Archive for September 17th, 2022

Starlight Tour

GC Myers- Starlight Tour

Starlight Tour, GC Myers

For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.

–Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being,  1984

In the aftermath of yesterday’s post on cruelty, I began to have concerns about how that staged political grandstanding could well be an omen of other more sinister events to come if we turn a blind eye to them and they are not confronted.

One of the things that came to mind were the freezing deaths that took place on the outskirts of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from the 1970’s up through the early 2000’s.

During that time, the police force of Saskatoon was known on a number of occasions to pick up indigenous Canadians from the First Nations tribes for minor offenses such as drunkenness or unruly behavior. Instead of merely arresting them or citing them, they would drive them out past the outskirts of the town and dump them, often without shoes or jackets and always in the sub-freezing temperatures of the harsh Canadian winter.

The detainees would freeze to death before they could make their way back into town or to help.

Well, almost always. One such victim made it two miles in -18° F temperatures before coming to a power station where he was helped by a night watchman there. He was able to shine a light on the practice and the two officers involved were charged with unlawful confinement and sentenced to eight months in prison.

For many years, the Saskatoon Police maintained that these were isolated and unrelated incidents. But in 2003, they admitted that their officers may have been participating in this ongoing dumping of members of the First Nations going back to 1976.

The indigenous people of that area called this practice as being taken for a Starlight Tour

I mention it because it is a mere extension of the same mindset that sees nothing wrong, and even revels, in the recent actions of the governors of Texas and Florida. It is a mindset devoid of compassion and humanity, reducing these people to objects and props. Moving from these stunts to even more inhumane and cruel acts is a short trip on a very slippery slope.

I know most of you don’t want to hear or think about this. I understand that. But this naked cruelty stays on my minda and at a certain point, we have to pay attention and make our compassion known if we want to avoid the potential further inhumanity and cruelty that is being set before us.

I can’t do much, but I can try to do what little I can.

Here’s a song from the Wailin’ Jennys from Winnipeg that is titled Starlight and is based on the horror of the Starlight Tours mentioned above.

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