Wednesday morning, we started for the Bay of Fundy.
At the tourist office in Horton’s Landing, we met our first black person in the Maritimes. She confirmed that, indeed, she was a rare specimen in this part of Canada. “Let’s say that the social situation does not inspire people of colour to come and settle here. I’m born here, but I still don’t feel much at home or too welcome”.
This reminded me of a discussion we had with Sasha over the summer about Africville and the documentary film about it, which told of how the black community was duped, discriminated against, despised for being discriminated against, and then chased away. After the 1812 war between the U.S. and Great Britain ended in 1815, Black loyalists were promised freedom and land in the north in exchange for their loyalty to the British crown. As usual, of course, this promise was a lie and these people found themselves slaving for atrocious wages for the wealthy and middle class whites in the various northern states of the U.S. and Canadian provinces. They couldn’t afford land or even basic decent living conditions, with the exception of the Elgin settlement in Buxton, Ontario, where the personal investment of the abolitionist and former slave owner, Reverend William King, oversaw that the people who escaped from slavery found stability in order to find the strength to re-build a healthy community.
About 400 people of colour settled in a self-sufficient community in Halifax, which was known as Africville. They had little of possessions, but much of dedication and love. They built their own homes, grew their own food, had the ocean, each other and freedom. The documentary conveyed the sense of dignity and community that the residents shared. The neighbourhood was situated on a higher ground next to the North End Richmond neighbourhood – that same area that was leveled down by the explosion of 1917. Wikipedia entry on Africville mentions that while much effort and aid was given to restore the white neighbourhood, “Africville received little of the reconstruction and none of the modernization which was invested into other parts of the city after the explosion”.
But then, in 1961, the meticulously, hand-built homes and gardens were torn down in a bid by the government to allocate it for development (ironic terminology) purposes. The film conveys the tragedy of this betrayal and the violence against the spirit of that community as the residents were transferred, mostly to social housing. Much controversy surrounded this unjust eviction, in light of which, the government froze the development, but instead of returning the land to the residents and investing in their infrastructure and safety, the government officials used part of it to build the highway interchange servicing the Mackay Bridge, while the rest went for the Seaview Memorial Park – yes, just like with Poplar Avenue, Cedar Lane, or the Caribou Provincial Park; murder and injustice masked by the symbolic and the violence of naming.
June offered Ljuba to pick some rocks from a collection of minerals that were being given away. Ljuba was glad to and enquired more about the minerals and the rocks, so June explained how to get to the rock and fossil museum nearby.
Fossils hold secrets of thousands and millions of years of life.
We picked wild berries.
Some of the variety of local housing:
Grapes grew all over Wolfville. We stuffed ourselves full with them. But then, Janet, a local resident warned us that Annapolis Valley and the whole area around has been poisoned by chemical fertilizers and the rest of agricultural concoctions. She said it was a strange mix here of artists, farmers, a large home-schooling and unschooling community. The farming was oppressive but they couldn’t do anything about it. “We bought a piece of land up over Wolfville, thinking that it’d give my son and me a break from being trapped indoors in the city. But now, he’s sick all the time from the smell and poisons that the farmer behind us applies. He’s a few kilometres away, but we still get it. It’s a bit easier for my asthma and allergies, because I’m away at work in Wolfville most of the time. But I’m really worried about him. But what can we do? The farmer could have had a small scale organic operation, but then that won’t do it for him. He exports it to other provinces. It’s all about whom the law protects. So, I don’t know…”
A bit of Bulgakov: a road sign pointing to spiritual connections and a cat. Tony, in Little River, told us that the whole area was a Master and Margarita novel, abound with Bulgakovskian writers and artists.
Margaretsville, on the Bay of Fundy, must be a testimony to the literature of the supernatural.
We spent a few hours strolling along the shore at the lowest tide. Again, we saw no signs of biodiversity.
Finally, a bird here and New Brunswick on the other side of the Bay:
Dad and daughter racing towards me:
Stephen Cuzma, an artist from Manhattan, has been spending his summers here for the past countless decades because he fell in love with the Bay. “When I die, I want my ashes to be spread over this water. My lawyer has written it so nicely in my will: May the waters take me there where I be the ocean foam. I’m quite a character; no longer allowed to drive ’cause I’m deemed a menace on the road. So, my friend drove me here and had an excuse to stay and enjoy the air. The whales used to come here all the time. But I don’t see them anymore. Yeah, they’ve killed all the fish and now they have recession. Nothing to do. Everyone’s depressed. But I keep painting. Hey, I’m used to recession. My whole life’s been a recession”. We took Stephen home, looked at his art, and enjoyed the view from his living room.
The vista from Stephen’s modest home:
During the 3 days we spent on Digby Neck, I gave two talks at Digby High School about the state of the world and why the students, some of whom are to graduate this year, should care about it and should look at the root of the problem, because, none of the bla-bla-bla that has been enriching the oppressors so far has worked or will work. “If you don’t regain your ability to empathise with the world, you will keep killing until there is no one left to kill. You know better than me that there is no fish left in the waters and no wild-life around you”. An 86 year-old neighbour lives in the area. She doesn’t even leave her home, let alone use the lawn. But she had exterminators come and kill a family of 10 raccoons in search of worms, because they were messing up the artificially furnished carpet of grass. Yet, she believed that this lawn, which she didn’t need and didn’t use, belonged to her because a piece of paper signed – NOT between her and the raccoons, but – with some guys in some office, stated that she could choose to do whatever she willed on “her” “property”. Brutal – 10 lives taken because of one old woman’s whim. The same with the coyotes in Cape Breton. The media keeps endlessly boasting about human revenge against the whole tribe of coyotes, killing them indiscriminately to find the coyote believed to have mauled the young woman to death. Coyotes don’t usually attack people, but with all the space and the food taken away by human animals and all the individuals and species of various animals, humans, and plants killed, what if all the raccoons, the fish, the coyotes, the people of colour are to take revenge for the murder and betrayal of millions of their own?
A few students appeared to be genuinely touched. Yet, the minute the bell rang, the years of dressage proved their efficiency as they jumped up, switched off, and most of them with blank stares moved on to the next session of torture.
Sasha said that the view from the school lobby reminded him of star-trek: a large glass wall looking over the bay, that was bright and perfect and totally out of reach because the young people were incarcerated here for the best part of the day.
As for me, the elevated glass lobby made me think of “We”, the 1920 science fiction book by E. Zamyatin, in which the civilised human world was caged up in glass and wilderness was forbidden. The tragedy in the novel amounted to the loss of all hope and ability to remember the wild past. While the corridors made me think of a combination of hospitals and films about life after death, where souls travel endlessly through sterile labyrinths in search of light, but that light comes only at the expense of giving up this body and this world:
Also, during our visit, Tony and Anne-Marie, our hosts, took us swimming and kayaking in the lake with their friend Cindy, her grandson and his friend. Cindy is an American who has moved here a long time ago, but not before she had learnt Russian and been to Leningrad. After the lake, we picked veggies from her garden and prepared a delicious meal in the wood.
Ljuba and Travis:
Cindy of the moonlit lake:
The Digby Heritage museum mural testifies that the euro-centric vision of the Darwinist narrative views Time as a Natural ally of white supremacy and the evolution of the world towards whiteness. “Don’t blame us for anything. It’s the tides of time that did it”.
1. Illegal aliens from Europe come and bring the kidnapped Africville folks along.
2. Mikmaqs share their “primitive” knowledge of healthy living that the white folks then modernise with trains, pesticides, guns, carcinogens, et al:
3. Forget the Mikmaqs, the coloured folk of Africville, the whole diversity thing. We’ve got it all fixed. It’s called evolution or the survival of the fittest over Time with its Tides; and, the fittest is the one who can kill’em all and rise to rule the world of poverty, misery, and death.
Same spot at low tide:
Walking around the bay, as usual, no crabs in sight, no oysters, no fish. However, we found this object, brought to you from the Ukraine, by the possibility for globalist exploitation and cross-national participation in ravaging the ocean: a tube with cream against foot fungus:
Ljuba noticed this sign: “Mama, look, they say that people shouldn’t throw trash because they won’t be able to fish if they killed all the fish – not because it hurts the fish and other animals”.
Of course, that’s why it doesn’t work, which made me think of the ending in the Planet of the Apes, when George Taylor finally finds out the truth about humans: “O’ my God! …We finally really did it. [Screaming:] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”
But, if we stop cold in our madness, right now, we might still have a chance not to.
Continued in part 11