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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seven Years Late

It was the British politician, William Gladstone, in the 19th Century who first said, "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied." Three weeks ago, we were reminded of this in the case of
Omar Khadr, a Canadian, being held in the US Guantanamo Prison Camp. He is the last westerner held there and he was a child of 15 when he was sent there seven years ago. Cruelly, he has languished there ignored as a child soldier, at times tortured, denied his rights, and toyed with in the Kangaroo Court the US set up to give the appearance of justice.

Worst still, he has been badly served by the Canadian government, first under the Liberals and now under the Conservatives. They have not stood up for this Canadian child who should have been protected by international laws, of which we and the US are signatories : The Rights of the Child and the Protocol for Child soldiers.

Finally, Justice O"Reilly of the federal court told the Government that they were not doing the moral and legal right thing by ignoring the plight of Omar Khadr. He basically demanded that the Federal Government try to have Omar Khadr repatriated to Canada, where he can be granted justice, a fair trial and rehabilitation as a child soldier.

In a long and scathing judgment the judge laid out the moral and legal requirements on how the Government had not fulfilled its duty toward Omar Khadr.

This pattern of behaviour is not new for the current Conservative government. They have failed to do all that they should be expected to do for Canadians who have been in trouble in foreign countries. I need not remind people at how the government failed Maher Arar. In the end, they were required to pay him $10 million dollars for their neglect and his pain and suffering. Currently, the case of , Canadian Abousfian Abelrazik, trapped in the Canadian Embassy in Sudan, caught up in a catch-22 nightmare in his effort to return to Canada is a horror story prolonged by the lack of moral and legal action by the government.

The case of Omar Khadr is long and complicated. He was originally accused of killing an American soldier among other "crimes". He was with some adults caught up in a firefight with American soldiers. The Amercians resorted in dropping two 5oo pound bombs on the compound the insurgents were in. Omar survived. For year the US claimed, as the last "man" standing he threw the grenade that killed the soldier. Last year, the prosecution accidently let his lawyers see an eye witness report by one of the soldiers which said there was at least one other person alive which the soldier killed and then shot Omar in the back twice, which left him badly wounded. It is unlikely a fair trial would ever convict Omar on this charge. Of course, as a child soldier he should not have been charged at all. He should have been repatriated to his country and undergone rehabilitation.

If you want to watch a short documentary on Omar Khadr's case go here to see one by the CBC that is a little dated but the basic story is told. And Wikipedia has a long report on him.

In the last three weeks their has been silence from the government. In the face of the legal demand that they make an effort to get Omar returned to Canada, they at first said they were going to appeal the decision. All there is is SILENCE. One get the feeling that they are ignoring the court and hope to delay doing what is called for. They can delay long enough that Khadr's case will be restarted June 1 making his return to Canada more difficult.

It is an outrageI The conservative government is being contemptuous of the legal direction from the Federal Court. They have an opportunity to finally do the right thing. With the Obama administration wanting to close down Quantanamo Prison, Canada could help them out by taking Omar Khadr off their hands. As a constitutional lawyer, I am sure Obama knows that his detention is illegal and the US is required to treat him as a child soldier.

We are all shamed by Canada and a Canadian citizen being treated with such contempt, no only by our close neighbour and ally, but by our own government which fails to do what is legal and moral on behalf of one of our children, caught up in the American Gulag.


At 4:32 p.m., Blogger possum said...

2 quotes from my Sunday newsletter (tomorrow's):
What a cruel thing is fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world. – Robert E Lee!
If you support any offensive war, consider yourself just as culpable of murder as the most insane serial killer. – Sarah Bellum

I struggle with the need some seem to have for war, for inflicting death and pain on others... And then there is the problem with the child soldier... he kills as passionately as the older soldiers and sometimes even with more passion because he does not understand the gravity of his actions or the pain they will create.
Can these young men be brought back into a "normal" society? Can they ever return to what might be considered a normal life?
And then, what of the ******** who caused this whole thing to be, anyway?
My heart breaks for the pain we inflict on ourselves as we inflict it on others.
And thanks, Philip, for informing those who might never have known about this otherwise. Sad job, but somebody had to do it.

At 7:35 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

With a number of evangelicals in the Conservative party, I can't resist trotting out the old line: "Some people are so heavenly minded that they're no earthly good." OTOH, I don't know what machinations are at work here and shouldn't try to guess who's to blame.

At 6:15 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

That story makes me so ill! What is wrong with "humans" that they could willingly treat a child like that? Children need to be loved, not thrown in a cell and tortured over a LIE! The whole war was started over a lie. It's time to end it, bring the troops home and let those "terrorists" in Guantanamo back to their homes.

At 10:49 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--I was familiar with the Arer case (what a travesty of "justice"), but the others were unknown to me.
This so-called war on terror has more likely been a war on civil liberties.
So sad that the same disease that has wreaked vengeance on the U.S. has infected Canada also.
As usual, I come to your blog place to be challenged, informed, and stirred.

At 2:18 p.m., Blogger Casey said...

Philip...this is the very best post I have seen on this subject.

I am waiting as see if our government will finally do something.

I wonder what it must have been like for this kid at 15. His father takes him to Afghanistan and puts him in the situation he did. I dont believe the boy had any real say or understanding of what it meant.

My goodness..he was in the middle of a firefight. People shooting at him...imagine the trauma from that event alone. Very sad and terrible situation.


At 12:36 a.m., Blogger Janet said...

The whole Guantanamo situation is appalling. I am thoroughly disappointed in President Obama's failure to completely shut it down as he promised. This poor boy needs to go home. Perhaps the Canadian government has been lax about insisting on his repatriation, but America is squarely at fault for keeping him in the first place. We should be ashamed. And most of us are.

At 9:56 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.


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