Like many others, I watch with amazement and sadness as the Israeli Army drags longtime Israeli residents of Gaza from their homes and off their land, never to return. Amazement because it is hard to imagine a civilized country taking land and homes away from their own citizens and forcing them to relocate. If a “man’s house is his castle” this action can be considered a demolition of the soul.
It would probably surprise most North Americans, including Canadians (even many British Columbians) to learn that a similar event took place in the Columbia River Valley in south-eastern British Columbia in the early 1960′s. Yes, you heard correctly, our own little Gaza right here in Lotus Land.
In 1964, the Columbia River Treaty was ratified by both the Canadian and US governments. It is a bi-national trans-boundary water agreement that allows for the cooperative development of the Columbia River water resources. Essentially, it provided for the construction of dams to generate hydro-electric power on both sides of the border and provide flood control capabilites.
One of the dams that had to be built resulted in the flooding of over 500 square kilometers of fertile valley bottom between Castlegar and Revelstoke, BC. This was bad enough, but more importantly, over 2300 people lost their land and their homes (sound familiar). No amount of protest or civil disobedience could stop the floodwaters. People were forced out, some physically removed and buildings were burned or became part of the lake bottom.
The economic, social and environmental impacts are still being felt today. This is a lasting wound and a similar fate will be felt by the former residents of Gaza. While the times and the situations are different, the trauma is the same.
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