Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam: 1 down...

To me, BBC's leading paragraph summarizes Saddam the best.

He brought little but war and suffering to a people who should have been among the most prosperous in the Middle East, given the oil wealth the country sits on.

That is the crux of the despot that was Saddam. There is a twinge of sadness that is the result of any loss of life, but with Saddam's death I can only say one thing.

1 down. Many more to go.

As Abu Sinan said, "Why should this one die whilst we send others money, arms and political support to the other dictators? This is the same man who received arms, money and political support from the USA."

Saddam was a cruel man. Those of us who do not like the US administration or its policies should not fall into the trap of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' mindset. No present day Western leader in his or her most evil moments can come an iota close to Saddam's brutality. This was a man who had his own son-in-laws killed, who had his brother-in-law shot when he grew too powerful, who made a man divorce his wife so Saddam could have her, who had wives of his officers raped to teach them a lesson, who let his sons loose in Iraq, who gassed Kurds (no one asks where the gas came from btw), and so on. His list of crimes go on.

Death by hanging was a much more humane way for him to go compared to how he treated his foes.

I believe though Iraq was a much better place under Saddam than it is now. As long as you didn't speak up against Saddam or his cronies and kept a low profile you have a good (read: secure) life. Whether the death of 30,000 Iraqis ('more or less', as Bush callously stated, showing how much he values Iraqi lives) and the collapse of infrastructure of a country was worth the price to bring this one man to the gallows is a question history will decide.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Muslim's Merry Christmas

I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone.

Ten years ago when I landed in Canada from the Middle East I would not have said that. Call it my evolution over the decade I am in Canada but now I realize wishing someone well on their occasion of joy does nothing to diminish what is yours, but only adds to the mosaic that is ours. Yes some people may argue that Jesus (peace be upon him) was not really born on December 25, but you know, ultimately in this instance it's not what is right but what is good. And no one can deny that Christmas is a good time.

Yes, even though I may not celebrate Christmas in the religious sense as having a Christmas tree or going to church (I am a Muslim after all) I do enjoy the festive season. As the days get shorter and darker, as the temperature falls and a sense of gloom descends with the weather that will not falter until March, it's nice to slip into the malls and marvel and the embellished decorations and glitzy lights. It's fantastic to see crowds of people roving around with smiles on their faces. And yes, you can't deny it, people are generally in a better mood in December, and you can't but help being caught up in smiling and being festive - good behavior is infectious. Not to mention all the bargains that can be had.

Add to that all the free food you can eat at various Christmas parties and the sense that you are under no pressure (after all I don't have to buy gifts, look for and decorate a Christmas tree or have a dysfunctional family over for dinner) I would dare to say Muslims have a better time over Christmas than many Christians themselves!

Of course our Eid is coming up shortly (December 31) so there is that pressure to come. Fortunately we have Boxing Day (in Canada) in the middle (December 26) to shop for our gifts.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Orchard's Importance In Dion's Liberals?

Read an interesting article in the StarPheonix on the role of David Orchard in the victory of Dion at the recent Liberal convention. A few interesting excerpts.

If delivering support to the winning candidate means anything in politics, then David Orchard's star must surely be on the rise in the Liberal party. The longtime critic of free trade, two-time candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party and new Liberal can be credited for playing a significant role in Stephane Dion's rise to the Liberal leadership.


In fact, every Dion delegate from Saskatchewan but one was part of the Orchard camp.


There were many reasons why Dion won, but he obviously would not have had the horses to overtake Kennedy without Orchard's support.


This turn of events raises some very interesting questions about Orchard's future. There's no doubt he intends to remain active in Liberal politics, and there are a number of issues he intends to press.


Should he decide to run for the Liberals and actually win a seat, he might even have a shot at a cabinet post.

[full article]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ignatieff Smacks Down Day

When the then-Liberal government began belatedly, timidly asking for Arar's release from his Syrian torture chamber in the fall of 2002, opposition leader Stephen Harper was dismissive. The Liberals, he claimed, were "hitting the snooze button on security matters". His colleague, Stockwell Day, even argued the government's "lack of vigilance" had allowed a notorious terrorist like Arar to avoid detection and detention in the first place. [source]

"I have in my possession a letter from the former Commissioner dated November 2, in which he notes his intention to clarify his initial testimony," said Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion today. "Given that the Prime Minister's national security advisor must have known about these inaccuracies, why did the Minister of Public Safety tell Canadians on Monday (Dec 4) that the commissioner ‘still has the confidence of the government’?"

Today, in Question Period, Stockwell Day had this to say:

"Why these folks across the way refused to deal with it then and let an innocent man languish in prison?"

Ignatieff's response was smack on.

"This government, when it is in a tight position, has become accustomed to blaming the previous government."

"You are the government now. When are you going to start to act like one and take responsibility?

Stéphane Dion Is A Loyal Canadian

Stéphane Dion as a French citizen is OK by me. He has done more for Canada than Ezra Levant ever has and ever will. When the call came, he stood by Canada in opposition to his peers and despite it being an unpopular move, called for the Clarity Act. I am proud that such a man is the leader of the Liberal Party.

Ezra Levant (and the nature of Cons as a whole) is also hypocritical. He should then criticize any MP who has American citizenship. As I noted previously, Peter Worthington (another stauch Conservative) once wrote:

The view that "a Canadian is a Canadian" and all should be treated equally may need revising.

However that should not include American-Canadians, because:

If someone wants to be a Canadian, that person should give up citizenship in his birth country.An exception should be made with the U.S. on grounds that we are geographically, traditionally and culturally close.

Ofcourse. You cannot serve two masters. Unless it's the US. Then it's OK.

People may not give up the citizenship of another country for many reasons. They may wish to retire there. They may have property or business there and the citizenship helps ease the legal paperwork. This is the 21st century.

Canada is a multicultural country, one in which people can pride themselves on being Canadian without being forced to forget where they or their family came from. It is insulting to many of us that Levant questions the Canadian-ness of any dual citizen, particularly one of such stellar qualities as Mr Dion.