Sto­ries, not there for the telling

Northern Pen - - Local Mayors Look Back At 2018 - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS BY EVAN CA­REEN THE LABRADORIAN HAPPY VAL­LEY-GOOSE BAY

When I set out to write this ar­ti­cle, I was hop­ing to hear sto­ries of wartime ex­pe­ri­ences passed along by First World War veter­ans to fam­ily mem­bers.

As I spoke to more peo­ple who knew veter­ans, how­ever, it be­came ap­par­ent these men sel­dom, if ever, spoke about the war. So, I changed my course and set out to an­swer why this was the case.

To that end, I sought the opin­ion of a Me­mo­rial Univer­sity his­tory pro­fes­sor. He em­pha­sized that the men wanted to move on from their ex­pe­ri­ences and felt only fel­low veter­ans could un­der­stand what they went through. I feel the story at­tempts to se­ri­ously pro­vide in­sight into the minds of men who were oth­er­wise silent about their wartime ex­pe­ri­ences. In that way, it gives them a voice – a voice re­mind­ing us that we can never truly un­der­stand what they went through and their ex­pe­ri­ences be­long to them and them alone.

I learned, through pur­su­ing and writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, that they have ev­ery right to keep their ex­pe­ri­ences to them­selves. And we, in turn, must hon­our that.

When asked what my favourite story of 2018 was I was con­flicted about choos­ing this. It’s the most im­por­tant story I’ve writ­ten this year, in my opin­ion, and one that should con­cern peo­ple more.

It’s deeply con­cern­ing that the prov­ince is waf­fling on whether to clearcut the Muskrat Falls reser­voir based on what ap­pears to be noth­ing more than the op­po­si­tion of one of the groups in­volved in the In­de­pen­dent Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee. Nowhere in the terms of ref­er­ence for the IEAC does it say the rec­om­men­da­tions have to be unan­i­mous, but the gov­ern­ment is us­ing it as a rea­son to hold off on mak­ing this de­ci­sion, which could have long last­ing im­pacts on all the peo­ple of Labrador, not just one group.

Should the opin­ion (and it’s noth­ing but an opin­ion) of one stake­holder mean the rest of the peo­ple of Labrador should be sub­jected to the po­ten­tial poi­son­ing of the ecosys­tem? Of course, this hasn’t got­ten much trac­tion in the over­all scope of the Muskrat Falls saga. With the in­quiry go­ing on, peo­ple are wor­ried about the money trail and whose fault it is. Peo­ple are con­cerned their power bills will rise. That’s the hot topic, not the poi­son­ing of the Lake Melville ecosys­tem. Evan Ca­reen

STEPHEN ROBERTS / THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Wil­fred Boyd, 87, holds a pic­ture of his fa­ther Joseph Boyd who served in the First World War and his brother, Arthur Boyd, who served in Sec­ond World War, in his St. An­thony home.

Stephen Roberts

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