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Irving Hexham

Cultural genocide: opening Pandora’s box

Canada’s First Nations are, without a doubt, the victims of racism and a tragic history that needs to be addressed and corrected. Yet in addressing this very real issue Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, supported by the Chief Justice, Prime Minister, and opposition leaders, has opened Pandora’s box by its embrace of the concept of “cultural genocide.” Clearly, they have not thought through the implications. For example, on June 28, 1919, representatives of a defeated Germany signed what we now know as the Treaty of Versailles. This Treaty was endorsed by the Canadian Prime minister Sir Robert Borden (1854-1937) and the victorious Allies. Lord Keynes called it a “Carthaginian peace” and wrote a book warning that an unjust peace would lead to another war. General Jan Smuts was equally disturbed and correctly foresaw a grim future. Key conditions of the Treaty were based on the concept of political nationalism and the right of self-determination for ethnic groups. As a result Germany was forced to give up 25,000 square miles of territory, halving its land area. This left 7 million Germans living under Czech, French, and Polish rule. Following the Peace Treaty, the governments of these newly created territories began to expel and/or force the assimilation of Germans into their own cultures through the use of French, Czech, and Polish. Nineteen years later Adolf Hitler marched into Czechoslovakia to “liberate” areas with large ethnic German populations that claimed they were the victims of what today we call “cultural genocide.” A year later he repeated the move by invading Poland for the same reason. This time the Russians joined in to seize half of Poland on the pretext that the Russian population of Eastern Poland were being forced to deny their language and culture to become Poles. So the Second World War… Read More