February 01, 2007

Two Triumphs, One Failure

I've been much busier than expected over the last few weeks, thus the relative inactivity here. Thought I'd share some thoughts on some recent news stories.

* * *

Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologized to Maher Arar, who was also awarded a compensation package of over $10 million dollars. This is a monumental triumph not just for Arar and his family, but for all the embattled masses who feel things are hopeless. There are a number of lower profile cases which are equally as disturbing as that of Arar; insha-Allah, all the others who are suffering the same injustices will have their voices heard.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, has demonstrated their hypocrisy once again in this affair. The US refuses to take Arar off the no-fly list, in spite of the extensive inquiry and process Canada has taken to clear his name. They say it is rather "presumptuous" for Canada to dictate who should and who should not be allowed in their country. This is just ridiculous; the only reason he was detained in the first place was because Canada provided the inaccurate information - this was proven in the inquiry. Now, after years of thorough investigation, Canada is basically saying "we were wrong", so is it not presumptuous of the United States to question Canada when they admit to their mistake? Was it not presumptuous to deport a Canadian citizen to Syria to be tortured? They say they have "their own information" that justifies their decision, but this is almost certainly their way of saying "we don't admit to our mistakes."

Clearly, they are simply afraid of a similar legal battle that they will likely lose. They're also afraid that if they were to admit error in the Arar affair, that would open a whole other can of worms. Arar is likely just one of many innocent individuals who have been made to suffer by the current administration. If these individuals were to take the stand Maher Arar did, the entire administration could be exposed as the criminals they are.

Ottawa reaches $10M settlement with Arar | CBC News

Wilkins slams Day for questioning U.S. on Arar | CBC News

* * *

In other news, Saku Koivu, the Finnish heart and soul of the Montreal Canadiens, has been cleared of his cancer. Koivu has easily been my favourite hockey player for many years, not because he is talented at the game, but because he's an incredibly courageous person both on and off the ice. He doesn't put up the points like many of the other stars of the league, but his value goes far beyond the goals and assists.

It was September 11th, 2001, early in the morning, that I first heard the news. I was at the Montreal airport after a flight in from Moscow. I was delayed at the airport considerably after an extensive search was done on all my belongings and I was questioned at length about my journey. A lot of other things happened that day as well, but one thing I recall from my time at the airport was being told that Saku Koivu had cancer. At only the tender age of 26, the life of the young man was on the line.

He fought the disease as he's fought all the other trials in his life - with courage, persistence, and incredible patience. And any Habs fan will remember the day well, just before the end of the season, when he made his triumphant return to the ice in a 4-3 Montreal win over the Senators. The win would propel the Canadiens into the playoffs for the first time in four years, where Koivu (with the help of Doug Gilmour) would lead the team to a thrilling six game victory over the #1-ranked Boston Bruins.

De très bonnes nouvelles pour Koivu | RDS

Jack Todd's Top Ten Heroes: #4, Saku Koivu | Montreal Gazette

Top 30 Sports Moments of the last 10 years: #1, Saku Koivu | RDS

Some older articles that I enjoyed:
C is For... | ESPN

Light shines bright on Koivu, and his prospects for life | ESPN

And a memorable video:
Saku Koivu's Return from Cancer | YouTube

* * *

And on another completely unrelated topic, Windows Vista was finally released. As a technology consultant, part of my job is to stay on top of all the latest developments in software. As an annoying pedant, part of my job is to notice typos and spelling mistakes (while, admittedly, making my own). Here, in a Vista demo video from microsoft.com, I was able to do both:

Looks like someone forgot to run spellcheck.


  1. welcome back! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D

  2. Salaams,

    Aww - someone is pleased to see you again, mashallah!

    Interesting mix of topics...

    It is sad when any government displays stubborness in their decisions, simply in order to save face, and of course, prevent law suits, which seems to be one of the few remaining methods of attaining justice in the US. Expensive justice, at that.

    I have no idea about the hockey player, but the 9/11 reference was kinda weird. That date has become the '1066' of the 21st century, i.e., a date no-one will ever forget. Now, instead of: "where were you when Kennedy was shot?", it's: "where were you when the first plane hit?".

    I was at work in the Dockland region of London, near to the Manhattan-esque area of Canary Wharf. I think i first heard about it via the radio playing in the lab, or was it via SMS from a friend? At the time, i thought it was an accident involving a small, private plane. It was only when i heard of the second plane, did it start to click that it might be something far more sinister... then some people at work began to panic, thinking we might be hit next, as the Canary Wharf tower used to be the London equivalent of the NY Twin Towers. It was all so surreal.

    The third topic is crazy! How can Microsoft make such a mistake? You wouldn't see Apple doing that... teehee.
    They better not, now i've said that! I better write to them, and warn them their reputation is at stake - use the spell-check, my comrads!

    Btw, i was surprised to see that you didn't say anything in response to this entry, o'mine.


  3. Answer 1: I was being ironic.

    Answer 2: I was actually referring to the acronym.

    Answer 3: D'oh!

    Now which one shall i choose...?

  4. As-salaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    Yay, you're back! Al-Hamdulillaah! :)


    I'm so glad that Maher Arar *finally* got closure (Stephen Harper's apology) and monetary recompense (although, I doubt that any amount of money could possibly repair the emotional and psychological harm that was a result of the torture he endured)... now, if only similar (relatively) happy endings could be applied to the cases of the others who are going through the same kind of trials! Insha'Allah...


    I'm not a sports fan at all - the only thing I know is that the Vancouver Canucks are 'my team' and I blindly cheer for them whenever I hear that they're gonna be playing a game... but as for whether they win or not, I never know, and to tell the truth I don't care! Some fan I am, eh? :P

    Heh... on 9/11 I was in grade 5, with my dad at the tiny little place that was the first location of our Islamic centre, and I was struggling with a math question when my mall called my dad's cell phone and told him what had happened. We went home and my parents watched the news for the rest of the day while I played games on the computer. :S

    Nothing for me to say about Vista, because I neither know nor really care about it! :P

  5. Saira: Well, that was much more enthusiasm than I expected. I've often gone much longer between posts than I have here; thanks for the warm welcome regardless. :)

    iMuslim: Wa'alaykum assalam. What bothers me about the US attitude here the most is that it's just so obvious this time that it's only to save face; everyone can see that. The Canadian media is very critical of their attitude, as the Canadian government has been. Yet they persist with their arrogance, simply ignoring any voice of dissent, even when it comes from their most important partner.

    As cliché as it is to say, 9/11 truly was one of the most monumental events in recent history. It just affected so much, from religion to politics to economy to general social interaction and day-to-day life. Though I must confess my ignorance, that I'm not sure what you're referring to with regards to 1066.

    For me, it was weird just because I had just returned from a very long journey. I just wanted to go home and prepare for school, as I had already missed a week. I wasn't ready for the world to be turned upside down.

    It's always fun to catch large organizations making such silly typos, especially since the word "efficiently" is written correctly just above the error. You've now made it my mission to find a similar mistake on apple.com somewhere.

    Shan: That was awesome, good catch. :)

    iMuslim: I like Answer 2 the best.

    AnonyMouse: Wa'alaykum assalam. Regarding Arar, yes, it's great to see a happy ending for once! Hopefully, this whole affair will open the doors for all the others to find some justice. You're right, that monetary compensation can't give him back his life. I'm also worried, the community being as it is, that all the big Muslim organizations will now want a piece of him somehow. I can only pray that he finds peace within himself and in his community insha-Allah.

    Regarding hockey... I haven't become a Canucks fan yet, though I've been in Vancouver for a while now and live just a few blocks from their arena. In case you're wondering, they're doing very well these days, so you can feel secure in your blind cheering. :)

    Wow, grade 5? That makes sense, I guess. If I were in grade 5, I probably would've been playing computer games too. Heck, I might have been playing computer games if it happened at the age of 25; immaturity is forever.

    "I was struggling with a math question when my mall called my dad's cell.." I'll assume that's a typo; if not, I'd like to know which mall gives such personalized service!

  6. "Shan: That was awesome, good catch. :)"

    "'I was struggling with a math question when my mall called my dad's cell..' I'll assume that's a typo;"

    Pedantry obviously runs in the family... *iMuslim walks away, with her bruised ego limping behind*

    P.S., 1066 is the year of the Battle of Hastings. An important date in the history of the British Isles.
    P.P.S., Apple rules! OK?

  7. *Winces*

    Ouch, I wonder how I made *that* typo! :S

  8. Salaams Br. Faraz,
    Interesting blog... and all I've got to say on the hockey front in Woohoo, another Habs fan! Being in Ottawa at the time of the Cancer story, I remember hearing before September 11th, but I can't place the exact day. I believe it was at least the 8th or 9th... I do remember where I was when I heard about the planes though, but that's a long, other story...
    Anyway, I'll definitely be back to check this blog in the future...

  9. Noha: Wa'alaykum assalam,
    The cancer story was one that hit quite close to home for our family. I remember the day he came back, my whole family, including my parents who don't care about hockey, were all wrapped around the television to appreciate his efforts and courage. Even today, my father will still talk about Koivu as a man of courage.

    Unfortunately, my blog is going through a period of extreme neglect right now while a lot of other things are making demands on my time. I'm not sure how much this will be updated anymore.