates who simply disappeared. Sadly, not too many Canadians were willing to listen, and now they are expressing surprise.

A recent well-documented case in County Galway, Ireland, had 800 corpses of babies found in the septic tank of a former St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home, but human bones were found by two young boys playing at the site in 1975. When they reported the findings to their parents, it was swept under the carpet by authorities, until an investigative reporter with the tenacity of a pit bull got hold of it, and wouldn’t let go. She persisted for many years against the religious powers that be, until the septic tank was finally uncovered in 2017, 32 years later.

My wife and I sailed on deep-sea freighters and tankers for a combined total of over 40 years, and visited many ports in predominately-Catholic countries, like Latin America, for example. All those ports had one thing in common — grinding poverty brought about by the Roman Catholic Church’s contraception policies that produced far too many mouths to feed, resulting in multitudes of small waifs dressed in rags begging on the docks. It was more disturbing to look past these hungry little beggars, to invariably see a huge ornate cathedral on the hillside outside the port. These poor little creatures didn’t know that being born into such abject poverty may result in a life of crime, just to survive in so many cases.

Our Canadian government recently announced plans to develop a robotic roving vehicle for a moon landing in five years. That money can be better spent by governments immediately organising search of all 139 former Indian residential schools across Canada and, hopefully, similar institutions in Latin America and beyond. We all need to adopt the pit-bull mentality of the aforementioned Irish reporter, as politicians are renowned for breaking promises while the Church of Rome’s often sordid and fractured history really reads like a horror story, and is mired in two millennia of murder and mayhem.

BERNIE SMITH

Parksville, BC

Canada