omar ahmed khadr - canadian in custody

the footage shows omar khadr at 16 years old in an interrogation room with some (cold) canadian inquisitors and the clip has had notable airtime in the past three days. filmed in Feb 2003, the film has sparked some outrage in the Canadian public but PM Harper is not interested in taking up the case.

one moment keeps running over and over in my mind: at one point omar sputters, "I have lost my eyes. I have lost my feet. everything." immediately the callous voice of his interrogator points out what appears obvious to him, "no, you still have your eyes and your feet are there at the end of your legs" his tone is flat and blasé - i find him most horrid and disgusting but perhaps it is merely a 'sign of the times'?

no, it is not so.

two nights ago I watched the battle of algiers, 1966 and a few nights prior i watched la haine, 1995. both films portray the captor-captive dynamic in war (on different scales) that exists always in all power struggles. both films show the inhumanity that breeds in interrogation rooms. both films explore the hatred that lives between detained and free agents (often it is born long before their time, but they carry, nurture, grow it and make sure to pass the hate on.) still, after seeing this specific real life clip so many times, i continue to hear a few voices battling out the idea in my mind... it seems i have yet to come to terms... while omar sits in his cell, i am still trying to come to terms - how absurd.

(voice 1 earnest and frantic) "he's Canadian!"
(voice 2 cool and aloof) "Canadian and brown in the wrong place at the wrong time boils down to brown and suspicious - brown and suspicious equals terrorist these days kiddo"
(voice 3 tentative and fearful) "so if i'm a canadian caught in a firefight and accused of throwing something, that's it, i'm detained indefinitely, tortured and ignored?"
(voice 1 aghast) "no, impossible, that's can't be!"
(voice 2 unforgiving) "well, would you like to deny reality, deny the footage you see"
(voice 1 alarmed) "but he's obviously distressed and severely traumatized! why don't they do something"
(voice 2 sensible and calm) "do what my dear? do what? you heard them - they obviously don't care - that video was shot over five years ago, got leaked and now we're concerned - the man is now 21 years old and still in custody."
(voice 3 quiet and sad) "...i couldn't figure out if he said 'help me' or 'kill me'"
(voice 1 full of sorrow and sympathy) "oh that clip is just awful... his poor mother"
(voice 2 exasperated) "whatever man, at least his family knows where he is; there are blackhole detention centers worldwide with guys whose families believe they're dead or worse yet their mothers fear them "missing" when in actual fact these guys are completely off our radar, these guys are being submitted to god knows what - i mean seriously, only god knows..."

i have lost my eyes
i have lost my feet

i lost my right eye
in the firefight
i lost my feet
once they detained me
since my 'capture'
they have taken
my freedom, my hope, my sanity

the war is not canada's
this was is america's
a war against my father, brothers, uncles,
a war against my family

these unjust authorities
take us from our land
americans have since
forgotten afghanistan

first they accused my father
now they torture me
the war still goes on
we die, they die, we die, but i

soldiers attacked my home
soldiers killed my family
soldiers shot me in the chest
soldiers now detain me

"help me"
"kill me"


one soulful negro. said...

this is crazy.
the torture that people incur. its really disgusting.

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