The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is set to open up in 2012, but as everyone knows, it hasn’t been without its controversy.
Most recently, there’s been issues with the Museum’s plan to make an exhibit focusing exclusively on the Holocaust and another exhibit on genocides. Not really on any specific genocide, but just genocides. So, you can see how this might piss people off by giving them the impression that certain events are not as valid as others, such as the Holodomer and the Rwandan genocide.
In fact, there was a poll put out by Nanos Research that showed that the majority of Canadians are upset about having two separate exhibits. The preferred choice is to have an exhibit that showcases all genocides equally. (Note: I’m positive that the majority of people don’t want to come across as anti-Semetic by voting for one exhibit, but still, I can easily how it can devolve that way if the wrong people are given a soapbox.)
I understand the argument, and I think that topics as sensitive as this should be represented as well as possible, but doesn’t all this squabbling completely undermine what the museum is supposed to be about?
The museum is supposed to be about the celebration of human rights in Canada and learning from the atrocities committed in the past. It really is unfortunate that some groups are underrepresented, such as those imprisoned in the internment camps during the First World War. Now this is just speculation, but maybe this exhibit is not getting as much attention because the government is embarrassed and maybe won’t fund anything if it does? (OK, that is pure speculation, but it’s a good conspiracy theory.)
The Museum is also under fire from people concerned with northern communities and their lack of clean of water – “Why give money to a Museum instead of a cause?” is the issue there. There is the chance that the Museum could educate people about it, but that’s a year away and who knows what can happen in between that time.
Unfortunately, it just seems the Museum is a centre for politics and controversy, rather than the supreme educational tool it supposed to be. I’m sure people who work with the Museum and people who are against it have the same general goal in mind, but the path to reaching this goal is the problem.
– JHR Column that appeared in issue 15 of The Projector. Written and posted by Andrew Kress.