Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Then they were heroes. They were heroes."

Another brown Canadian citizen has been held in the US for 5½ years without charge, 4 of them in solitary confinement, for "allegedly assisting al-Qaeda", and his lawyer worries that he will suffer the same fate at the hands of the Canadian government as Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik.

CBC : Ottawa not saying if Canadian linked to al-Qaeda can return
"Last month, U.S. federal prosecutors offered to drop the five charges of material terrorism if Warsame pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to support al-Qaeda."
Mohammed Warsame has accepted the offer - and after four years in solitary in the US, so would I - but Warsame does not deny his association with al-Qaeda. In 2000, he left Toronto for Afghanistan to train with al-Quaeda. Disillusioned by what he found there, he returned to Canada in March 2001 - six months before 9/11 - was picked up by the FBI in Minneapolis in 2003, and has been held in custody without trial ever since.

As his lawyer puts it : "Like many young Muslims, he was attracted by the notion of an Islamic state he believed was a sort of utopia."

Reading this I was reminded of a Chris Sands interview with the wife of an American diplomat stationed in Kabul. She spoke of her husband accompanying the Afghan resistance on their missions across the border against Soviet troops and of her friendship with fundamentalist Mujahideen leaders.
"Then they were heroes. They were heroes," she said.

Yes. They were praised as heroes, we now know, for being used by the US to embroil the Soviet Union in a crippling unwinnable war. But what is not often mentioned is the effect all that hero worship and propaganda in the western press would have had upon young Muslim teenagers in Canada and the US.
Warsame's crime was to have believed it.


Anonymous said...

a strange thing, that propoganda and brain washing stuff....the majority of canadians believe canada's lies.....we're no better then u,s. citizens or al queda save for our illusion as a peace keeping nation. even on the smallest of terms , like aquaintanceship , power struggles and status issues arise, thus making us prey to the heirarchal scheme without us even realizing it while knocking it all.

until we get it right individually, we're going nowhere as nations - the illusions will only remain.

Alison said...

Well said. Scout.

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