Saturday, September 23, 2006

What are you going to say 20 years from now

What are you going to say 20 years from now when a young person asks you what you did when it became legal for the US government to grab people off the street, torture them and hold them indefinitely without charges? Are you going to have to say that all you did was mutter under your breath to a few like-minded friends? Or perhaps you will have to say that you agreed with it at the time because you thought it would make the country safer if suspicious people could be 'disappeared' and assumed that our government would never do such a thing to people who looked like you.

The people of Canada are very upset about their government’s role in the case of Maher Arar, an innocent man who was ‘disappeared’ and tortured for 10 months. There was a governmental inquiry and much soul-searching about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’ s role in the sorry episode (a much smaller role than the US government’s). There are plans to give Maher Arar a Canadian government job in compensation.

In the US there is no inquiry and very little outcry. The only official response so far is to block Maher Arar from suing in US courts to receive compensation. To the rest of the world it appears that no one in the US cares very much about this issue.
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

At some point in the future are you going to say something similar that starts with 'First they came for the Middle-Eastern looking men and I did not speak out because I did not look Middle-Eastern'?


Anonymous said...

What are you going to say twenty years from now when your kids ask why only Christian protestors were restricted as to where they could protest against abortion?

QuadCityImages said...

What? Bush protesters are being put into fenced-in "free speech areas", so I don't think its only pro-life people gettting screwed there.

Anonymous said...

The point is that we are allowing a small cadre of people in Washington to change America as we know it. They are changing our way of thinking about one another and about our destiny. We are allowing them to say America has exclusive ways of torturing( anyone who fits the latest profile of a terrorist--if they are not white) suspects ( don't think it will not filter down to the local police stations)and we, the people, do not care. Does not make us popular anywhere else in the world--most people here do not care because the farthest place out of town they go to is Disney Land.