Thursday, August 20, 2009

Better late than never

The case of Abdihakim Mohamed has just been discovered by the Globe and Mail, and the on-line CBC news (which is calling this a "second case" of the Nairobi Shuffle, although it pre-dates the Suaad Hagi Mohamud affair by three years or so). In fairness, the CBC radio program
The Current was on this back in June, but don't their journos talk to each other?

And credit where credit's due. Kate Heartfield of the Ottawa Citizen broke this story on February 11, and it's been around the blogosphere ever since.

But enough caviling. These cases eventually
do attract their media advocates, thank goodness, and circumstances do the rest--in this instance, the prominence of one case highlighted another, the Harper team has been reeling since Abousfian Abdelrazik's court-ordered return, and, smelling blood in the water, the media has acquired an appetite.

It's just disheartening--in fact, a little chilling--that the victims, too often dark-skinned Muslims, cannot depend upon the ordinary privileges of citizenship to help them out. The current government has let it be known that it will pick and choose which citizens are worthy of consular assistance, state-to-state representations, and taxpayer-funded chartered jets.

The others, too often facing obstacles deliberately placed in their way, are forced to wait until public anger reaches critical mass, the media take notice, and the government and its administrative apparatus are forced to act. Indeed, as we have seen in the Abdelrazik case, even all that can be insufficient: there it took a vigorous flogging by a federal court judge to make the Harper regime abide by the rule of law.

Kudos to those journalists who stay on the trail of these cases like bloodhounds--the Globe's Paul Koring and the Star's John Goddard spring to mind. Perhaps these and others with similar qualities should be cross-appointed to oversight positions in Foreign Affairs. Now, that would cut the numbers and the delays. And it might also allow the media to stay current.

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