Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Press editorial way off base

For those of you who had the pleasure of reading the Winnipeg Free Press today, there was another editorial about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  I'm fully aware that the Free Press has been one of the CMHR biggest cheerleader, but this editorial is way over the top.  Despite a recent Free Press poll showing that the vast majority  (75%) of Winnipeggers want the museum to be impartial, and include one exhibit which includes all genocides on an equal footing, the editorial goes to great lengths to state the Jewish Holocaust was "unique" and should be the main focus of the museum.

The editorial has to be one of the most condescending articles I have read in quite some time.  It not only attacks the Ukrainian community of Winnipeg, but dismisses the poll stating that "It was one question in a series of unrelated queries that could have asked about favorite breakfast cereals, pizza preferences, and travel plans."  What is even more perplexing is it concludes by saying Why does the Holocaust get a place in the front seat?  Only the uninformed ask questions like that."  

I have no issues with the Holocaust being included in the CMHR.  The persecution of the Jews in World War II was one of the great human tragedies of all time.  However, how does that make it more important than say..the Rwandan, Bosnian, Armenian, and Cambodian genocides just to name a few off the top of my head.  This is Canada, and no ethnic group should have a monopoly on human suffering.  It's a shame that the Winnipeg Free Press editorial division does not share this view.


  1. Good points.

    Of course the Holocaust has a place in the museum but to decide on that one topic as a permanent display while others are relegated to a temporary status is a little disappointing. (depending on funding it could take decades to get onto making displays about 'smaller' events).

    There are a number of excellent Holocaust museums and education centres in existence, including one in Toronto. The idea for a "HR" museum, and this was part of the pitch in fund raising, was for something very different and global in nature.

    I know that one permanent display does not mean that's all the museum is going to be about but it does set a tone.

  2. Good point.

    I could be wrong, but is there not some kind of theatre/museum dealing with the Holocaust at the Asper Jewish Community centre in Tuxedo?

    Having said that, I belive the holocaust has a very important place in the CMHR. However, I believe it should be on equal footing with other human tragedies, regardless of ethnic makeup.