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An Off-the-Cuff Interview with Kevin Annett
The real problem is that the killers are still in charge, and they always have been. So they get to pose as official truth, they call themselves the law, and all of you lap it up and obey their orders, even if you don't want to. - Kevin Annett
(NANAIMO, Vancouver Island) - In this interview, Salem-News.com writer Kevin Annett, a Nobel Prize Nominee for his tireless work in exposing the Genocide of Native American children in Canada, explains what it is like to fight for what is right as a minister, only to have your own religious organization turn its back over bad publicity. Lies, corruption, coverup, these are the "qualities" that today define the Catholic Church's role in society.
Interviewer: Thanks for speaking with me today. I know how busy you are.
Kevin: Actually, I'm not that busy at all. Being a banned person gives you lots of spare time.
I: What do you mean, a banned person?
K: Try getting me quoted on any major media in Canada or having me speak at any university. Try asking a Member of Parliament to come to my aid, and see what happens. But the very fact that you have to ask that question shows how effective the banning is. And how invisible. But that's not important, ultimately. It's secondary. It's a consequence of the thing I can't really describe. The thing that put me here, behind these invisible bars.
I: Well, talk about that other thing, if you can.
K: It chewed me up and destroyed my life just like it did countless little children, like it's still doing every day. The ancient Canaanites called it the fire god Moloch. Every law abiding citizen of Canaan sacrificed their children to it. And that's never changed. Everybody helps the sacrifice of children take place and they've all become so used to it that it's just normalcy now.
I: Can you get specific?
K: I have been. I've been very specific about it, with facts and figures, vocally, publicly, for twenty years now. I've created as big a shit storm about the crime as was humanly possible, even superhumanly. But at the end of the day, it's as if I've never spoken a word about it. People keep carrying on like nothing's happened. None of them feel anything. That's the part that's impossible for me to bear. Mass graves of children? Yawn. It doesn't even make the headlines. But I do bear it, I endure it, because I have to. I know the truth and I won't die to it in my own heart. But having to hold on like that when nobody wants to know: it's absurd. Impossible, really, having to live alongside the blind and deaf and heartless crowd, when you know the truth.
I: You're referring to the Canadian Indian residential schools genocide, are you?
K: Ah yes. “Genocide”. Another abstraction that means nothing. Another buffering word. Language does that: it softens the impact of horror, stops us from vomiting and tearing our hair out in grief at the thought of little toddlers being raped and tortured and tossed dying into a ditch. En masse. Year after year, as the Christmas carols and smiles and talk of Jesus carried on and on, by the very people killing the children and protecting the killers and funding them and turning everybody else's attention away from the slaughter.
I: It's hard for many Canadians to see the catholic and anglican and united churches as having killed children.
K: Why should it be? It shouldn't be at all, if people knew even a bit of their own history.
I: Perhaps that's the problem. They don't.
K: No, that's not the problem. The real problem is that the killers are still in charge, and they always have been. So they get to pose as official truth, they call themselves the law, and all of you lap it up and obey their orders, even if you don't want to.
K: Simple. Fear. We've all been trained to be afraid. And part of the herd.
I: I've read your evidence and books and seen your films. It's all very documented and convincing. No reasonable man or woman can doubt that these crimes are true. But what can anybody do about it?
K: Simple. You issue bullshit apologies for mass murder and throw a few bucks at the survivors and then pat yourselves collectively on the back. That's the Canadian way.
I: Well, like you say, the perpetrators are the ones in charge.
K: Well, they appear to be. But they aren't, not really.
I: Say more.
K: Just look at me. Why am I still walking around? Why haven't they ever sued me or arrested me or put me away somewhere? Because they know I'm right about their crimes and they're admitting it by their silence. All they can do is confuse and lie and distract everybody from what I've uncovered. That's not the behaviour of people in charge. That's how frightened people act: people without any real power or authority who are afraid their guilt and helplessness will be exposed.
I: You mean they're bluffing.
K: Of course they are. If you scratch even slightly you'll find their laws like their religion and their history books are all fraudulent, based on duplicity, ignorance and coercion. They've stolen the world from humanity and murdered countless millions of inncoent people, little kids. They're the worst criminals in history yet they call themselves the law and religion. It's all a monstrous lie. So that's why we 've called their bluff.
I: You mean with your common law court trial?
K: Damn right. That's been the next obvious and logical step after entire churches and states are clearly guilty of crimes against humanity. Nobody and nothing is above the law and justice. So we tried and convicted and sentenced Canada and the Crown of England and all those churches and the pope himself.
I: Some people call that wishful thinking. So you have a verdict. But they still have all the guns and the money and the cops on their side. How do you enforce your verdict?
K: Time enforces it. The truth trumps everyone, eventually. One pope's already resigned in the wake of our court's verdict. This new pope is falling all over himself trying to spruce up their bloody fucking image. That's entirely because of the work we've done. We've created a big ripple that's quickly becoming a wave. Once a ruler loses his legitimacy, everything else tumbles. That's even more true about entire institutions. Read about how any revolution happens. The army and the cops are eventually won over. That's already begun. I've witnessed it.
I: We've been talking about issues. Let's talk about you.
K: What about me?
I: I won't dwell on the obvious ...
K: Thank you.
I: ... like the loss of your family, and all the attacks you've faced ...
K: All that used to hurt. But one of the wonders of staying human is you learn that you can survive anything.
I: Okay, exactly. I'm more curious about that. How have you survived over twenty years? And not just survived, but triumphed, really?
K: Oh, call it a miracle. It sure as hell feels like that some days.
I: No, seriously, Kevin.
K: How have I survived, you said? (pause) One step at a time, walking on glass the entire way. And basically, all on my own.
I: Personally, I'd fold under that kind of pain. Why didn't you?
K: I don't know. I felt like I did, a few times. But it's like this: when I was a little kid in Winnipeg playing hockey, I used to get knocked down all the time, and I fell down constantly. I had asthma and was a shitty skater and I hated fights. But any time I was knocked down I instantly got back up.
K: I couldn't do anything else. Call it a reflex. I'm a proud guy. Why lie sprawling on a piece of cold fucking ice?
I: So pride was part of it, about why you didn't buckle?
K: Sure. I didn't want those stupid fuckers in the United Church to think they'd won again and pounded another whistle blower into the dirt. I mean, fuck them. They're the ones who are covering up murder. Why should I feel like the loser? I did the right thing.
I: But there's more to it than that.
K: Yes there is. A lot more. (long pause) It's pretty simple though. You learn your church killed kids, and now they're covering it all up. What's any moral person to do? Look the other way?
I: No, but most of us do.
K: Yeah. Very odd. But I couldn't. It's always been that simple for me; I couldn't make any other choice but to speak out like I did and not go along. But the real testing within myself was when that choice started hurting the people I loved, like my own kids. By not playing along, I lost a normal life with them. I was robbed of my own children when they were just three and six years old, and they lost their father. That can never be gotten back.
I: But that wasn't your fault. The church conspired with your ex wife in her divorce.
K: Sure they did. That's standard ops. How they can live with themselves after doing that, you tell me. But I could have played along, not to lose Anne or the kids.
I: But something else was more important to you.
K: Yep. The truth is. But why should I have had to choose between my family and my own conscience?
I: But you did have to.
K: Yeah. What a world, eh? Forcing anyone to make that kind of choice?
I: I'm trying to get my mind around all this. Because you lost a lot more than your family. You have a lot of enemies.
K: Oh yeah.
I: There's serious hatred out there for you, Kevin.
K: Of course there is. And serious love.
I: But the hatred must be a bit intimidating.
K: I've learned to ignore it. People are messed up. They need scapegoats. And let's not pretend the hatred isn't being fomented.
I: I think we all know by who, by now. But I don't get why more progressive people in Canada don't help you ...
K: They do, for awhile. But dead Indian kids in your own backyard isn't the most sexy issue. It might upset the neighbours, or the local United Church who helps fund your own activism.
I: Okay. And even progressives seem to be in denial about the genocide in Canada ...
K: Big time. They're more disbelieving than right wingers are, to be honest. That was quite a wake up call for me, being an old lefty myself.
I: I don't see how anyone can accept the idea of mass murder in their own country, very easily ...
K: Perhaps not. But no-one has the excuse of ignorance any more, not since I started publishing the documents on the huge death rates in the residential schools, God, as far back as 1996.
I: Kevin, do you sleep easily at nights?
K: Not always. My mind doesn't turn off very easily. I do my best writing in the wee hours.
I: You don't worry about home invasions, assaults ...
K: They'd be stupid to try that. I have a lot of exposure and that would just get me more.
I: I meant more from some random whacko, a fanatical catholic or something ...
K: You never know. There's no guarantee, about anything. That's why I've learned to cherish every day of life. I mean really cherish it.
I: Say more.
K: Surviving a near death trauma gives anyone a new sensitivity, and frankly, I did die. I lost my old life completely. I lost all the old assurances and expectations I'd built up over a lifetime. I lost every friend and most of the family I'd ever known. Nothing was for certain any more. So I guess I learned real thankfulness for the first time in my life. I'd see my daughters for a few hours and I'd soak up every tender moment with them, every scrap of love, because it had to last me for a week. It all made me calmer, somehow. More at my centre, like I was discovering something very solid and beautiful in me that I never knew was there. It just bloomed, somehow, in the midst of all that loss.
I: That's very inspiring. But these things are always won at such a terrible cost.
K: Always. One of life's hard lessons many people can't accept.
I: This all must have played hell with your love life.
K: Love life? (laughs) If you mean relationships, of course it has. My shields never come down. How can they? And what woman would ever want to get too close to a walking target? To an enemy of the state?
I: I can't imagine that kind of personal loneliness, Kevin.
K: Me neither, sometimes. (laughs) Like when I stand back and really look at myself from somewhere else.
I: Say more.
K: Part of what sustained trauma teaches you is that you're much more than who you think you are. It's like your pain, if it doesn't crush you, eventually cracks open your false ego and in floods this incredible knowing of a bigger identity you swim in like a bubble in a river. That higher mind is what has gotten me through the worst times. It allows me to be separate from everything sent against me and not let any attacks or smears get to me, to my real purpose.
I: And what is that purpose?
K: (pause) To bring down this entire bloody mess. Especially the false church.
I: That's quite an undertaking.
K: Oh well, I've never liked half measures.
I: Somebody once referred to you as “the ultimate systems smasher”.
K: I like that. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. These crimes aren't about bad apples.
I: Something you said earlier has been weighing on me. About not closing your heart to the deaths of all of those Indian children.
K: Uh huh?
I: I've struggled with that, maybe like a lot of us do. How do we keep our hearts open amidst all of these horrible crimes and atrocities?
K: You stay close to the victims. You stay as restless as they are by knowing they don't have the chance to get away. (pause) I got taught that a bit many years ago by this defrocked priest in Guatemala who worked among Mayan refugees who were targeted by the military. He told me every time he wanted to take off and save his own ass, he'd look at the littlest kid in the camp and realize she had nowhere to run. He said that gave him a bit more courage, just by him not stopping his love for her. So our hearts are kept open by others if we let them. We do it together, in the middle of all this shit.
I: That's an amazing story.
K: Yeah. Well, the priest did get killed, eventually, by a death squad. So I heard. But that didn't change anything. He was a very contented man.
I: Are you?
K: Yes I am. Restless but content, if that makes any sense. I could die tomorrow with an easy conscience.
I: Let's hope it's not tomorrow.
K: No. All my fans might object.
I: I understand you're being nominated again for the Nobel Peace Prize.
K: Aw shucks. Yeah, another group of professors somewhere in the states.
I: I wish you well, Reverend.
K: Thanks. Every bit helps.
"I gave Kevin Annett his Indian name, Eagle Strong Voice, in 2004 when I adopted him into our Anishinabe Nation. He carries that name proudly because he is doing the job he was sent to do, to tell his people of their wrongs. He speaks strongly and with truth. He speaks for our stolen and murdered children. I ask everyone to listen to him and welcome him." Chief Louis Daniels - Whispers Wind Elder, Crane Clan, Anishinabe Nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba
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