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Author Topic: The Voyage of the S.S. St. Louis
Jaku
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posted 27 May 2008 02:57 PM      Profile for Jaku     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
here is a very moving article commemorating a very dark period in canadian history. may 27th marks the 69th anniversary of the day the SS St. Louis set sail from Germany to North America.

mr. farber of the jewish congress writes a poignant tale of remembrance. i also take to heart his views on the efficacy of apologies.

Toronto Star


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ohara
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posted 28 May 2008 04:32 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks jakus for pointing out this article. The St. Louis is an episode in Canadian history that few Canadians are either aware of or care to think about. That even here on a progressive board like Babble it has no response is quite indicative .

The article is well researched and hopefully many will read it.


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unionist
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posted 28 May 2008 04:46 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
That even here on a progressive board like Babble it has no response is quite indicative .

Oh get off it, ohara. The "69th anniversary" of some event which actually understates the truly evil character of Canadian immigration policy, and we have to react to it because it was so well researched? My parents had to come here illegally, because Canada consider survivors and refugees of the Nazi genocide as something beneath dirt. The official Jewish organizations of that time did next to nothing to help, because the few surviving Jews of Poland, Ukraine, etc. were like some alien race to them. Someday I'll gather some fellow 2nd generation survivors and we'll do the real research.

And focussing on Jews is a bit much:

quote:
A new Immigration Act is passed at the end of the First World War that formalizes immigration guidelines based on ethnic race and culture. Immigrants whose ideological beliefs are considered unacceptable by the Canadian government can be excluded from Canada.

From 1923 to 1947, Chinese immigrants were banned.

Jews have a responsibility to highlight, expose and sympathize with the struggles of all other oppressed people - only then will anyone think of sympathizing with their fight against oppression. That's what history has taught us. Or, it's what it has taught me, I won't presume to say what you have learned from it.


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remind
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posted 28 May 2008 05:08 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
From 1923 to 1947, Chinese immigrants were banned.

Yes, I agree with what you said above and with this, and want to point out the Kamagata Maru incident whose anniversary also just passed on May 23rd and went unremarked as well.

quote:
In 1914 the Komagata Maru was an outright challenge to these exclusionist laws. The Komagata Maru was a Japanese steamliner chartered by an affluent businessman, Gurdit Singh, to bring Indian immigrants to Canada. The ship's route departed from Hong Kong, stopped in Japan and then headed to Canada. Its passengers included 376 Indians, all Punjabis, among whom 340 were Sikhs, 12 Hindus, and 24 Muslims. The ship was eventually turned back at Vancouver where landing was refused, and terminated eventually at Calcutta.

http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/events/kamagatamaru.html

W


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ohara
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posted 28 May 2008 05:55 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Nice sensitivuty, ya the hell with the fact that hundreds from the St. Louis were murdered by Nazis. And Unionist you may invoke the memory of your dear parents as can I invoke the memory of mine. But this article it seems to me was at least a call to remember so as not to repeat. That you can only find words of derision instead of support saddens me deeply; not that you give a shit.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 28 May 2008 05:59 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Nice sensitivuty, ya the hell with the fact that hundreds from the St. Louis were murdered by Nazis. And Unionist you may invoke the memory of your dear parents as can I invoke the memory of mine. But this article it seems to me was at least a call to remember so as not to repeat. That you can only find words of derision instead of support saddens me deeply; not that you give a shit.

Do you not see how hollow it is to vaunt your issue over other people's? Do you not grasp that humanity needs solidarity, not solitude?


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unionist
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posted 28 May 2008 06:02 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, let's have a board - no, a world - where Jews spend all their time yapping about how badly Jews are treated; women cry about women's issues; Indigenous people wail about their own plight; and Muslims fight for Muslim rights. What a wonderful world that would be.
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Slumberjack
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posted 28 May 2008 06:07 PM      Profile for Slumberjack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It'd be a splendid idea to spend some time at least discussing tragic milestones as their anniversaries occur. Being reminded of what this country once was is useful as well to highlight the vast areas where things have not evolved at all in our society.
From: An Intensive De-Indoctrination, But I'm Fine Now | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 28 May 2008 06:23 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Slumberjack:
Being reminded of what this country once was is useful as well to highlight the vast areas where things have not evolved at all in our society.

Here is a vast area where things have not evolved at all in our society.


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Slumberjack
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posted 28 May 2008 06:28 PM      Profile for Slumberjack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One of many cesspools that deserve to be kept in the light of day.
From: An Intensive De-Indoctrination, But I'm Fine Now | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 29 May 2008 03:37 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Unionist, it remains mindboggling to me that you would so callously dismiss the attempts by the Jewish community to use, yes, their tragedies, to serve as a reminder of man's inhumanity to man.

Surely First Nations, Ukrainian- Canadians, Japanese Canadians ought to and very often do publically discuss their past tragedies for the same purpose.

That is how we change historical attitudes. I have no clue why you would attack those who choose to want to change attitudes for the better.


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Michelle
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posted 29 May 2008 03:49 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not sure what the problem is either, unionist. Why not highlight this? Yes, I know that ohara is really annoying when he pulls the whole "babblers aren't discussing this and that's really telling" bullshit.

But why NOT have a thread on this?


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unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 03:58 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
I'm not sure what the problem is either, unionist. Why not highlight this? Yes, I know that ohara is really annoying when he pulls the whole "babblers aren't discussing this and that's really telling" bullshit.

But why NOT have a thread on this?


Ohara's lecturing was the trigger, but it's not the problem I highlighted.

The problem I highlighted was progressive people who emphasize "their own people's" oppression. That leads to the next level, which is that "their own people's" issues are more important than everyone else's. I believe that solidarity is not built that way.

I don't believe the struggle against anti-Semitism is a struggle for Jews.

I don't believe the struggle against sexual discrimination is a struggle for women.

I don't believe the struggle against occupation and aggression is a struggle for Afghans and Palestinians.

Not when it comes to progressives.

If we dedicate our emphasis and energy to "our own" issues, then we will look around and see no comrades-in-arms when we need them.

I have always felt that very acutely as a Jew. Jews are people of the Diaspora. In every country where they have lived, they had a choice - whether to identify with the aspirations and struggles of the rest of the people, or whether to have their own separate life and goal - and then appeal for support only when they were under immediate attack. Had all the Jews chosen the latter path, there wouldn't be one left alive today.

ETA: Michelle, if you're saying that we need to follow the thread title here and just talk about the 69th anniversary of some event, fine. I'll open a separate thread and express these views there. By the way, today John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope and Melissa Ethridge's birthday.

[ 29 May 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]


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Michelle
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posted 29 May 2008 04:17 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But unionist, I learned something from that article. And who better to write about the oppression a certain demographic faces or has faced in the past than someone from that demographic?

We DO accept that First Nations people on babble are the experts on their situation and we do encourage them to speak their truths about their history. Why wouldn't we?


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unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 04:31 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Let me try again. Did I object when Jaku posted his article? Yes, it was a very interesting article. Those who learned something from it are fortunate. I said nothing. What can one say about one small incident in the whole saga that was the Nazi genocide and the indifference and hostility of Canada (including some of its official Jewish organizations).

But then, ohara follows up a day later, suggesting how important this article is and hoping "many will read it" blah blah blah. That's the point where I intervened, and I thought the basis of my intervention was quite clear: 1) No, this particular incident was not the most important, in fact by focusing on it we understate the crimes against the victims committed by Canada; 2) Jews who style themselves as progressive should not spend their time berating others for not appreciating how much we have suffered - especially when "our own" representatives were complicit.

If ohara (and Jaku for that matter) were actively engaged in discussing and bringing forward issues relating to non-Jewish suffering on this board (and I do not include Darfur!!!!), I might never have posted.

Perhaps I'm not making my point clear, but it's clear in my mind.


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Michelle
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posted 29 May 2008 04:35 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, I see what you mean. I realize that ohara's a trigger, but why not just let it go? You've given him exactly the opening he was looking for. As soon as I read his post, I crossed my fingers hoping no one would take his bait. And you did. Why? Why give that to him?
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johnpauljones
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posted 29 May 2008 05:01 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For far too long consecutive governments of Canada whether they be liberal or conservative have ignored the wrongs that our government in the name of canadians have done.

This article and the articles about the Komagata Maru, the Chinese Head tax, the internment of Japanese Canadians amongst others only serve to remind us that Canada was not the great bastion of peace and safety.

The SS St Louis is but one example of Canada turning a blind eye either externally or internally.


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Cueball
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posted 29 May 2008 05:09 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"...is not the great bastion of peace and safety."
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ohara
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posted 29 May 2008 10:29 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Whether the trigger or the shotgun I am glad at least that it is getting discussed.
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Petsy
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posted 29 May 2008 11:21 AM      Profile for Petsy        Edit/Delete Post
Contrary to unionist's view the SS St. Louis while small only in the number of Jews murdered as a result of the world's insensitivity (some would say anti-Semitism) to Jews, it was a seminal event for Canada's sorry immigration system. I also hasten to add that while Unionist may not feel that the murder of 300+ Jews is significant in terms of 6 million, I believe each murder was a tragedy.

In Judaism we say "he who saved one life it is as though he saved an entire generation". In my view the opposite is also true.


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unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 11:34 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well Petsy, if you gathered that I didn't care about the 300+ murdered Jews, I guess we really are speaking different languages.

By the way, you'll have to forgive me because I'm just a "greener" and my family weren't in Canada at the time - can you recall what the Canadian Jews and their organizations did to lobby for allowing the St. Louis to dock at the time? I couldn't find any mention of that in Farber's article.

You see, the Sikhs of Vancouver threatened to burn down the city if the authorities who had surrounded the Komagata Maru were to fire upon the ship - besides all the other lobbying and relief efforts they organized.

They showed their dedication to the refugees in real time. Not 69 years later.


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remind
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posted 29 May 2008 12:09 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Petsy:
...it was a seminal event for Canada's sorry immigration system.
How was it a seminal event?

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ohara
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posted 29 May 2008 02:59 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
Well Petsy, if you gathered that I didn't care about the 300+ murdered Jews, I guess we really are speaking different languages.

By the way, you'll have to forgive me because I'm just a "greener" and my family weren't in Canada at the time - can you recall what the Canadian Jews and their organizations did to lobby for allowing the St. Louis to dock at the time? I couldn't find any mention of that in Farber's article.

You see, the Sikhs of Vancouver threatened to burn down the city if the authorities who had surrounded the Komagata Maru were to fire upon the ship - besides all the other lobbying and relief efforts they organized.

They showed their dedication to the refugees in real time. Not 69 years later.


Your attitude is shocking, sickening really. It was 1939, yes hitler's maniacs were pushing an aggressive vendetta against Jews but could you or i say that Canadian Jews could have forecast the Holocaust? Such ugly thinking unionist!!Yes blame the victims (and yes to some extent all Jews were victims)for their plight.

That said Canadian jewry did send a delegation to Mackenzie King to plead for the St. Louis refugees even guarenteeing they would financially look after them. There was no stomach for jews in canada.

So stop looking backwards uninonist. As Farber noted try to make the legacy of the St Louis a lesson for the future. Perhaps you could put your animus towards the mainstream Jewish community structures aside for a moment and embrace the idea that education is a remedy for intolerance or not have it any way you want.


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unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 03:42 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
At least you're consistent, ohara. You defend the wealthy Jewish establishment of 1939 as fervently as that of today. I'm afraid my family (both the majority who were murdered and the handful who survived) just aren't in your class.

As for learning lessons from the treatment of refugees in the past, what a pathetic hypocritical joke. You and Farber should explain how you are applying those lessons to the refugees of today - the ones expelled by your Israeli buddies. Your love for refugees is exactly as sincere and as concrete as that of your smug and comfortable Canadian forebears.

They did not act in my name, then or now. My forebears are the partisans, who fought and died side by side with the anti-fascists of all colours and creeds. There are Jews, and then there are Jews.


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unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 04:23 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is a video clip from CBC dated Oct. 6, 1982 on Canada's attitude to Jewish immigration during that period. It's 11.5 minutes long.
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ohara
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posted 29 May 2008 05:27 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
[QB]At least you're consistent, ohara. You defend the wealthy Jewish establishment of 1939 as fervently as that of today. I'm afraid my family (both the majority who were murdered and the handful who survived) just aren't in your class.
QB]

Screw you unionist. You have no idea where my parents come from. I am sure their shtetle was as poor as those your dear family suffered in. This is typical of you. You know not of what you speak but speak you will. God help us.

From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 29 May 2008 05:57 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:

Screw you unionist. You have no idea where my parents come from.

Er, I thought I was referring to your attitude (which is obvious) rather than your parentage (which of course I have no idea about). Sorry for your confusion.


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ohara
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posted 30 May 2008 02:52 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
When you invoke your parents memory:

quote:
My parents had to come here illegally, because Canada consider survivors and refugees of the Nazi genocide as something beneath dirt. The official Jewish organizations of that time did next to nothing to help, because the few surviving Jews of Poland, Ukraine, etc. were like some alien race to them. Someday I'll gather some fellow 2nd generation survivors and we'll do the real research.

you invite comparisions. I was not the least bit confused. I understood precisely what you were doing.

From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Caissa
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posted 30 May 2008 03:24 AM      Profile for Caissa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know that the CNCR worked hard to get refugees into Canada until they disbanded in 1948. If my memory serves me correctly, they worked fairly closely with the CJC. The CNCR's papers are in the PAC. I wrote my MA thesis on the CNCR more than 20 years ago so my memory may be fading.
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Stargazer
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posted 30 May 2008 03:26 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
As for learning lessons from the treatment of refugees in the past, what a pathetic hypocritical joke. You and Farber should explain how you are applying those lessons to the refugees of today - the ones expelled by your Israeli buddies. Your love for refugees is exactly as sincere and as concrete as that of your smug and comfortable Canadian forebears.

Nothing from you on this ohara? How do you feel about the treatment of refugees today ohara? Do you have any concern whatsoever for any group of people besides those of Jewish heritage? If so, please do point to some threads in which you were shocked and outraged at their treatment?

Ever show outrage at the genocide of First Nations people ohara? I haven't heard a word from you on that. How about the current treatment of Muslims. Anything to say on that ohara?

I won't hold my breath.


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Michelle
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posted 30 May 2008 03:34 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Okay, I don't think this is going to get any better. Poor behaviour on both sides here. Folks, next time around (there's always a next time) could you please forget how much you dislike each other and just discuss the topic at hand? And that includes you, ohara. But for your trolling comment in your first post in this thread, this argument might never have happened. But that doesn't excuse the personal attacks people have been making on ohara since.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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