Thursday, May 7, 2015

UPDATED:Seeing Above The Clouds

One of the consequences of being a longtime follower of politics is the development of a cynical perspective on life, one that recognizes the avarice, self-interest and self-promotion that all too frequently masquerade as service for the greater good. It seems that those we elect regularly abandon any semblance of service to their constituents, choosing instead to curry favour with their 'masters' in the hope of career advancement and consolidation of power. In doing so, they subject us, as the current cabal in Ottawa has so skillfully done, to a worldview that emphasizes threat, darkness and selfishness.

Hope, collective interest and redemption are not in their lexicon.

Yet despite my deep distrust of people's motives, I have never lost faith in the possibility of redemption, a concept I often think of when considering Omar Khadr. His story is well-known, and I will not rehash it here other than to say that having experienced 15 years of consequences for being a child soldier must have left a deep mark on his psyche. Yet if I have learned anything in life, it is the incredible resilience of the human spirit. The story of Ismael Beah, who was a child soldier in Sierra Leone, amply attests to that fact.

All of which makes it hard for me to countenance the relentless efforts to both demonize Khadr and vigorously oppose his release on bail from Alberta prison Bowden Institution. Well, today the judge will make her ruling, after which he could very well be released into the custody of his lawyer. As reported in today's Star, here is what the former Guantanamo inmate has to say:
“In prison, I had lots of bad experiences. If I hold on to each one, I would have been very bitter,” he told the prison psychologist, Nathan Lau, during an interview on Feb. 20.

“I can’t afford to be bitter. I did something bad and I’m here for a reason. The only way to survive is to have hope,” he said. “If I hope for people to give me a second chance, I should afford them the same.”
Khadr says he looks forward to life on the outside but conceded, “I don’t think it will be a piece of cake.”

“I’ve screwed up in the past and I’m worried it will haunt me. People will think I’m the same person I was 12 or 13 years ago. They might treat me in the same light,” he said.

“However, if I carry myself with dignity and respect, people will respect me. I hope there won’t be this terrorism nonsense. I’m not going to get involved.”
I, for one, hope Khadr gets his chance, starting today.

UPDATE: Apparently, the judge deciding Omar Khadr's fate was able to see through the hyperbole and hateful rhetoric of the Harper regime and has ordered his release on bail:
Justice June Ross of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench said bail is a Canadian right, and while Mr. Khadr is in jail in Canada, he is covered by Canadian law.


  1. A great post Lorne. I listened to his lawyer on CBC at noon. I was so glad to hear
    that the Judge ordered his release on bail. We owe this young man the justice that has been witheld from him for so long. He sounds like a very thoughtful, caring man.

    1. I completely agree, Pamela. I just hope the Harper regime stops using him as a political football and lets him get on with his life.


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