Sunday, September 30, 2012
Omar Khadr: A Child Soldier Comes Home
It has been a seemingly endless nightmare, a horror story not only for Omar Khadr, but also for the country that let him down so shamefully.
But at least tonight he is finally home.
Omar Khadr has been returned to Canada and is being held at a maximum-security prison in eastern Ontario, after spending a decade at a U.S.-run detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
I've written 69 posts on this case in the last six years. But they could all be summed up as simply as this:
Omar Khadr was a child soldier, who was victimized by his terrorist father, exploited by the Taliban group he was forced to join. He was horribly wounded, tortured by the Americans, held in the totalitarian hell hole known as Guantanamo, subjected to a kangaroo trial worthy of Orwell or Kafka, betrayed by two Canadian governments.
And to add insult to injury, or shame to disgrace, he was also abandoned by many Canadians, for the sole and outrageous reason that they hate his family. As if that should have ANYTHING to do with the rule of law.
For what kind of legal system would they bring down upon us? In what dark jungle of mob rule would those Cons and other troglodytes have us live? In the pit of depravity or Ezra Levant's sewer?
I have no idea what kind of a human being Omar Khadr is as a result of his nightmarish history; I would be astonished if he is able to emerge unscathed. But what I cannot fathom is the personalized vindictiveness without limit expressed by Levant against someone who has been systematically abused by all the adults and authorities in his young life. What can drive such unhinged hatred for a young man he has never even met?
For there are many other Canadians who should ask themselves that same question.
Oh well. The good news is that despite the horror and the loneliness he has had to endure, all those who have met Khadr say he is a decent young Canadian, who likes Disney cartoons and Harry Potter stories, wants to be a healer, and is an excellent candidate for rehabilitation.
"He's gentle. And very mannered. He is a remarkable individual considering the experiences that he's had and what he has had to endure. … I feel confident in evaluating and stating clearly that Omar Khadr does not have a history of violent and aggressive conduct.
Despite what the sinister Vic Toews ominously suggests:
Toews said, however, he has concerns as to whether the parole board can "effectively administer" Khadr's sentence...He also said Omar Khadr's mother and older sister have "openly applauded his crimes and terrorist activities."
The old Con zombie, who would stir up the mob to pervert the justice system, and for whom no punishment is ever enough.
Even though by any normal standard of decent humanity, Omar Khadr's punishment has already been excessive.
By now Khadr has spent 10 years behind bars for his wrongdoing. That’s years longer than he would have spent in prison here, had he been convicted in a credible Canadian court of first-degree murder as a young offender. Now that he is finally back on Canadian soil, the corrections service and parole board should work toward freeing him at the earliest safe opportunity, subject to a rehabilitation program that includes psychiatric care, monitoring and schooling. He has already done excessive time for his misdeeds.
Rather than try to build a case that Khadr now needs to spend six more years behind bars, Canadian officials should come up with a plan to help Khadr rehabilitate himself, and ring down the curtain on this infamous spectacle.
Yup. It's time for all decent Canadians to tell the ghastly Cons to stop shaming us further.
Welcome home Omar.
I always said you lived here...
But now you're finally back.
And our long nightmare is almost over...
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Labels: Con Canada, Omar Khadr, The Great War on Terror, Vic Toews
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You like him? He is your enemy, Jesus as a gay man can't you figure that out! He and his family would cut your throat if they could. My God, you can't even see your enemy when he is right infront of then you truly are without hope.
hi anonymous...I've addressed this issue in other posts, but here's the synopsis:
Yes I'm gay, yes I hate religious extremists of all stripes, yes I also dislike his fanatical family. How do you think I feel about his mother who was once quoted as saying she preferred her son fight and die in Afghanistan rather than stay in Toronto and become a homosexual? But here's the thing eh? None of this has anything to do with the case of Omar Khadr. I have no evidence that Khadr is a religious fanatic or a homophobe, but even if he was it still would not affect the way I feel about the case. For what I am defending is the rule of law, without which we are no better than the extremists. And if we are not better than them, who are we? And what are we fighting for?
Believe me, posts about the Khadr case are not even popular with many progressives. And I'm sure every time I write one, I lose a few readers. But I don't care, because my parents raised me to do the right thing, I hold my country to a high standard, and although I'm not always successful, I try to live my life according to those same standards. People like Romeo Dallaire inspire me, and people like Vic Toews disgust me. I can't put it plainer than that...
I think anonymous coward is right. Kadhr was raised to hate homosexuality. Best to deny him his rights as a citizen. Oh yeah. The Conservative Party of Canada hates homosexuality too. It's probably a good idea to work to outlaw that party and imprison all its members and forcibly "recruit" them to the "gay agenda." Don't you think?
Well, you'll never lose me as a reader, Simon. People like you inspire me. You believe in Canada and its people in a way I only sometimes dream about. Don't ever change a thing about who you are and what you write about. :-)
And doing the right thing means not being a fair weather friend when the wind blows a certain direction. I think it's shameful that the Liberals are now - again - in style that only liberals can shameless do - pretend to welcome this former child solder home.
Without missing a beat, or an apology, they pretend to be all for the rule of law. It was a liberal govt who denied Khadr repatriation.
The kid was a child soldier under every definition of the law, as defined by international law and which Canada and the US are signatories to, and both of them ignored that. Folks like "anonymous" who aren't even courageous enough to put up their own name - seem to keep forgetting or don't want to hear.
It'll take awhile to deprogram him - both of his father's brainwashing and for the abuse he was subjected to by US and Canadian officials.. but it's the right thing to do.
I'll say this though; I can think of a lot more people out there I'd not want to have a neighbour with, other then Omar Khadr.
"People like Romeo Dallaire inspire me, and people like Vic Toews disgust me." — yes indeed. Vickie is OK with the concept that some Canadians don't get the protection of their citizenship. The man was born in Canada, and the government abandoned him.
Simon, I am continually blown away by your sense of humour and your grasp of the real issues confronting all of us as Canadians..and I agree with you about Khadr, always have, and I am just as convinced that those who espouse such hatred are both bigots and ignoramuses..
When an idiot like Vic Towes expresses such a 1950's style paranoia, based on nothing but his own philosophy of prejudice and rightwing ideology, it's beyond nauseating... there is no excuse for continuing the torture of this young man, not that there ever was a rational argument for it..
Me too Simon. I really enjoy your site.
ICC's Chief Prosecutor found Harper guilty of, stonewalling and refusing to co-operate in their investigation, of the torture of the detainee's. ICC left it up to the RCMP to pursue Harper's war crimes and crimes against humanity. Which of course, they didn't do. Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid the questioning, on his part in the torture.
In Africa, there are also children forced into war. Those African children were given no choice either. They are now working with those children, instead of condemning them. In China, children only earn pennies a day. There are many unspeakable crimes, against children in this world.
Torture puts them on the same level, as the prisoner they torture.
There are people in this country, far worse than Omar, that are permitted to run free. How about our country, being sold out to Red China?
Inspiring post, Simon. Thanks for never giving up on this young man and raising the injustices of his circumstances over so many years.
I need to come here and elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere to find humanity and erase the hateful soundbites that pass as news or public policy. Jan, the LPC screwed up big time but that was back in 2002 when it was heresy to support any justice as it pertained to AQ and Afghanistan in the wake of 9-11 terrorist attacks. Just ask Maher Arar or the men held under security certificates or countless of other severe curtailments of civil liberties of certain "classes" of Canadians. All parties in the House of Commons supported the enhanced security legislation that led to these outrageous outcomes. There are very few political heroes on this file, save for Senator Romeo Dallaire.
hi thwap....needless to say I think your idea of jailing them rather intriguing. But as for forcibly recruiting to the "gay agenda" forget it. We don't want them...
hi Steve...thanks for this nice comment, I really appreciate it. And don't worry, I won't ever change, I'm too donkey headed for that. ;)
But don't you ever stop believing in Canada and the ability of the many good people who live here to save it from the Cons, and make it the kind of country we can be proud of again. Those horrible Cons are just a passing aberration, and we'll fix them in the next election...
hi Jan... you're right, the Liberals also let Omar Khadr down when they were in power, and they will have to explain that one to the history books. But at least they can claim temporary insanity caused by the post 911 madness. The Cons have no such excuse, and their vindictiveness knows no limit...
hi Scott...what makes it even worse is that we were the FIRST country to sign the U.N. Protocol on Child Soldiers, and yet no country has violated it so egregiously. He definitely needs to be treated and rehabilitated after so many years in a place like that one, but from what the guards at Guantanamo have said he is not a radical, and has a much more gentle view of religion.
What he is though is a person at risk for Post Traumatic Stress Depression, so I hope he gets the help and support he needs.
He is also going to be closely watched so although the Cons are trying to demonize him, he's no danger to other Canadians.
In fact the only reason I wouldn't want to be his neighbour is that I might bump into his mother now and then, and that would definitely ruin my day.... ;)
hi Edstock...one of the things that infuriates me the most is hear people debating whether he should be allowed to return to Canada. Even the CBC has been running absurd online polls with that question. Which is outrageous, since he was born here, and was a typical Canadian kid growing up in Toronto, until his awful father dragged him away from the country he loved.
And BTW... who let Vickie, the Paraguayan, into Canada? ;)
hi Wendi...thank you, I do try to hang on to my sense of humour, because I find it gives me the strength to continue during these dark times. And I want to try to cheer up other progressives, so we can keep our spirits up and demolish the Cons in the next election.
As for Omar Khadr I simply can't understand who so many Canadians can be so cruel.
He was a small kid, he was riddled with shrapnel, blinded in one eye, and then shot twice in the back, with the bullets exploding out of his chest, leaving a big enough hole so his beating heart could be seen. He was then taken to Bagram Air Base and tortured there and at Guantanamo where he was held for so many years, without ever being visited by family or friends. And some people want to punish him even MORE?
It's outrageous, it's obscene, and those people should be ashamed of themselves...
hi anonymous...thanks a lot. It makes me feel happy when people say they enjoy my humble little blog, but also a bit embarrassed. Because I know I could do better, but because I'm so dreamy and so easily distracted, and extremely lazy, I can't quite manage it. But then I think of the Cons and I keep on trying. Best motivational tool EVER ;)
As for child soldiers, the U.N. Protocol is clear. They should be rehabilitated, not punished, as common sense and human decency demand. We rushed to be the first to sign the document, and then when we had a Canadian child soldier, we completely ignored it.
Do people not realize that child soldiers are almost always severely traumatized by the horrors of war, and should be healed not punished?
I hate bullies and cruel people, and I have nothing but contempt for them...
hi Beijing...thanks, I'm glad you liked this post. I wanted to make it more celebratory. But then seeing the level of hate out there, I thought I better say what I've been wanting to say for a long time.
For me it was always easy to defend Omar Khadr. Nothing can change the fact that he was a child soldier, and considering his wounds, it's one of the worst cases of sadistic bullying I've ever seen. Those screeching hatemongers should not only be more human but also more intelligent. For either ALL Canadians have rights, or none of us do. And yes...thank goodness for Romeo Dallaire, a good and honourable man...
Yeah, jail them. Good luck with that Thwap. Besides who going to do it? You and what army? You know you love calling people this and that. Tell dear Thwap what have done that is so brave?
You know that Canada is changing Simon, to bad you can't change along with it. The left has been saying this after every election, yet the Tories always seem to fix your little red wagon, why is that? Why is the left so much talk and so little action?
You're a good man Simon, great blog!
Simone, keep up the great posts and comments. I do agree with you. I too hate bullies and cruel people and my wish would be for them to get the same treatment they wished on this young manor worse if that's possible.
Welcome home Omar. The truth will come out and Harper and his misfit regime and troll dummies will get their asses tossed right out of Canada I am hoping. Watch them run with their yellow strip down their backs and their tails dragging behind them.It won't be a great loss as Canada does not need idiots like them in the first place. Have a great week.
If he publicly rejects the radical Islamist ideas he has killed for, then maybe he can be allowed to slowly reenter society. If he can convince other young men that jihad is pointless and will only lead to a quick death then maybe, just maybe, he is still useful. At the present he is still a potential threat and should be treated as such.
You think Omar is any different than the rest of his family? Do think you think Omar can be "saved". If you do than you really don't understand the power and strength of their belief system.!
hi double nickel....thank you. As I told the others I just had to say something. This whole travesty of justice has been such a shameful affair, to have those bullies still screaming for Omar to be punished even more than he already has, is one of the most disgusting sights I've ever witnessed. This issue should never have been a partisan one, it's a matter of simple human decency...
The truth? Like how Omar is a danger? That truth? But hey if the left want shackle their horse to their grenade tossing poster-boy, who am I to complain.
I wonder how the family of the soldier he killed feels about all this.
hi anonymous...I don't think he is much of a threat. He has never shown those tendencies before, so why should he now, when he is about to get a second chance to live a normal life after the hell he has experienced? He will also be closely monitored, and who knows maybe he will get a chance to help convince other young Muslims about the danger and wrongness of religious extremism. But just remember that Omar did not choose to be what he ended up being. He was dragged out of Canada and into danger by his father, who also "loaned" him to a Taliban commander and is directly responsible for what happened to him, as well as his other sons. In common English it's called child abuse, and it' s unforgivable...
And if your wrong? If he is still a danger when he hits the streets? What then?
They lost a fine soldier, husband and father. We gained......well......a piece of trash called Omar Khadr.
hi Way Way Up....they feel like the families and friends of all those who die in war. Sad, proud, angry, deeply depressed. I know because I am one of them. As you may know from all I've read about the case, and the fatal battle, Khadr could not have thrown the grenade that killed that special forces soldier, because he was riddled with shrapnel and blinded by two airstrikes on the compound, long before the grenade was thrown. And the Pentagon that had claimed that only Omar was alive in the ruins, was eventually forced to admit, that one of the Taliban fighters also survived and firing away at the special forces group as it approached the house. But even if Khadr had thrown the grenade, it was an act of war not murder, and the special forces soldier was there because he wanted to be. And war is hell for everybody...
Yes, okay. But nobody wants 'em! I was hoping to get rid of 'em! ;)
The point went right over your rock of a head I see. :\
Perhaps Way Way Up is saying that the families of victims of US soldiers should be allowed to decide the fates of all US servicemen and women (after we've tortured them into confessing to war crimes).
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