EDITORIAL: Analogy between Canadian Residential schools Killing Grounds and Croatian Concentration Camps for Children
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM HISTORY
For more than a century the West failed to officially acknowledge the horrific genocide against Armenian Orthodox Christian population conducted by the Turkish Empire at the beginning of the 20th century while WWI was raging around the globe, in which at least million innocent people were brutally murdered. But recently, mostly because of a personal frustration with the Turkish modern day dictator Erdogan (and in spite of him), major Western powers, including Canada, adopted resolutions labelling properly Turkish horrific humanitarian and war crimes against Armenians- as the Genocide.
The Armenian genocide is not the only forgotten horrific “crime of the 20th century” the Western powers have been failing to officially recognize- during WWII, tiny Croatian Catholic nation had aligned with Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and then it was allowed to form a new Balkanian Third Reich’ puppet state named “Independent State of Croatia”.
This new “state” was completely “Nazified” with the only one strategic objective- to rid the country of its Serbian Orthodox/Christian population which was making 1/3 of its population, by any means necessary. None was to be spared, even the small Serbian babies in the cribs. For that purpose Croatia organized the chain of dozens of brutal Death Camps. Between 1.2 and 1.5 million people perished there by the end of WWII. The most appalling and beyond any “sickest imagination” was the Croatian notorious concentration camp Jastrebarsko (with at least 4 sub-camps in near proximity), which was designed exclusively to physically eradicate, or forcibly convert into the Catholicism (and subsequently Croatian ethnicity) the small Serbian children (including babies and toddlers), whose parents were previously murdered in other Concentration camps or during the Nazi Ustasha troops (Croatian equivalent to German SS formations) raids into Serbian territories.
What was unique for the Jastrebarsko camp- that death facility was ran almost exclusively by the Croatian Catholic clergy, more precisely by the Catholic “Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul order” with two senior nuns in charge: Sisters Pulherija and Gaudencija. The camp was authorized and frequently visited by the Nazi regime allied Croatian Archbishop Stepinac and other high ranking Catholic officials. The involvement of Croatian Catholic clergy in Ustasha massacres is very well documented in the history documents- dozens of Croatian Catholic priests and monks were directly involved in genocidal operations orchestrated by Croatian Nazi regime during WWII, and their bestiality and sadistic torture and killing of helpless Serbian civilians is also well documented, even in the official Third Reich’ military reports sent to Berlin and Rome by German and Italian commanders who were appalled by the savagery of their Croatian allies.
But what defies every logic and civilized norm, was the sadism and barbarity against small Serbian children, performed by the Catholic clergy in camp Jastrebarsko. Most of small children and babies were sentenced there to die in a slow and agonizing death from hunger, weather elements, and various untreated diseases. Even if this wasn’t horrific enough- the credible survivors’ statements prove to us- that frequently the small Serbian children were fed intentionally with the food contaminated with broken glass or corrosive acids, and then left to die agonizing and slow death.
The “lucky” Serbian children were simply “stacked” in the specially designed cargo van, fitted with the “adapted mufflers” which were pumping deadly vehicle fumes into the sealed wagon, where those tiny human beings were then suffocating in agony, but in this case rather in the matters of hours or minutes- comparing to the cold floor slabs inside the Franciscan monastery Erdody (which was also the part of the camp Jastrebarsko) where their agony was much more prolonged.
WHEN THE “CULTURAL GENOCIDE” WASN’T ENOUGH, CATHOLIC CLERGY DIDN’T HESITATE TO RESORT TO THE PHYSICAL ONE..
In the modern history we have many high profile examples of the Catholic Church’ complicity in crimes against humanity, and genocides around the Globe, including the previously mentioned- Croatian genocide against Serbian population, during WWII. The latest discovery of indigenous children mass grave in the backyard of the former Canadian residential school in Kamloops British Columbia, which was ran by the Catholic clergy, is probably just the tip of the iceberg- and many similar “killing fields” (in the name of God) are yet to be found.
As we learn about this forgotten Canadian genocide, we need to be reminded of similar “religious crimes” in modern history. During WWII “Clergy-Fascist” savage crimes in Croatia were not the isolated crimes against humanity- Pope Pius XII who was later nicknamed “Hitler’ Pope” not only didn’t raise his voice against German and other aligned fascists’ states (such “Independent Croatia”) atrocities, he even gave his blessings to the most notorious “European Butchers” of his time. Many Nazi puppet states were conducting its “affairs” in close cohort with the Catholic Church, and Vatican should be held accountable for the most horrific crimes against humanity in Europe, including the Holocaust. But, time and time again, Vatican has been getting away with its “wrongdoing”; probably due to its huge political influence, and enormous financial wealth.
Just remember the well documented (one example is: “Kennesaw State University” study from last year, titled “When Priests Forgot About God: An Analysis of the Catholic Church’s Role in Genocide”) role of Catholic clergy in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where dozens of priests including some bishops were actively participating in the mass murder and torture of Tutu population. Also in 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights has filed the complaint for massive abuse and crimes against humanity against Vatican, with International Criminal Court in Hague. This well documented charge was asking ICC prosecutors to open an investigation against Pope Benedict XVI and other high level Vatican officials for the widespread and systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence and torture of children (in care of Catholic Church) across of globe- including the Vatican role in cover-up of these crimes.
CAN WE TRUST “THE MURDERER” TO INVESTIGATE “HIMSELF”?
These were just some drastic examples of Vatican culpability, but apart of its appalling participation in butchery and physical genocides against “non-Catholics”, the most serious and one with permanent consequences against the targeted religious or ethnic groups was systematic Cultural Genocide which has a purpose of permanently erasing religious and ethnic identity of the targeted groups and nations. One nation can eventually recover from the physical genocide and then once again populate its land- but after their nationality, faith, language, letter, and tradition are “erased”- there is no recovery.
That is the case with Canadian residential schools; that was the case with children’ death camps in Croatia and their forcible conversion to Catholicism and new ethnicity; that was case with Tutu children that were lucky not to be hacked to death by Hutu militias and Hutu clergy..
The UN definition of genocide- “Article II of the Genocide Convention contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements: A mental element: the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”; and A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively: Killing members of the group- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
United Nations stayed short of providing a definition of Cultural Genocide, but that term nowadays is very present in worldwide publications and studies of genocidal activities against targeted groups, in the past and in the present times. In my opinion this term and its elaborate meaning is crucial in understanding the true reasons behind Vatican participation, complicity or just ignorance of state sponsored genocides and ethnic cleansing of entire ethnic and religious groups. Forcible conversion of small children into Catholicism, including cutting off all their connections to the original language, customs and culture, was- and remains today, the most effective way in ensuring that the victims’ native identity is completely erased.
And the recently discovered (and documented) crimes against humanity, that amount to genocide (by Canadian parliament own admission), against indigenous children and adults in the recent Canadian history are the perfect example for the above statement.
If international, or in this particular case Canadian, community is serious enough to prosecute these horrific crimes against small children and provide some form of justice to their relatives and people, than there must be made an official request before the UN Security Council- for the specially designated International Crime Tribunal for Residential schools crimes in Canada (and elsewhere) and Catholic Church complicity in it, to be established.
If we just allowed Canadian government to “investigate itself” the result then would be very predictable- wouldn’t be!?