Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Disappointments, big and small

I experienced a couple of small disappointments last night. Here I'd been seeing Google's subject header all day, a compilation of telescoping letters proclaiming that it was the 400th anniversary of Galileo's invention. Only then I found out, maybe that wasn't exactly so. Still, when I got home from a movie (about extraterrestrials, at that), there was the bright star of Jupiter riding the sky.

Last summer we'd actually had a telescope here on loan, so had been able to look closely at the giant planet and even to observe several of it moons. Silly me, I thought maybe binoculars would work, but even when I propped them against the letterbox as a sort of tripod, I couldn't hold them still enough to see more than a bouncing blur of light.

But my big disappointment is ongoing still today.

The Canadian government continues to reject the idea that Omar Khadr should be returned home to Canadian soil, even though he remains the only citizen of a Western country to remain in the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Australia and Great Britain removed their detainees years ago, but Canada continues to dig in its heels and has currently decided to challenge yet another court directive demanding that our government bring him home. 

Their next (and final, I would assume) step in challenging such directives is having the case heard in the Supreme Court of Canada, a step that of course will be paid for by all of us.

I have no idea whether Khadr is guilty or innocent. But for that matter, no does anyone else. Even though he's been held for seven years -- and in a prison that doesn't meet Geneva Convention standards -- he has never been taken to trial. If this isn't cruel and unusual, I don't know what is.

For all of our country's platitudes about decrying human rights violations in China, and complaining about so many African countries' abuse of children as soldiers, it seems awfully contradictory for Steve Harper and his Conservatives to forget the fact that Khadr was brought to Guantanamo when he was only fifteen. If that doesn't qualify him as being a child soldier, what does?

Oh yes, just one more disappointment. As a concerned citizen, this is a matter I wrote about to my local (Conservative) Member of Parliament. Like so many of his party colleagues, he's great at playing up his dedicated religious beliefs. Among the things I asked him was: Wasn't Christ's message one of love and compassion? Naturally, I haven't received a reply.

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