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.