Perrin : Britain must apologize

Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, January 14, 1999 Perrin: Britain must apologize says Lafayette attorney accusing the crown of genocide, other crimes against humanity. - Ron Delhomme, St. Martin Bureau Editor - Lafayette

Warren Perrin refuses to quit chasing the Queen's carriage in his demand for apology from Great Britain for the deportation of thousands on Acadians from Nova Scotia in the 1750s. Perrin, a Lafayette attorney is accusing the Crown of severe breaches of fundamental British and international laws, genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Should the British refuse to apologize, or if they continue hesitating, Perrin says he intends to file his petition with United Nations International War Crimes Tribunal, the European Court of Human Rights or a U.S. federal court.

His ten year campaign to have the British government officially the Acadian exile has gained support around the world, and the momentum continues to increase with the advent of FrancoFête '99 and the World Acadian Congress, hosted this year by Louisiana.

Dozens of newspaper articles and other forms of publicity worldwide have appeared since Perrin first filed his petition in 1990 but 1998 was a banner year, Perrin says.

The national film board of Canada approved the making of a documentary, "Le Pardon," which begins filming in March. It will focus on Perrin's petition, the motives and misdeeds of the British and the benefits of an apology. The British Broadcasting Corp. presented another documentary on the exile last year, and WWL television in New Orleans presented an editorial commentary which called for an apology.

Other articles have appeared in newspapers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and in National Geographic, Readers' Digest, USA Today and numerous Canadian, European and African newspapers. The Los Angeles Times Magazine calls Perrin the oneman Acadian Liberation Front. Locally, Perrin's petition has been around so long few remember it. Those who do generally agree with him, although the larger concepts about which he speaks are often lost.

What's a tyrant to do? Perrin's position is simple, he says. In order for the British government to have a respected voice in the area of international human rights, it should use this opportunity to change its image as one of the violators in the history of modern civilization, he said. He has even provided them with a proposed apology:

The Crown expresses its profound regret and apologizes unreservedly for the loss of lives because of the circumstances arising from the deportation of the Acadians from Acadie and the resultant devastation of property and social life, it reads in part.

That's all he wants. That, and an inquiry into the deportation; an official end to the Acadian exile by a declaration anulling the Order of Deportation; and a gesture of goodwill by the creation of a monument to memorialize the end of the exile.

Then, Perrin says, can come forgiveness and reconciliation.

Last year alone, Britain apologized to Israelis for the confiscation of Jewish bank accounts during World War II and announced a judicial inquiry into the 1972 killing of 13 Catholic protestors in Northern Ireland. There is no statute of limitations on genocide, Perrin says.