Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mostly A Good Week

That was a good week. I spent 3 nights/4 days away in Belgium to train NATO soldiers (mostly Air Force) on the intricit subtlties of my employer's software. The town of Mons is lovely to look at! So nice to walk through. So boring to stay in.

But the boring evenings were made up for three-fold by (1) Terry Pratchett, (2) French cuisine, and (4) uhm, (3) Belgian beer! The days needed no making up for. I was teaching people whom I very much enjoyed being with and working with. Lunches were always fun and class participation was high. I even got to attend a change of command parade and congratulate the new sector commander.

But amongst the enjoyable times, there was also a very sobering and nasty moment thanks to the BBC. Previously I was unaware of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, who was visiting relatives in Afghanistan when it was invaded by the United States. On July 7th, 2002, U.S. soldiers attacked Omar's location... a "terrorist camp." He was the only person to survive (although gravely wounded) and arrested for the "murder" of the one U.S. soldier lost in the attack. Since that time, Omar has been held and tortured and has spent roughly 1/3 of his life now in Guantanamo Bay. A third? That's right, because Omar was only 15 years old when he was arrested.

Omar is the last Western citizen still in custody in Gitmo. Why?

Just incase Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reads Blogger... let me state for the record that this makes me incredibly angry, ashamed, and quite frankly, left me feeling sick! Mr. Harper, I'm now feircely looking forward to voting against you! And I think this time around I'll do some campaigning around my expat communities, making sure Canadians are registered to vote. Until then, be warned that by writing this blog I've now informed my mother. You're in trouble mister!

The timing of this information was ironic. Just hours earlier I had stopped at an old palace in Grand Place (the town square) and read a plaque commemorating how Canadians liberated Belgium in the First World War. The last shots of the war were fired there, November 11th, 1918.

In happier news, Happy Birthday to the Ice Queen! July 17th was cellebrated the world over by people thankful to know her.

Inspite of a few rough patches in the middle, the training week went well. It ended on a good tone and included me staying on base a bit past class-time to enjoy some 1 Euro beers with the Comms guys. They were fun!

Finally home again, apparently for 4 weeks now, all I can say is that it is, of course, great to be back! 10 hours of sleep and a slow, quiet day have helped rejuvinate this old body. I'm hoping the clearing sky and improved weather will stay around while I head out tonight and rejuvinate the spirit. ;-)


Muslims Against Sharia said...

Hypocrisy of the "Repatriate Omar Khadr to Canada" Movement

As soon as the Gitmo interrogation tape of Omar Khadr hit the Internet, the blogosphere was flooded with demands to repatriate him to Canada. This wave is reminiscent of a Soviet campaign to free Luis Corvalán from the "fascist regime" of Augusto Pinochet thirty five years ago. The scenario is strikingly similar. A "victim" held by "fascist regimes" this time run by Bush and Harper, and a public outcry for justice. Except for the fact that Luis Corvalán didn't kill anyone and didn't fight for a terrorist group that wants to impose Sharia.

The "repatriate Khadr" crowd describes him as "a child", "a kid", "a boy", and even "a torture victim", with no facts to substantiate the torture claims notwithstanding. They complain about Khadr being mistreated, again, without anything to back up their claims. Some of them are outraged about "child abuse." And they all scream for justice.

They want justice? OK, let's talk about JUSTICE. What about justice for Sgt. First Class Christopher J. Speer, who was (according to an eyewitness) murdered by this "child"? What about justice for Tabitha Speer, who is a widow because of this "kid"? What about justice for Taryn and Tanner Speer, who are left without a father by this "a boy"? And what about all those Afghani civilians and NATO troops who are a little bit safer because this "torture victim" is behind bars? How many of these "repatriate Khadr" hypocrites concern themselves with justice for real victims? In literally hundreds of posts, we couldn't find a single one.

One would ask, what is the reason for this idiocy? The answer is simple. Ignorance. Complete and utter ignorance. Let's forget for a second that Omar Khadr killed Christopher Speer. Let's forget that Khadr's father was an al Qaeda financier. Let's forget that Khadr's family is known for it being al Qaeda sympathizers. Let's just remember what this "child" was fighting for in Afghanistan.

This is what Taliban-imposed Sharia looks like in real life:

Why don't all of you, bleeding heart demagogues go to Afghanistan and spend a day in a Taliban-controlled territory? And let's talk about Khadr when you get back. If you get back.

I Dive At Night said...

I was actually expecting all these comments, but not from one source and not so soon.

Firstly, an attacking soldier was killed... the one surviving enemy soldier (I don't doubt he was one) was a child by all standards of International law. What he was doing is defacto not his choice.

I sympathize with your cause against sharia law... but I'm more in favour of continuing the well established legal traditions of my own country. And right now, I feel that being the last western citizen still in gitmo is enough. It's 100% illegal by all Canadian standards... and since they didn't tell me when they arrested or interogated the 15 year old boy, I resent the accusation of the "hypocrisy".

The al Qaedo connection is actually that Omar's father once met bin Laden. If that's the standard, then GREAT! Can we also arrest GHWB and GWBjr.? Their associations (100's of millions of associations) with bin Ladens is more than well documented.

FYI, the "torture" bit is direct from the U.S. State Departement and reported through the BBC and CBC. You can call it interogation, but sleep depravation for 3 weeks is torture. (Assuming we're applying the nearly century old international consensus.)

I think ultimately if we can remove the hypocracy from western governments then perhaps we all have a chance of freedom. I suggest we use Omar as a start. If he spends 20 years in Canadian prison for murder, fine, but at least then he will have had a trial with a laywer and evidence not including confessions signed under extreme stress. Period.

Because ultimately I'm Canadian and nothing less is accepatable.

Muslims Against Sharia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I Dive At Night said...

Hi again MAS, thanks for your attempt at a second comment... a reBUTTal as it were, but that one's getting deleted.

>>"What he was doing is defacto not his choice."

>That's your opinion, and quite a few people would disagree with that.

Yup, that's my opinion. And being Canadian means I'm obligated to act upon it. Wouldn't it be nice if it worked this way for everyone, everywhere?

I hope that in the future, your attempts to change the world are fueled more by love than hate; more by what could be and not what was.

Charline said...

Thanks Mo! You are not the only Canadian who is saddened, ashamed and disgusted by the Omar Khadr situation!

I Dive At Night said...

Char! *hug* Thanks, it's good to hear. And I understand that the "Omar Story" has made quite a stir in Canada. That's heartening.