I wasn’t going to bring politics over here. I really wasn’t. This blog is for being a writer, and for talking about writing (and maybe a few recipes, because who doesn’t like a few of those?).
It was going to be my mellow place.
But today, out on the ether, the bailing out of Omar Khadr, after years of torture and confinement, brought out the righteously indignant.
So: sorry to the few readers I have but this is a deeply moral issue that no one should let pass by.
Imagine, if you will, being a thirteen year old boy. Imagine your father takes you from the country you were raised in, takes you overseas, and deposits you into the care of a group of adult men bent on fighting what they at least say they believe is a just and noble cause.
Big men. With guns. You cannot leave – you are a thirteen year old boy in a foreign country. They tell you what you should believe, they tell you what to do, how to act.
They have guns. You certainly don’t argue with them. I suspect that anyone – thirteen, or thirty – would do what they told. You would act the way you are expected to act, and eventually, you would believe what you are told to believe.
This even has a name – a technical, psychological terminology: Stockholm Syndrome.
That thing that got Patty Hearst off of murder charges, back when.
Two years later, when this camp of irregular soldiers is attacked and overrun by a foreign army, you throw a grenade in the heat of that battle.
You are captured and detained and taken to yet another country, where you are beaten and tortured and accused of being a war criminal and a terrorist.
We don’t allow anyone a driver’s licence before they turn 16, because we know that that is the earliest age that they can be assumed to have the judgment needed for that responsibility. We don’t let people under 18 (some provinces 19, or 21) drink alcohol, because we don’t consider them responsible enough. We don’t allow people under 18 to vote, because we don’t trust their judgment there, either.
But we expected, apparently, that a 13 year old boy could withstand 2 years of indoctrination, and not throw a grenade at soldiers attacking the place where he lived.
Don’t tell me Khadr was not a child soldier. He is the very embodiment of child-soldier.
Canada: I am ashamed of you. We should have freed him long since, and those of you who are frothing at the mouth at some imagined loss of your chance for third-hand vengeance – I weep for you, because you have, somewhere along the line, lost whatever humanity and compassion you were born with.
It’s been a bitter harvest for everyone.