Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jason Kenney's anti-Roma roots?

On Foreign Affairs Minister Jason Kenney's desk is a picture of a convicted pro-Nazi war criminal, Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, whom he considers one of his heroes.

During World War II, Stepinac collaborated with Ante Pavelic, the head of a
pro-Nazi puppet state called the "Independent State of Croatia," run by a murderous gang called the Ustaša. They set up the notorious Jasenovac concentration camp, where an estimated 13,000 Jews, 48,000 Serbs--and 10-20,000 Roma--were slaughtered. [p.327]

Not even the Nazis had a concentration camp exclusively for children--but Stepinac's friends did: they killed thousands of kids as young as three, frequently poisoning them with caustic soda.

"Hitler is an envoy of God,"declared Stepinac, in a letter to the Croatian Sentinel on January 1, 1942. The good Cardinal, then a mere Archbishop, was promoted by Pope Pius XII and beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Kenney, it seems, has learned well from his hero. He has now instituted visa requirements for Czech nationals, with the explicit aim of keeping Roma, persecuted in the Czech Republic, from seeking refuge here. As weaselly as ever, Kenney has relied on a recent report prepared by the Immigration Review Board to state that Roma do not suffer state-sponsored discrimination in the Czech Republic.

What he somehow failed to mention is that the state is doing little or nothing to prevent discrimination on the ground--at the hands of police, the school system, and neo-Nazi mobs. And the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has blocked anti-discrimination legislation. Amnesty International has been all over this. So has Human Rights Watch.

But none of this cuts any ice, perhaps not surprisingly, with Minister Kenney. So we've shut our doors to the Roma, as we shut our doors to the Jews during World War II--another black eye for Canada on the international stage. And, once again, the agenda of the Conservative government has become a little clearer--and a little scarier.

[H/t Pushed to the Left]

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