TIFF: Guantanamo’s Child

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – My goodness. Talk about an IED of a documentary. You have one with this TIFF film.

It’s understandable the American fury with the 9/11 attacks but, as one American commentator suggests, Americans were so caught up with 9/11 that they seemed to forget what America stood for in terms of human rights and democracy on 9/10.

Omar Khadr is the son of an activist for education in Afghanistan, but born in Toronto in 1986. So, the film reminds us that Khadr is Canadian. At eight years of age, Khadr moved to Pakistan, and then to Afghanistan.

Somehow, he ends up as a 15 year-old errand boy and translator for Taliban fighters.

Khadr is caught up in a firefight with American soldiers in Afghanistan and, it is alleged, he has murdered an American soldier. He he is so pinned under rubble, however, it is somewhat doubtful he could have even tossed the grenade that killed American soldier Christian Spier.

Khadr is, by American captor accounts, subject to torture in Bagram, Afghanistan, for three months. His mother expresses her thoughts that death would have been preferable to torture. His sisters, Burka-clad as they are, seem to claim that he was justified in killing an American.

Quite frankly, they are more terrifying than Omar.

After 13 years in captivity, Khadr is finally released from prison in Alberta and into the custody of his lawyer. Prime Minister Harper takes the view that Khadr is a vicious terrorist and has his Attorney General staff fight his parole.

As an American security expert states, it is quite clear Harper has never ”… read the file.”

Those held in Guantanamo Bay are only transferred there because they speak a Western language. They are tortured and abused and Canada’s CSIS is featured in a video interrogating Khadr.

Rotten and corrupt Canada. It is like Mulroney singing Irish Eyes Are Smiling with Ronald Regan in Ottawa.

An interesting documentary as we hear Khadr and his family explain their interpretation of events. We also hear from Steven Harper, US military officials, interrogators, and Khadr’s lawyer.

It is very clear that countries, such as the United States and Canada,that  pride themselves on democracy and the principles of habeas corpus, but there’s been a lapse.

Particularly odious is Harper’s total amnesia about arbitrary arrest and detention that lasted some 13 years. Is this someone you really want as your prime minister?

I believe, in Stalinist times, we referred to such people as toadies.

(Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr, Canada, 80 minutes, playing at Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 16, and 19, director Patrick Reed)

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen

1 Comment on "TIFF: Guantanamo’s Child"

  1. The old saying is better to be safe than sorry, there were a lot of people killed in the 911 attack including Canadians. I stand behind my government right or wrong, they are doing what they feel is the right thing. Unfortunately sometimes the innocent are caught up in this mess and suffer like the innocent people that were injured in 911.

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