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Apologies and Reparations

Education systems have plenty of skeletons in their closets. Beyond the awareness of wrongs, apologies and reparations are needed.

In America, of course, we have residential schools. The formula was known, equivalent institutions existed elsewhere and the same logic was applied.  France, England, Spain, Portugal, all colonial nations used the school in their domination enterprises. They had already refined the procedure on their people long before.

The educational system still drags this mentality like a ball and chain of a prison regime where everything is decided for the students.  Of course, we try to get away from it, but one day we will have to take all the corpses out of the closets. Even today, a few are still being added from time to time.  The teachers who did not want to participate in these assimilation exercises were often the first to be sanctioned. To them, too, apologies and reparations are owed, the most interesting of which concerns the transformation of the school.

Rehabilitation is essentially about restoring confidence. To do that much more needs to be done than if we had done it right, to begin with. 

The collective blindness is based on denied responsibilities. The school is not the only institution involved; the responsibility of politicians serving hidden interests is common, and that of individuals who benefit from the abuses is rarely acknowledged. The scandals arise from repeated blindness. Environmental looting, twisted taxation, sexual exploitation, opioids, abject poverty..., all have a purpose that can be undermined.

Acknowledging the unmentionable is not an easy matter. Not doing so only keeps the problem going. Before they were massacred, Armenians massacred centuries before... Overall, Arab nations imported more African slaves than European nations. Africans themselves participated in the trade. Asia is not to be outdone and has its acculturation enterprises, some of which are even underway. As elsewhere, people prefer to keep their history quiet and deny their part. But let's start with our own stories, no one is in a position to call out others.

To get out of our irrational drifts and justifications, acknowledging the abuse is the first step.

Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]

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