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Harry Wilson, Continued: Why There is No Healing and Reconciliation

By       Message Kevin Annett       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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I was going to begin this by observing that the poor, made and kept poor by us, are the only antidote to our self-deceptions. But to say so would be to repeat the crime, and use them, again, for our purpose.

Instead, let his life judge us:

Harry Wilson of the Heiltsuk nation, kidnapped and sodomized by Christians at age six, and for nine years after, at the United Church's Alberni Indian residential school; a witness to the violent murder of friends and relatives; and the discoverer of a young girl's dead body on the grounds of the school; drugged and straight-jacketed for a year when he spoke of what he saw to the Principal, another child rapist, who has never gone to jail.

Harry Wilson sleeps most nights now on the cold ground of Oppenheimer Park on pieces of cardboard he collects from nearby alleyways in Vancouver's downtown eastside. When he gets too cold, he risks dozing in the pews of nearby First United Church, where he usually gets beaten up and robbed.

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Last week, when I came across Harry slouched against a wall during one of my nightly walkabouts, the blood was still congealing over his swollen face. He wore no jacket, even though it was below freezing.

"They took it when I was sleeping in the church" Harry muttered.

"Took my coat, my watch, all my money. Then they socked me a few times."

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"Where was the night staff?" I asked him.

"Aw, smoking crack outside. They don't do nothin' ..."

First United Church proudly announced its "out of the cold" gimmick in December, opening their doors to the homeless at night thanks to a gift of $30,000 from city taxpayers to do what churches are supposed to be doing anyway. Before the handout, First United's doors stayed locked every night.

One wonders what the $30,000 is being spent on, when Harry and other homeless aboriginals - made homeless by the torture they endured at the hands of the same United Church of Canada - can be so easily violated, once again. Beaten and robbed, while taxpayers fund crack-head church employees to sit outside.

And they say the abuse stopped long ago.


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East Hastings is like the Gaza strip: an urban concentration camp where the conquered are penned in and slaughtered when required. Harry is a veteran of the slaughter, somehow surviving it into his fifty sixth year. But he doesn't have much time left.

Harry's steps are slower now, his face more sagging and worn, the scars bloodier and deeper each week, his hours utterly drowned by alcohol. He is dying in front of me, his life squeezed out by the same forces, to feed the same people.

When the U.S. Army bombs civilians to pieces and then sends in their medics to treat the survivors, it's behaving exactly like the United Church of Canada, who first rape and kill innocent children in their residential schools, and then offer "healing" programs to those who survived. That's how the winners in history get to behave.

The only real evidence of their crimes is people like Harry, and the bones of his friends who never made it out of the residential school. But church and state have shoved both Harry and those little corpses out of sight and mind: Harry to rot and die in obscurity on East Hastings street, and the bones of the dead to be dug up and destroyed.

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I am a former clergyman who was expelled from the "united church of canada" for exposing genocide and murder in Christian Indian residential schools across Canada. I'm now an award-winning documentary film maker who has written two books as well on (more...)

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