Lots to think about tonight. A good hunk of those thoughts at the moment generated by the "emergency" meeting called on behalf of Jeremy Hinzman, one of the many Iraq war resisting soldiers in Canada, who is about to be deported this weekend after a 4 year struggle to gain refugee status in Canada. The picture at the above link is kind of funny to me looking at it now. The baby he is seen holding is now around 5 years old... after sitting patiently with his dad on the stage, he finally was released and was running all around the place with a friend having fun. His life will change again in a few days, if the last legal appeals are not granted. Though Selena and I have been acquainted with Jeremy and his family for years now, it's only in the last week or so that I actually found out much about his story. It a long one, and with a lot more to it than I'd have guessed, or thought to think. The details of this story, and indeed of the story of war resister's in general, is a lot more complex than most people know, or think to think. The amount of misinformation and propaganda fed to us, combined with our own general ambivalence, is a difficult thing to come to terms with.
But in the end we now have this pitiful minority government, the only party in Canada to pander themselves to the American government's idiotic so-called "war", when all of the rest of Canada saw through its deceitful and false "casus belli". Polls indicate that the majority of Canadians want the war resisters to stay; the majority of Canadians consider it a historical badge of honour to have supported the Vietnam war resisters. But the American-lite party which lucked themselves barely into temporary power are taking the moment to have their vindictive moment, beating on powerless people who have appealed to us for help... while spinning the issue to distance themselves from it. But the truth is it is entirely their decision, and they are making it despite the majority of public opinion.
That's my personal take on the situation anyhow.
The meeting was much more interesting. There were about 150 people at this hastily called meeting; including two Members of Parliament (Mario Silva, and Peggy Nash; Liberal and NDP). The small meeting hall was packed tightly, despite short notice. I learned quite a lot; there was so much to say, time quicky ran out. It was interesting to hear a bunch of different perspectives not commonly reported in the media. It was interesting to see the people actually involved, face to face. Sadly, despite many calls for hope and determination that the deportations will be halted, it really didn't seem like there was anything in that meeting that would affect the impending deportation of Jeremy. There are a couple of final legal angles that are being attempted. But that's largely out of our hands now. There were many mentions of a large upcoming September 13 "day of action".
One of the most interesting and simple thoughts presented. A middle aged man got up near the end and expressed that it should be a fundamental human right to be allowed to refuse to kill. It should be a right that is respected whether it is applied universally or limited to certain conflicts or situations. Is that simple concept so subversive? In the 21st century have we still not achieved something so obvious? It boggles the mind.
It was interesting to learn that Jeremy had served for 3 years in an elite infantry division, during which time he apparently developed a fundamental opposition to war in all forms. He tried to apply for conscientious objector status, but was turned down. How do you turn one down from being contentious? Apparently by deportation, prison, persecution, and threats of prosecution. Fools.
Jeremy is not a talkative guy usually. He's usually very quiet, the time's I've seen him. He was obliged to speak at the meeting. He kept it fairly short. But he did affirm that even if he has to ultimately serve 5 years in jail, and come out a felon... he will gladly do it, if it means he did not have to terrorize and kill other people. Many are voicing their opposition particularly just to service in this particular farce of a war. Jeremy however has come to a place where he is against all war. He is a brave man, who has stood up for his principles more than most of us---soldiers or civilians---ever will dare to. He may soon be paying even more dearly than he already has for that courage and will. And we all as Canadians will share a responsibility in that injustice, thanks to our government.
Take a peek at resisters.ca if you want any more info.