Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This column likely will be published in the West Quebec Post, Thursday, August 21st, 2014.

Oh Chelsea

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Chelsea oh chelsea. What more is there to say? I was going to attribute that quote to some made-up name or some great obscure philosopher but I'm sorry to say I'm quoting Hitler's chief of propaganda: Goebbels. I always had known the part about the bigger the lie the easier it is to believe but had not known the full quote. Does history repeat itself I ask myself?

It is a thinking person's nightmare living here at this time in history in this small village on the edge of reason. It is also a columnist's nightmare. By the time this column is published, the picture will have probably changed. Yet again. A week does not go by now where some new nightmare revelation doesn't rear its monstrous head up into the sunlight for all to see. A week does not go by when Chelseaites aren't waiting for something, a decision, a statement, a truth.

The latest revelation is by councillor Barbara Martin questioning Mayor Caryl Green's possible neglect to inform council and/or the people of an offer by MAMROT at the outset to help settle the controversy over the vote on mega sewer and water. And that other revelation; did our new Director General deliberately not provide documents to Council he had agreed to do? It has villagers who are still paying attention shocked.You can see it in the deliberate avoidance of people greeting people at the market, on the streets, in the stores. The silent long faces of people afraid of sinking from the weight of their own opinion in an angry sea. The fear, the sense of betrayal, the hope, the anger and the pain. Mostly in the exhaustion. It's all there. In the silence.

It is said that the silent majority is irrelevant. Their opinion does not matter in the least because they do not express it. I and others beg to differ. It is the silent majority that has allowed some of the worst atrocities in history to happen. The quotes from history forever warning us, forever neglected. "First they came for the communists but I was not a communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the… And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Why do I feel so compelled to look back at history? Because what has and is happening in Chelsea is historic. The ramifications will linger for generations. One day we will be old and grey and they will ask us, what did you do when that happened? Will you be able to look into the clear innocent gaze of your grandchildren and say we gave you debt instead of hope, we gave you houses instead of forests and fields, we gave you rhetoric instead of process, we gave you milk and cookies instead of democracy? We gave you all this because we needed to make money because that is what we believed. That is what we were told. That is just who we were.

I do not know if the allegations about Mayor Green and the almost secondary questions about our new Director General's actions are true or not. I am like every other Chelseaite. Confused. Tired. Wanting it all over with. Except that just wanting something all over with does not mean proper democratic procedure,  transparency and truth should just be thrown out in the interests of making us all feel less stressed. Just wanting something over with so we can all finally go about getting along with each other again is not a reason to stop fighting for freedom of speech and the spirit of Democracy. The ONLY acceptable answer to these allegations is: "This matter was discussed on such-and-such a day. These are the minutes of that meeting." Anything else is a red flag telling us all that Chelsea has a problem with due process on such an important issue.

Chelseaites need and indeed deserve full disclosure over this whole matter. If that means another delay and a call for full investigation, well… so be it. And contrary to popular belief, we all won't die from the waiting. We haven't yet in the at least 10 years we've been at this. In the interests of our grandchildren, it would be nice if we could just get this right.

And here is my favourite quote. Again. "Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Science without humanity. Knowledge without character. Politics without principle. Commerce without morality. Worship without sacrifice." Mahatma Gandhi.


Brendan said...

Oh dear. Has anyone updated you on all this?

Sylvia Shawcross said...

No Brendan. I've not received any update. I look in the papers for it but nothing. What is the update?