Friday, March 27, 2009

The Conservative government is evil

I dislike metaphysical categories, but the Conservatives have streaked to the finish line here.

Our fellow citizen, Abousfian Abdelrazik, who has complied with every new condition imposed by the Harper government to leave Sudan and come back to his country, and who now has a paid-up airplane ticket to come home to his family on April 3--after nearly six years--has now had yet another condition imposed: he must get himself off a UN no-fly list. In less than a week.

Would you know how to do that? In any case, the regulations around that list permit people on it to fly home to their country of citizenship.* And the government has previously claimed that it has been trying to have Abdelrazik's name removed from the list. And both the RCMP and CSIS have agreed that Abdelrazik has no connection to terrorism.

But the sado-politicians of the Harper government aren't letting up.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has now decreed that the destitute Abdelrazik must now thread his way through countless bureaucratic corridors to come back to his own country--a condition that Cannon knows full well cannot be fulfilled before his departure date, if at all.

What we are seeing here, folks--and there is simply no other way to put it--is a display of unvarnished racism from the top echelons of the Harper regime. If you're Brenda Martin, the coffers will be opened, and all the stops will be pulled out. If you're a brown Muslim, however, a different standard will be applied, and never mind that you're Canadian. Two colours; two classes of citizenship.

Don't be fooled by the tactical John Baird feint. The Conservative government with this latest move has demonstrated that it's racist to the core. Its sick little cat-and-mouse game with Abdelrazik, whose only crime, it appears, is to have a dark skin and worship the wrong God, is proof positive of that. You can almost see Cannon--and Harper, who pulls all the strings--licking their lips as they devise fresh conditions, new public excuses, more obstacles, to torment Abdelrazik further.

As noted, I have little time for metaphysical categories. But this latest move by the Conservative government is not merely wrong. It's evil.
There is simply no other word that suffices.

And no comment as yet from former human rights advocate Michael Ignatieff.

UPDATE: (March 28) Alison offers some excellent analysis. A key point: just which list is involved here--a "UN no-fly list" or a US one? She reminds us that, despite official pronouncements, this has never been entirely clear. Are we sacrificing one of our own to placate the Americans?

UPDATE: (March 29) The indefatigable Alison reminds us that we should express ourselves on this matter to the Foreign Affairs Minister. Entirely justified moral indignation is appropriate, but we're Canadians, so let's do our best to be polite.

To contact Lawrence Cannon directly:

Telephone: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802

UPDATE: (March 30) Amnesty International has now weighed in.
UN resolution 1390, Section 2b: With respect to persons on the list, member states are obligated to "[p]revent the entry into or the transit through their territories of these individuals, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige any State to deny entry into or require the departure from its territories of its own nationals and this paragraph shall not apply where entry or transit is necessary for the fulfilment of a judicial process or the Committee determines on a case by case basis only that entry or transit is justified." [emphasis added]

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