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Words Mean Something

Argh. Yet again I'm going to have a go at what passes for journalism this days. I just heard on the radio about the discovery of a "mass grave" containing the bodies of more 200 children on the grounds of an old Indian Residential School in British Columbia. But there is no mass grave. What the ground penetrating radar found were more than 200 unmarked graves. Anyone who thought about it would realise that ground radar would not be able to give an accurate figure for how many bodies were in a mass grave. But "mass grave" is way more emotive, makes you think of Rwanda or Bosnia. Something over 200 unmarked graves in grounds of an old school is bad enough; though it's possible that old wooden cross grave markers may have rotted away over the years.  The group that paid for the radar search repudiated the mass grave label weeks ago  but that hasn't stopped many so called journalists using the description in the past few days. The Residential School System involved putting Indian children into boarding schools in an ill-judged  bid to help assimilate them into mainstream society.  Cruelty, abuse and neglect were all too often features of life in the schools. I wonder if we'll ever find out what killed the kids at the BC school. Epidemic childhood diseases used to claim many lives - especially if the youngsters were from remote communities. 

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