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Soldier comes home to Caledonia

Left Afghanistan to return to native-resident clashes

Dana Borcea
Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 12, 2006)

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

Attacks on civilians, a mob of angry residents and police in riot gear was what one soldier's homecoming looked like when he returned to Caledonia on the weekend on a two- week leave of duty from Afghanistan.

After making the 27-hour journey from his base in Kandahar, Sergeant Daryl Schuch climbed into bed Friday night with a police helicopter hovering overhead.

By morning, the smoke had cleared from the previous night's clashes that saw police face off with residents angry at the OPP's apparent inaction after several people were injured in confrontations with Six Nations protesters. But the gloom lingered.

"I'm angry," said Schuch about the dispute that has consumed this once peaceful community.

"I'm very angry, but not at anyone in particular."

From his front porch, Schuch has a clear view of the 40-hectare tract of land slated for a housing development that has been occupied by native protesters since Feb. 28.

He points to the native flags a few hundred metres from his house that weren't there when he left for pre-deployment training last October.

He said, however, that he wasn't surprised by the tension and violence.

"I knew what I was coming home to."

His wife Jana, who works in the same locally based 705 communications squadron as her husband, has kept him informed by phone and e-mail.

Schuch was most concerned about delays his wife might face in trying to get one of their two daughters to hospital in Hagersville in an emergency.

Sitting in a rocking chair with his seven- and four-year-old daughters clambering to curl up on his lap, Schuch looks very much at home. In fact, he looks like he never left.

But the separation has been very real and often trying for the whole family.

Since their father has been gone, his young daughters have witnessed yelling matches at the recently removed Argyle Street barrier.

They were sent to their grandmother's house in Waterdown after the town lost power due to a vandalized transformer.

There have been a lot of questions and even tears but Schuch, 37, shrugs off suggestions from friends and neighbours that he left one war zone to come home to another.

He has stood at too many military funeral parades in Afghanistan this year and knows the difference.

The death of Corporal Paul Davis -- one of two Canadian soldiers killed in an armoured vehicle rollover in March -- hit Schuch particularly hard.

Davis left behind a wife and two young children.

The self-described "career reservist" with nearly 20 years of military experience was at Oka in 1990, which he described as a far more volatile situation.

He said that as a soldier, he empathizes with the OPP officers manning the lines in Caledonia who have to follow orders.

But unlike many of his Caledonia neighbours, he does not want to see the army called in.

"This isn't what we do," said Schuch who described the responsibility of securing the area as, "strictly a police matter."

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