Editorial: Have we forgotten?

Are we repeating the past?

Remembrance Day is a time not to celebrate war, but our desire for peace, to remember never to repeat those horrors war has brought, especially the two world wars of the 20th Century.

It hasn’t worked. The world seems to be falling into the trap George Santayana warned of: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

It’s been a century since the end of the First World War and more than six decades since the end of the second, but in the intervening years, the world has rarely been without conflict, including genocides mirroring the Nazi Holocaust: Somalia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and the ongoing slow genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to name just a few of the more famous horrors humans have committed on fellow human beings.

It’s easy to say these are far away, in “third-world countries” not here. But the populism that is driving modern politics, in the US, in Europe, in Brazil, and yes, in Canada, draws on the same methods — the racist rhetoric, the lies, the division, the “us versus them” — that were employed by Hitler, Mussolini, the Khmer Rouge and others in their drive for power.

Rather than remembering the past, we are beginning to repeat it.

We pause at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to remember the brave Canadians, men and women, who gave their lives to prevent just this kind of evil from spreading, to enforce the peace, trying and failing to prevent atrocities like Rwanda from happening.

You only need to look at the shooting last week at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue for evidence that that state-fostered climate of hatred, fear and racism is out of control.

After you pause to remember our fallen, take another moment to remember that we, too, have a responsibility to continue that struggle against hatred and fear. We are the soldiers in this ongoing war.

“Take up our quarrel with the foe: to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.”

—Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, 1915

Black Press

Just Posted

Alongside Dr. King: Vancouver Island man honoured for civil rights work

Bill Duncan, 95, gets lifetime achievement award

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

Sale of Vancouver Island’s most remote pub falls through

Beloved Holberg pub and restaurant The Scarlet Ibis is back with previous owner

Pay your parking ticket if you want, or don’t, Saanich doesn’t care

Current system a waste of resources, missed revenue opportunity, councillor says

Island tour operator keeps Indigenous culture alive through COVID-19 with virtual journeys

Campbell River based Homalco Tours is also in the process of setting up live cameras for bear viewing in Orford

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district considers COVID-19 lessons in planning for fall

Elementary, secondary school committees formed to plan for next school year

Young volunteers clean Vancouver Island beaches

Events held in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Comox, Powell River and Victoria

Most Read