Heroes among us
To the Cheakamus-bound bus driver on Saturday at 11 p.m. — thank you for both entertaining me on what is usually a dull bus trip home, and showing compassion to a fellow seasonal worker who had a few too many beverages in the village.
Here's what I saw: It's minus 18C outside. A drunken guy (let's call him Freddie) walks onto the bus with no jacket on and no bus ticket.
He shakes both his hands at the bus driver sticking his pinkies and thumbs out like any good surfer.
Bus driver (let's call him Bob) excuses his lack of ticket "just this once!"
Freddie scans the bus for a seat, of which there are many, and takes a comfortable seat on the floor in the middle of the bus.
Bob takes the opportunity at one of the bus stops to walk over to Freddie to find out where he is trying to go.
Bob realizes Freddie should have got onto the northbound bus in the village and tells him he will get him onto the right bus.
The bus stops at the next bus stop and Freddie bolts out the door.
Bob bolts out the door and brings a stumbling Freddie back with him.
A few stops on, Bob walks Freddie to the bus stop and tells him to wait four minutes for the next bus and gives him a transfer card for the ride.
Bob calls the oncoming bus driver telling him to look out for him and make sure he gets home safe.
Bus-driver Bob (or whoever you are), thank you for going above and beyond for drunken Freddie. You're a hero!
Mandela means reconciliation
One of the greatest statesmen of our time has passed away — Nelson Mandela, a victor over apartheid and the recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. If there is one word to define him, it is reconciliation.
We should take the lead from him. That is why I am calling on our RMOW council, which publicly expresses support for many worthy causes, to join world governments, Canadian parliamentarians, politicians and people of all kinds of persuasions to pay tribute and celebrate Mandela's life.
And what better way for our council to do this then to publicly declare support for our own Canadian Reconciliation, namely the First Nations Reconciliation and Truth Commission movement, which has been dealing with crimes committed by the Canadian state and Canadian churches against native youths and native culture in residential schools.
Two months ago, I participated in the walk for reconciliation in Vancouver with thousands of people of all races. The daughter of Martin Luther King, Bernice King, gave a passionate speech urging peaceful efforts in what she said might be a very prolonged and difficult struggle for First Nations to achieve their rights.
But what hit me like a bolt from the sky was when she said in an interview that this was going on till mid 1990s. The last residential school was closed in 1996. I always thought these crimes were happening in 1950s and 60s, before my arrival to Canada.
I realize that the fact that I did not know these crimes were happening when I have been living here does not absolve me from being also guilty of these crimes. After the WWII the German people were collectively painted with guilt for Nazi crimes. "I did not know" was not an excuse they were allowed to use.
We are all collectively guilty due to our ignorance of supporting cultural genocide. I join prominent Canadians who said they were ashamed to be Canadians and that this has enormously damaged the stature of Canada in the world.
I was just recently in Europe and I was talking with people about this. Interestingly, nobody knew about Rob Ford — well, there is always too much manure coming from N. America — but they all knew what was done to aboriginals in Canada. Their comments were interesting. They said that Canada was actually not so bad, Australia performed sterilization of their aboriginal community.
But, if Mandela could reconcile with his jailers by seating them in the first row at his inauguration, then maybe we could reconcile with First Nations not by retribution, but by making sure that they receive what is rightfully theirs.