Dr. Gerald Bull was the 20th century’s greatest ballistician. He headed a laboratory where he and his team of scientists created a revolutionary gun, which shot gun-rockets 200 miles into space and also revolutionized the design of field artillery. He was assassinated while he was in the process of building a space gun in Iraq. Ed.
Journalist William Lowther writes in his biography of Gerald Bull, “Arms and the Man, Iraq and the Supergun” that Bull, “grew up in Canada at a time when they were really no blacks there. He had no sensitivity to black problems because he had no exposure to black people.”
It was autumn, we were in the cool mountain air overlooking rolling hills of Eastern Quebec at Bull’s A-frame home, the largest in the world, at a place the Indians call Highwater, fifty miles from the city of Montreal. Bull, his general manager and I had met in Montreal and made the drive together. Highwater occupied 1,600 hectares and straddled both the United States and Canadian border at Montreal, near the villages of Mansonville, Cold Hollow and North Troy, Vermont. A cross-border road ran from the forest to the vacation home.
There were two sets of customs, Canadian on the
Montreal side and U.S. on the North Troy side. These were special agreements worked out amongst the USA government, the Canadian government and the International Boundaries Commission.
With my passport that meant that if I left the compound by the same gate at which I first arrived through, no passport was needed but if I exited through the other gate I needed to show it.
The General Manager was not born nor ever resided in Canada but nevertheless, had long been given a Canadian passport which facilitated easy exits and entrances.
Eagles soared overhead. Mimi was Bull’s wife. The son of Mimi’s sister had drunk a weed killer in a suicide attempt. The family sent him to South Africa to his uncle, their only brother, a priest in the black townships. Mimi and I spent the morning in the sun outside the eastern kitchen door near a kitchen garden and fish pools.
Hosts of new people were at the project and Bull brought them by for lunch and dinner along with regulars like a retired Colonel who worked for the National Security Council, a General who once headed US Army Intelligence; and a Cuban a long serving and loyal employee, whose home was next door in Vermont. Highwater was a time of relaxation and sports, hot dogs, hamburgers and fast food were the order of the day. No one organized anything. Today, Bull forgot that there were strange guests present - South Africans.
“Bring me my drink, you nigger.” Bull shouted.
“How dare you call him that?” Came an indignant interjection from a representative of apartheid, whose husband, as it was made public years later, was there to place an order for the most advanced and efficient killing machine of its kind, to kill blacks of Southern Africa. “I do not call them that.”
Bull called French Canadians niggers of Canada. He had great jokes about Pollocks. His vocabulary included white-trash, spikes, every derogatory name for every race, including Jews and Arabs. The practical joke terror was in deep doo-doo. No one came to his assistance: not niggers, the squaw girl, spikes, a pollock, or Mimi, his French-Canadian wife - the nigger of Canada.
“What do you call them?” Mimi asked.
“I called them friends.” The resident of apartheid said.
“See,” said Mimi, “dear, you must learn to call us friends.”