Lev Tahor: By the Waters of Babylon. Part II

As I continue to read about Lev Tahor, there is one conclusion alone that I can make and that is that it is impossible, at least for me, to arrive at a judgement without hard evidence. In my opinion, none of the more serious allegations that have flown fast and furious have been proven. There are also some seriously puerile concerns which are so foolish, they would have approached the comical if they were not being used to assault the lives of human beings and provide entertainment for the spectators.

What I am saying is that the accusers have not done a competent job of proving their cases. In some instances, one can only conclude that this is because some of the allegations are simply false. In other instances, there is the added complexity of these allegations having been made by persons, agencies, religious bodies, lobby groups and even states which have obvious vested interests in the discrediting of, if not the outright destruction of, this community. If Lev Tahor is as oppressive and destructive and generally reprehensible as some deem it to be, and this is absolutely not my opinion with the evidence available to me at this point in time, the irony and tragedy will be that the lack of evidence and the equal lack of credibility of some of their accusers will allow them to avoid correction.

Everything is shrouded and there is not enough transparency. The media outlets must have felt the same frustration because they petitioned to have police documents unsealed and last month, a Quebec judge ordered the crown to unseal all files surrounding the investigation. These included documents containing information used to apply for the search warrants used to raid the homes of Lev Tahor and the result of a search warrant executed in Chatham and in Quebec. Media lawyer, Sebastien Pierre-Roy had argued that sealing that information was not necessary and Justice Normand Bonin agreed. According to Pierre Roy,
“The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled several times, that every time the police use their power to force its way into private property this should be open to scrutiny by the population at large and the media specifically,” SOURCE
The documents were to be handed over to Quebec police, who were given one week to edit out any information that could identify the children involved or hurt the Crown’s case.
"On Friday [7 February 2014], Postmedia News — which includes The Gazette — and several other media outlets petitioned Quebec Court Judge Normand Bonin to lift the seal on the seizure documents. The documents detail what was found during Sûreté du Québec raids last month of homes belonging to members of the Lev Tahor community in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts and in Chatham-Kent, Ont.

The other media outlets making representation Friday were The Toronto Star, CBC, The Globe and Mail, CTV, Quebecor Media and Shaw Media (Global News).

Bonin granted the request since there were no objections from lawyers representing Lev Tahor, the Crown, or Quebec’s Department of Youth Protection.

Crown prosecutors have until next Friday [14 February 2014] to submit the documents, which will likely be redacted to protect the names of the children involved. The Crown could also redact more parts of the documents so as not to harm its investigation, said Sébastien Pierre-Roy, the lawyer representing all the media outlets except for Quebecor." SOURCE
See also:  
Media lawyers fight exclusion order in Lev Tahor children case Thursday 6 March, 2104. 
Judge in Lev Tahor case delays ruling on release of court transcript. Friday 14 March, 2014.

I have not seen these documents but the allegations have been widely circulated.  No charges have to date been laid in connection with Quebec police investigations, and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

All I know for certain today is that I feel a heavy sadness for the children who have been separated from their parents. Only those who have experienced this will be able to fully identify and to agree that some children do wish for death when they lose contact with their parents. These children will feel it even more acutely since their world is their community and they have known nothing else but that. Their distinctiveness is founded upon and maintained by separation from many of the beliefs and ways of the common world. Now, although they have been placed with families that are as similar as can be found, that removal will still be experienced as an assault. It is an assault that began long ago with every intrusion by the outside world and amplified by the humiliation and insecurity that the adults in their community have been made to feel.

Some say that Rabbi Helbrans is wrong at this time to be conjuring up images of genocide or  Holocaust, that he is simply craftily playing on the emotions of sympathetic persons. I don't know. I guess what you take away from that association depends on your perspective. I don't need anyone to make connections between genocide and what is being done to groups of people all over this world who are not among or allied to the powerful. I don't have to be reminded about Nazis or concentration camps to understand holocaust. In my daily life I am just constantly aware of the little troubling occurrences in our societies that start initially like a trickle to fall upon our senses, lulling us into making excuses, into learning how to tweet and text and twibbon through the nagging doubts, how to make excuses for doing nothing, how to blame others, how to continue to graze, sleep and... what's that other thing people like to do?...until the onslaught has grown into a torrent and we are left holding our heads and wondering how things got so bad so quickly.

Perhaps the authorities were being proactive. Perhaps they felt that they had no choice but to satisfy themselves that everything is above board with this community. Perhaps they were sincerely doing their jobs, motivated only by concern and in no way influenced by sinister agents or motives.

Authorities, if you have real evidence, not planted or imaginary, that Lev Tahor is harming these children in any way, provide it now or return them to their parents. If you can provide credible evidence, and we are satisfied that your actions continue to be warranted, do the humane thing and consider remediation within the community so that the children can be left in situ. Why submit them to more trauma than they have ever suffered in their lives? All the adults within the community can reassess their situations and make decisions about what to do. I have read nowhere that members are not free to leave of their own volition if the community no longer meets their needs. These children belong with their families.

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On the matter of the allegation that Lev Tahor girls as young as fifteen are being married, whether married or married off, that is still legal in some countries, for example, Trinidad and Tobago:

Child Marriage in Trinidad and Tobago.
Child marriages still practised in T&T.
Sat: Better for girls to marry.

Our Marriage Act was reworded early in 2013 but the marriage of minors was not touched. Opposition MP Donna Cox expressed her concern, "Children should not be allowed to marry children...Marriage should be between consenting adults." The Minister of Legal Affairs responded that changing the age of consent for minors, which varies for boys and girls under Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and the Orisha faith, would require national consultation. As such, it would be addressed at a later date. SOURCE

Culture is a hell of a thing. It is the making as well as the breaking of us all.

But we all know suffering.  We are all in exile in Babylon. Be kind to each other and turn your backs on those who ask you to dig pits for your brothers and sisters.

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Psalm 137: 1-9
1 By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Zion.
2 As for our harps, we hanged them up upon the trees that are therein.
3 For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, and melody, in our heaviness
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth.
7 Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, "Down with it, down with it, even to the ground."
8 O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery
yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou hast served us.
9 Blessed shall he be that taketh thy children
and throweth them against the stones.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.


Unknown said...

I see that you understood the subject, if you could hear the girls talking to the media, for example, you would understand that their will to be in Lev Tahor is not because they do not know any other place. The girls that made the hunger strike are: well spoken, confident, and feel very good about living in Lev tahor and this is the reason that the authorities do not enable them to talk to the media

Shaul Boyer: Lev Tahor member that lives in Israel, because two of his girls were returned forcibly from Canada to Israel with an exit warrant delay that was set against them after they left Israel and still exists with no true reason against human rights of his family.

Maximilian C. Forte said...

A very big thanks for the work you have been doing. I share all of your doubts, but also I am increasingly anxious about the insincerity of the stated motives for what is apparently the outright persecution of this group. How "embarrassing" for Prime Minister Harper, that his official policy of pro-Zionism is, when put into practice, also capable of anti-Semitism.

Guanaguanare said...

Dear Shaul Boyer, Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I am trying, with the imperfect information available to me, to understand. I will write a proper reply to you as my next blog post. I'd appreciate any inputs from you. Hoping for a resolution of this nightmare.