Canada determined to support remembrance
of war crimes and genocide through TFICHERR
ESTONIAN CENTRAL COUNCIL IN CANADA - LL
The acronym stands for the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. Canada has taken eight years to decide to gain an affiliation with the organization – since Irwin Cotler M.P. attended a holocaust conference in Stockholm in 2000.
Jason Kenney, Canada’s Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, participating at a June 2007 task force summit in Prague, obtained observer status for Canada. It is expected Canada will accede to full membership soon. Amongst the other 25 member states are the Czech Republic, France, United States, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom. Canada should be among these countries that respect and support the search for justice.
Membership requires countries to be committed to the implementation of national policies and programs in support of Holocaust education, remembrance and research, and agree on the importance of encouraging all archives on the Holocaust to be more widely accessible.
Concurrently, Jason Kenney is heading up a group, focussing on crimes of communism with the aim of installing a public memorial in Ottawa commemorating its victims. Helping this initiative get established are, amongst others from various ethnic backgrounds, Reet Marten Sehr and Markus Hess. The Estonian Central Council Canada will assume an active role in supporting the effort.
While the establishment of a memorial is commendable in giving official government recognition to the crimes of communism, Canada can and needs to go further. There are significant similarities between the enormity of Nazi and Communist transgressions, in terms of their horrific and monstrous nature, and regimes’ crimes against humanity.
Without denying the Holocaust, without detracting from the vicious means by which Jews were victimized by the Nazis, one can claim that Communism and Nazism offer a common legacy, at least in terms of the genocide the regimes perpetrated. A candid and thorough debate about totalitarian crimes of the last century cannot be accused of revisionism.
One must note Moscow’s protest after Lithuania recently outlawed the public display of Nazi and Communist symbols. Making the two ideologies parallel evils is taboo, at least in Russia’s eyes. Russia has claimed to be the successor state to the Soviet Union, yet has failed to acknowledge its predecessor’s crimes against humanity.
The Estonian Central Council in Canada urges Canada to participate in informing the public of Communist crimes against humanity. Canada should play a substantial role in educating the public about Communism to the same extent that Nazism has been.
Canada should recognize that millions of victims of Communism and their families are entitled to recognition for their anguish in the same way as the victims of Nazism have been politically and morally acknowledged.
Communist war crimes investigators take note: (4)