Sunday, January 17, 2016
Omar Khadr: The Last Post and the Happy Ending
In the last nine years I wrote more than 100 posts about the case of Omar Khadr, because I considered it one of the most shameful episodes in modern Canadian history.
And could never accept that a Canadian child soldier could be tortured and jailed in a place like Guantanamo. And abandoned by his own government.
But this will probably be my last post about him.
Not because the case is over, it isn't. The federal government is still appealing his release on bail.
But because amazingly enough it seems to have had a happy ending.
Nine months ago, Khadr, 29, walked out of an Edmonton courtroom into the spring sunshine, ending 14 years in prison, four years in Canada and 10 in the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo. Since then, he has been working hard on his new life, getting to know the city, mapping out a career, adapting.
And I couldn't be happier for him, or prouder of the people of Edmonton.
Khadr doesn’t like the spotlight and was reluctant to do this interview. He just wants to be normal guy going about life, putting the past behind him.
He’s also grateful to Edmonton for its welcome and wants that known.
“I’ve had nothing but warmth and kindness from Edmonton and that reveals the truth of who we are as Canadians.”
I'm impressed by Khadr's inner strength, and by how well he has managed to survive his horrifying ordeal.
I'm glad that he is finally living again in the country he never wanted to leave.
I give thanks for the decent Dennis Edney who defended him and gave him shelter.
And of course for someone like me, whose heroes are healers not killers, this couldn't be more wonderful.
Then, it’s on to a higher-skilled job as an emergency technician, working in an ambulance.
So one day he could turn up at an accident scene, treat the wounded, give CPR, save lives? “I hope so,” he says, with a quiet smile. “I like the community and the intensity of the work. I think I have a better appreciation of pain and suffering and I can empathize with people who are going through hard physical pain.”
Helping other people also helps him heal the past, he says. “The way I deal with issues is I try to help someone else and that helps me, it gives me a good feeling,” he said.
Especially after what happened to him...
You know, I would have defended Omar Khadr even if he was a little bastard, because he was a child soldier, and it was such an absolute travesty of justice.
But to see what a nice person he seems to be, really is a bonus.
And in this last post about him, I do have to say that it both infuriated and depressed me to see so many Canadians hate him just because they hated his horrible family.
Or see so few other progressive bloggers stand up for the human rights of Canadian kid, for presumably the same reason.
I resented being made to feel like a terrorist sympathizer for just doing the right and decent and Canadian thing, even if it was not popular.
And not just because it was a case screaming out for justice.
But also because I knew that if Stephen Harper could violate the rights of a child soldier so brutally...
And get away with it.
One day he would try to do the same thing to us.
Because he is a cruel, brutish psychopath, and being unable to feel the pain of others as psychopaths can't, he was capable of anything.
And all decent Canadians should have seen the Khadr case as a warning.
But that's history now.
Omar is at peace and so am I.
The Liberals should scrap the Con appeal of his release, and work to free him as soon as possible.
So he doesn't have to spend another New Year's Eve home alone with...um...Molly.
Khadr is occasionally reminded of his conditional freedom. He wanted to go to New Year’s celebrations downtown, but also knew that was beyond his midnight curfew. The police, indeed, showed up at the Edney front door that night to make sure he was at home.
“They’ve only come twice since I got the (electronic tracking) bracelet off my ankle and one time was New Year’s Eve. I was at home with Molly the dog.”
And all that is left for me to do is wish that remarkable young Canadian the best of luck in the future, for goodness knows he deserves it.
You know, I used to enjoy seeing these words sprayed on signs along the waterfront where I live.
And now he really does.
Justice is a life force that tyrants may deny, and delay.
But cannot and will never defeat...
Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers