Thursday, May 28, 2015

Omar Kadhr: Out from the Shadows...a documentary review

UPDATE:  May 29, 2015  Here is an opinion piece on the documentary from the Toronto Star.  I believe the hardest part of Kadhr's adjustment will come when he attempts to come to terms with the truth about 9/11...the event that propelled him into a war zone and that killed his father.  When he realizes that 9/11 was an inside job perpetrated by monstrous elements in the US Government, military and the Mossad...that's when the true test of his courage to overcome adversity will take place.

Omar Kadhr, Canadian

When you see Omar Kadhr's broken little body, lying twisted and half buried in the rubble of the destroyed building in Afghanistan...you can't believe the 15 year old boy survived. Even the US soldiers could not believe he survived the carpet bombing from the air that preceded the firefight. His upper chest had two massive open wounds and he was covered in blood. His face was seared by the explosions that took one eye and seriously injured the other. The army medics treated his wounds. He was unconscious for a week and has little memory of what happened.

But he survived and was flown to Guantanamo, Cuba...shackled to the floor of the airplane.  He was forced to wear earmuffs, goggles and a hood on his head for the entire flight. The CBC documentary allows Kadhr to describe his emotions before, during and after the events that took place in Afghanistan. Kadhr has just been released from a Canadian prison and is currently living in the family home with his long time lawyer, the lawyer's wife and some big, friendly dogs. Kadhr still has to wear an electronic shackle on his ankle. Throughout the documentary, he seems relaxed, smiles a lot (a wonderful smile) and is amazingly candid about some soul destroying experiences. At one point he admits he's still adjusting and predicts that sooner or later he will just...."crawl under my bed and cry my eyes out".

The documentary film makers interviewed several US soldiers who dealt with Kadhr and/or knew others that did during his years in Guantanamo. One says when asked his opinion of Kadhr, a guard called him a "rock star". Well, I don't know what the soldier meant by that...but I can agree. There is something about Kadhr...he has a charisma. He is extremely literate and well spoken with a philosophical quality reflected in his ideas. Perhaps that's why Stephen Harper is so afraid of him.

I have always voiced support for this young man who was victimized by so many "who should know better"...as his lawyer so aptly put it. As a former social worker, I felt the injustice being done to this child...who was criminally subjected to illegal treatment by two countries. The worst individual in the documentary is the CSIS man who is heard off screen talking to Kadhr while Khadr is sobbing in the Guantanamo cell. Kadhr is saying that he has physical pain in his shoulder...and the CSIS guy is pooh poohing it..."Looks to me like you're getting excellent medical care.". Kadhr, by the way, was subjected to waterboarding, sexual abuse and something they call being a "human mop". Where he was forced to urinate on the floor and then roll around in the urine to clean it up.

I highly recommend watching this video documentary when it becomes available on the Internet. For the first time in a very long time, I was proud to be a Canadian again. Proud because Kadhr is also, after all, a Canadian and, yes...he IS a rock star! (whatever that means).

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