a shameful state of affairs

I really never intended for this blog to be so political. Honest.

Some issues really do need more exposure, though, & since I have this place to vent, might as well use it.

Racism continues to rear its ugly head in Canadian life. I'm ashamed of our current federal regime, led by Harper & his band of neoCons, and of everyone (including some of my own family) who voted for them. They're doing their utmost to ruin our country's international reputation, and sadly, they're succeeding all too well. I'm also ashamed that the opposition in Parliament has been so ineffectual in protesting against their actions. What we need most is for the opposition to coalesce so that their minority government is ousted & can be defeated at the next election. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Two major cases ongoing now:

1) The federal government is appealing a ruling of a lower court that would bring home Omar Khadr from Guantanamo.

Khadr was all of 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan, after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a USAmerican soldier, and has been interned in Guantanamo Bay for the past 7 years, awaiting trial for murder, conspiracy & support of terrorism.

This man deserves a fair trial, and as a Canadian citizen (born in Toronto), it should be in a Canadian court. After so long a denial of due process, our Federal Court of Appeal ruled that his Charter rights had been denied and he should be brought home. Our mean spirited neoCon government is appealing this ruling to the Supreme Court, who have yet to decide if they will review the case. It's to be hoped they won't.
How can this one man, who was 15 at the time of his alleged actions, be considered such a threat to our national security that it warrants an appeal to the Supreme Court to keep him incarcerated in a foreign internment camp? How can our elected officials continue to bully this individual in such an ugly way?

We have jailed mass murderers & other violent offenders for a shorter time than he has already served, in what is known to be dire conditions, where torture has been a factor in treatment of detainees.

A key quote from a recent article: "In his decision, O'Reilly pointed out that Khadr is the last citizen of any Western country held at Guantanamo. Other countries have repatriated their citizens." I'm ashamed that Canada has not seen fit to do so, & continues to emulate the now (thankfully) defunct Bush/Cheney administration in their illegal & immoral acts.

2) At least 2 Canadians have been stranded for lengthy periods in African countries on spurious passport issues.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud, a Canadian citizen, was stranded in Kenya for 3 months because embassy officials thought she didn't look enough like her passport photo & she was accused of being an imposter. It took her insistence on a DNA test to prove her identity and get them to back down. She is now suing our federal government (i.e. the taxpaying citizens) for their negligence & failure to support her. I hope she wins, even if I'm paying for part of the settlement.

There is at least one other Canadian citizen, Abdihakim Mohamed, who has been stranded, also in Kenya, for 3 years. Clearly, the staff of the embassy in Kenya need some serious retraining, at the very least. (The "diplomat" in charge has been recalled -- it's a start.)

It's no coincidence that all 3 of the cases here involve Canadians who are also Muslims.

And this from a regime that claims it is innocent of ethnic profiling. Appalling.


celebrating a life well-lived: Muriel Duckworth

Muriel Duckworth, a lifelong peace activist, has died aged 100.

She lived her convictions, becoming a Quaker and participating in numerous humanitarian organizations & causes related to social justice.
While strong in her own views, she remained open-minded, often bringing a note of realism & compassion to her activism. She refused to mount protests during Remembrance Day celebrations, understanding that to do so would make light of the honest mourning of those dead in conflicts around the world, regardless of the underlying justice of the causes in which they had died.

Her achievements have been well-cited elsewhere, so I won't burden this post with them. If you are interested, these are good places to start:




If I were arranging her wake, I'd be sure to include Buffy Ste Marie's "Universal Soldier", along with Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side" and "Masters of War". She might not agree entirely with my choices, but I think they're fitting ones. I don't agree with her religious convictions, but I admire her dedication & the causes she supported.

Thanks, Muriel, for a life well-lived. We need more like you.