Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Apology 94 Years In The Making

British Columbia issued a formal apology for human rights abuses they inflicted upon hundreds of migrant workers in 1914.

VICTORIA - As a boy growing up in India, Surinder Sharma soaked up the stories of his great-uncle's adventures aboard the Komagata Maru.

"At the time, it didn't look cruel to us," Sharma said. "It looked like some heroic act. Because we were just little kids, it was like bedtime stories."

Only later did Sharma come to understand the racism his great-uncle, Ferozepur Munshi - along with 375 other passengers - endured upon their arrival in British Columbia in 1914.

Denied entry and forced to remain aboard the steam liner in Vancouver's harbour for two months, they were eventually sent back to India, where 20 were shot by police in a riot, and others were imprisoned.

Will the U.S. do something similar someday for the blind eye turned towards the thousands of dead bodies in the desert or the countless families that are imprisoned in concentration camps?

Not any time soon.

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