May 1, 2007

The Omar Khadr Saga

The CBC radio program, The Current, raised some very serious concerns in the case of Omar Khadr, the child soldier detained in the American prison at Guantanamo. The host made the point that, at the time of his capture, Khadr was a child, as recognized by Canada and by international law. The unstated premise is that the USA holds itself above international law... except, of course, when it suits their goals to pay it lip service.

If Khadr had killed someone in Canada or in the USA, in a street crime, he would have been treated as a young offender and received a corresponding sentence that would, likely, have seen him released from a youth detention center after a few years. Instead, he had the misfortune to be involved with a group labelled as 'terrorist' by the American government. Despite his youth, he was incarcerated in the notorious Gitmo, and is now facing the possibility of a death sentence in a trial system that meets few, if any, of the standards that a citizen of the civilized world is entitled.

And that raises the point that Khadr is not some foreigner, but a citizen of Canada. If our country really has any respect for the values described in our constitution, our government should be making every attempt to ensure that he gets the same treatment as any accused person in Canada. Instead, the Canadian government, whether Liberal or Conservative, seems quite indifferent to the plight of one of our nationals, and fully willing to defer to the insane lawlessness that prevails in the USA under the Bush administration.

Despite what our western governments have been promoting, the fact is that there is no difference between acts of so-called terrorism and any other criminal act. Are we supposed to be more fearful of the prospect of a bomb exploding on Yonge Street than of being gunned down by gang members in the same place? Nonsense!

The whole Khadr affair highlights the absurdities in the fabricated, paranoid war on terror foisted on us by a hubristic, American regime. If Khadr is ever eventually released, you can be sure he will not be won over to the Western view of life after the vile treatment he has received at the hands of both American and Canadian authorities, who speak hypocritically about human rights while abrogating them when it suits their agenda. If we want the privilege of preaching to other nations, we have to be willing to live by highest standards, not the lowest common factors.

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