February 26, 2005

Other: White Trash, Old and New

As far as I'm concerned, there was news good and atrocious that came to my attention today. Let's start with the cheerful stuff.

Ernst Zundel was finally ruled "deportable" today. For those who don't know him, count your blessings. He's your standard issue Holocaust denier, author of such gems as Did Six Million Really Die? and The Hitler We Loved and Why. He held regular meetings with neo nazis and other white supremacist groups and quite happily promoted hatred around the world, but these weren't reason enough to have him deported back to Germany (who aren't particularly happy to take him). So what was?

Here's where the issue is clouded. He was held on one of the new security certificates that have allowed Canada to arrest and detain people without charge. This is the same thing that was used to arrest Maher Arar and, currently, at least five others. They are suspected of being supporters of terrorism, part of sleeper cells planted here up to fifteen years ago. So why is the Arar arrest causing more commotion among human rights groups than Zundels?

Part of it, of course, is that Zundel is Old White Trash. This doesn't mean he was poor and caucasian specifically: he had money. What makes him Old White Trash is that he has little but hate in his head for those he believes are not like him. I say believes for a good reason: White Trash believe, rather than think. As such, it's very hard to have any sympathy (or empathy) for the guy. But again, being an asshole is hardly something to be extradited over. Sympathy will get people to fight for you, but a lack of it won't get you arrested.

Another part is that he never actually became a Canadian citizen. That makes the process so much easier, and it is something that Arar actually has. Sending a German back to Germany is easier to understand than sending a Canadian citizen to Syria.

The last part is a big bone of contention regarding the concept of security certificates: secret information. The Canadian government can reveal information to the presiding judge in secret sessions under the pretext of national security, ie. to reveal it to the courtroom at large would no longer make it secret. Duh. Apparently, what was revealed was links to hate groups trying to "destabilize" the government in Germany. This, needless to say, has the Germans attention.

Goodbye, Ernst. And good riddance.

Next comes the New White Trash. Actually, they're quite old; but exposure to them is fairly recent in North America. It's this guy, and those like him: Rajinder Singh Atwal.

What, you thought White Trash could only be white? Oh, my word, no.

The trial has been going for a few days now, and what happened was this: Rajinders daughter, Amandeep, had been seeing a guy by the name of Todd McIssac for a three years (since she was 14). An accident they were in together brought the relationship to the attention of her father. He was not pleased So, having apparently not read Romeo and Juliet, he forbade her from seeing him. She left a note saying she was running off to be with her 19 year old boyfriend in Prince George: her mother found, tracked her down, and the family talked that night, the father finally acquiescing to his daughter.

Lovely story; but don't forget that the play's a tragedy.

A few days later, the family was going to Vancouver and picked up Amandeep on the way. She was delivered, by her father, to a Langley hospital with multiple knife wounds. He told the staff that he "got out of the car for a break [from driving]" and when he returned, she had stabbed herself.

The pathologist told the court that none of the four (count them) fatal wounds were self-inflicted, and there were several wounds on her arms and legs. Case-perfect defensive wounds.

The hatred that qualifies this guy as Trash isn't race, specifically: his son dated a white girl, after all. No, here it's the hatred of someone trying to live outside what he felt was their prescribed role. It's a hatred of women not being free to choose their own life, and it's not like this hasn't happened before.


posted by Thursday at 3:41 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Ernst Zundel, I think he's an idiot, but should we as Canadians really have seen our tax money used to prosecute him? Seems like it only gave him the attention he craved. And perhaps it got more credulous people wondering if the government got so upset at what he was saying (i.e. Holocaust denial), maybe his words had something to them the government didn't want us to know. No, I'm not crying over his departure, but I think overall it was a whole waste of money.

Emily at ehelgersen@yahoo.ca

2:45 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

It's always a risk to give someone like this a forum, but he was already fairly well known when the government started its prosecution. So the question becomes, which is better: prosecutiong him and increasing his visibility, of ignoring him and being accused of harbouring a notorious Holocaust denier?

A bit of a Catch-22.

2:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Emily again. Another reason (which I know might get me in hot water) not to prosecute Zundel: as Voltaire said, I may hate what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it.

5:14 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

It comes down to: is a "hate crime" a crime in the previously understood sense? That's certainly a point that has been debated before, and should be regularly examined. Is inducement to hatred enough to warrant someone a danger to society?

All I can say is that some days I'm a little more forgiving than others, but I've also never been the focus of hatred, while friends of mine have. It's always been easier for me to forgive violence against myself than against others.

9:28 pm  

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