A statue of John A. MacDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada will be removed from the entrance of Victoria Hall in Vancouver this Saturday. The reason being that the statue is a symbolic reminder of the colonial atrocities against Canada’s First Nations People. They were the subject of aggressive assimilation when they were put into residential schools back in 1880. MacDonald is considered to be behind the idea of these residential schools, which are the epitome of the ‘white man’s burden’. There is a very real fear of ‘difference’ in the colonial mentality, which the Euro-Canadian government wished to get rid of through a boarding school style education and consequent integration of the indigenous people. Residential schools were typical of high horsed colonial benevolence, where the Euro-Canadian’s believed they were doing the indigenous population a ‘favor’ by enforcing their own cultural practices of an entirely different people, who had greater rights to their own land in the first place.
Pakistan is a post-colonial nation-state (no kidding?). While some of us understand the nuances of the colonial project and don’t buy the ‘but they left us railways’ argument, others are still very much in awe of the colonial impact on this country. We tend to revel in the ‘richness’ of our pre-partition history, by unconsciously practicing the same elitism inherent in the Canadian government’s idea of residential schools. Majority of us still won’t send the maid’s children to the same private school as our own. We send them to school thinking we are doing ‘our part’ in helping out the lower class, but when really we are just perpetuating a hierarchical system similar to the residential schools of Canada, where real opportunity would still not be based on merit but your social class. So yes, we should think hard over such global developments.