D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Autobiography



Remembrance of Things Past
 

Recently, I read a story about a Parliamentary page who used that platform as a springboard to a political career. My story is different. I never fully developed an interest in politics. It wasn't as if I didn't have the potential to become a politician. My father regularly ran for re-election to the Board of Education. At election time, he would strap on a big sign on his little car. My sister and I would also go door to door delivering pamphlets which reminded the electorate of my dad's accomplishments if not his existence.

My father was also an ardent supporter of the Liberal Party. In his opinion, the charismatic Trudeau was the answer to every problem. I was rather ambivalent about Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I was aware that he had had Marxist ideas during the 1940's, he provided the intellectual foundation for the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and then became a stalwart federalist and anti-separatist. I was confused about his views on Communist China and Cuba. Oh, it seemed he liked revolutionary leaders like Mao and Castro. I could not reconcile those views about these communist countries and its leaders with his views about Canada and Canadian values. At any rate, he was nominated as leader of the Liberal Party at the convention held on April 03, 1968.

My own view of politics though was moulded more by my mother than my father. It was expected of my mother that she would vote Liberal. Anything less would cancel my father's own vote which would be intolerable to him. Of course, voting is private and my mother privately voted for whom she chose. In terms of the vote for Board of Education we were instructed by my father to place a "strong" vote rather than a "weak" vote. A strong vote was for him and no one else. We meekly followed my father and disregarded all other qualified candidates--some of which were his best friends.

The reader is well aware of my support for the civil rights of the peasants of China. This inclination began a long time before I met Sun Dawu--in fact, a decade before. I was teaching the best and brightest students at the most prestigious institutes and schools in Beijing. My students were sons and daughters of peasant farmers. However, there was one student in every class who held a privileged position as a member of the Communist Party. He acted as class monitor. He reported to the "Department of Propaganda" which was just down the hall. Ostensibly, he was there to help, but, in actuality, he was there to report on any independent thought and speech of students or teacher. This student was guaranteed an "iron rice bowl" by the Party which meant that he was set for life. To me this was a travesty of justice and an intrusion into our class.

The political revolution which had begun at Tiananmen Square three years earlier in 1989 had failed. There was no tolerance for political dissent nor for political expression outside the Party or for that matter inside the Party. What was encouraged was monolithic or uniform thought which meant no thought at all.

                                 

My concern though about social injustice predated my stay in China and my teen years in Canada. My interest began in the United States during the year 1957 when I was just five years old. It began in the state of Florida where I visited as a tourist with my mother and younger sister. I entered a world of separation and segregation which was very alien to me. I have no pictures of that world because only pleasant pictures were taken at that time. The images though of hate and racism of the "black man" and indigenous person were seared into my mind.

There were two classes of people. One class was white and the other class was non-white. The non-white class was put in its place through discriminatory laws, institutions and authorities. This situation was shocking to me. I had seen nothing like it in my sheltered environment in a middle-class white family in Canada. In a sense, I was like a young prince who had been sheltered in his palace and then went outside to learn about poverty, disease and death.

There were different lines for whites and blacks at the bus stations. If you wished to buy tickets then there was a white and a black line. I'm not sure what Hispanics, Asians or Indians did. I only saw things in terms of black and white because of the situation. I was white and a Canadian white was apparently equal to an American white; although, I was not sure about that because I was a foreigner in a foreign land.

My mother had a 3D camera which snapped colour pictures. They were examined on a Viewmaster in 3D. It was exceptional technology. However, my memories more closely match the black and white archival images that can now be seen in museums and on the internet. Everything was separate in black and white. There were separate fountains for black and white, separate washrooms and separate doors.


                                  


I sat on a segregated bus. The whites sat at the front and the blacks sat at the back. The whites got on first and if there were any seats left then the blacks filled them at the back.

As a young boy in Canada I had always been taught to act gentlemanly to a woman. The woman would always be offered the chance to go through the door first as I held it open. I created quite a stir on one bus when I offered to wait for a black woman while she exited the bus. She refused to leave first. The white driver explained to my mother that I would have to leave first. Apparently, this was a year after the Supreme Court had ruled that buses were not to be segregated, but behaviour remained the same.
 

                             

However, blacks were not the only ones who were oppressed in the Floridian south. There were the Seminole Indians who lived on the reservations. The poverty that I saw there was unbelievable. I was embarrassed by my affluence and my whiteness.

I suppose these impressions had a powerful impact on my thoughts and feelings concerning social injustice thus molding my character. Later, there were two leaders of both the civil rights and then the anti-Vietnam movement who influenced me the most in 1968 at the time that Pierre Elliot Trudeau became Prime Minister in Canada. They were Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Francis Kennedy. I unequivocally and unambiguously and unambivalently supported both.


                             

Martin Luther King Jr. was the founder of the civil rights movement. He promoted non-violence and civil disobedience as means to an end. In my words, I would say he supported the use of the ballot rather than the bullet. As such, though, he got the attention of the FBI on the domestic front. It was when he expanded the civil rights movement to protest the war in Vietnam that he got the attention of the CIA.

He was shot by James Earle Ray on April 04, 1968 or a day after Trudeau won his nomination. However, the King family did not believe that Ray fired the shot. On December 09, 1999, Emily Yellen of the New York Times reported that a civil case brought by the King family was settled and that "After four weeks of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury in the wrongful-death case found that Loyd Jowers as well as ''others, including governmental agencies'' had been part of a conspiracy."

After the assassination Ray travelled to Toronto, Canada where he lived on Ossington Avenue and also on Dundas Street West for more than a month. He spent at least eight hours a day at both locations. He secured Canadian birth certificates and Canadian passports under the names Edward Bridgman and Ramon George Sneyd--the latter a Toronto police officer. He fled to London, England.


                          

As a teen I had a poster of Kennedy on my wall. He had been Attorney General of the United States and one of the leaders of the civil rights movement. He won the primary election in California for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. However, on that day of June 05, 1968 he was assassinated. My mother knocked at my door and woke me up. She told me the news. I lost my political innocence at that moment.

In retrospect, I say that in my own small way I was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in China during the arrest of Sun Dawu in 2003. My choice was to continue my support for him which was the hard way in a communist country or take the easy and more profitable way and just look the other way. I chose the right way and supported him and his Group. He has not disappointed China with the development of the Private Enterprise Constitutional System which puts people ahead of profits, democratic elections and the establishment of a model city.

It may be said that the hope of the civil rights movement in China died with the imprisonment of its civil rights lawyers, the silencing of the Liberal economist Mao Yushi (who won the 2012 Milton Friedman Prize) and with the death of Liu Xiaobo (who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize). It seems there are only two routes left. Either there is reformation fostered by members of the Communist Party led by a Core Leader who has been consolidating power or there is revolution by the Chinese from outside of the Party. The Communists came to power by revolution.


D.卡尔顿 罗西

2017年8月26日