Via Canadian Cynic, although
... in Canada today, God help you if you're not white, because the federal government sure won't. Indeed, that government creates these problems in the first place.
(Suaad Hagi) Mohamud's case is a perfect example; her nightmare began when a functionary in the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi agreed with a Kenyan airport official and decided she wasn't the woman whose photograph appears in her passport. We were told, incredibly, that it had something to do with her lips. She was immediately declared an "imposter" and Kenyan authorities were asked to prosecute her.
Although she produced all kinds of identification – including a driver's licence, OHIP card, social insurance card and a Canadian citizenship certificate to boot – her fate was sealed. The poor woman even spent time in a Kenyan jail, the horror of which one can only begin to imagine.
Meanwhile, her 12-year-old son – clearly another figment of her imagination – languished in Toronto, wondering if, not when, his mother would be able to return home.
Months after Mohamud's ordeal began and even now that its falsity has been exposed, no one in Harper's government has said a word, let alone apologized.
This isn't just another political scandal; this is cause for deep national shame. This smacks not just of prejudice, but of apartheid.
The whole episode, don't forget, began and ended with Canadian officialdom. Even if one accepts that bureaucrats in a far-flung posting make stupid mistakes such as this, the elected government's response has turned that error into something wholly different, namely a matter of policy. Whether that policy is official or not, it's now clear that only certain Canadians can count on the protection of the federal government.
Had Mohamud been a white mother from Leaside, you can rest assured that Harper himself would have led the charge to have her repatriated.
(Preferably if she had been a stay-at-home mother, of course.)
Read some of the comments on these and related stories and you'll be shocked by the number of people who blame the victim because her head was covered. That despite how:
Mohamud quickly presented a credible batch of documents to Canadian diplomats in Nairobi attesting to her Canadian citizenship and residency. They included an Ontario driver's licence, an Ontario Health Insurance Plan card, a citizenship certificate, a social insurance card, credit card, bank cards, a Humber River Regional Hospital card, a Shoppers Drug Mart card, a note from her Toronto employer, and a recent Toronto dry cleaning receipt. Given all this, Ottawa should have been able to confirm her citizenship within days at most.
Yet officials in the high commission rejected the documents, branding her an imposter. They sent her voided passport to Kenyan immigration authorities to help them prosecute her, which could have led to prison or expulsion to her native, wartorn Somalia.
But it's not just blogging conjobs who are silent.
As Dammit Janet! notes:
And among those who demonstrated the most callous bureaucratic and racist indifference to her plight are Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney - all non-muslim white men of privilege and members of Stephen Harper's Conservative Government.
President Karzai has supported women simply through rhetoric. He has promised repeatedly to appoint more women ministers and nominate them to the Supreme Court, but has reneged on both. Worse, he signed the "women’s law," which essentially legalized rather than criminalizing abuse.
Karzai is appointing dangerous warlords who do not respect women’s rights and also pursuing a peace agreement with the Taliban. Feminist organizations must take their resources and work all sides of this equation. Perhaps Karzai should hear from these groups about a campaign to remove him from office instead of allowing him to use women as ballot stuffers.
Helping women in Afghanistan has never been easy, so it must be strategic. Abdur Rahman Khan, who ruled Afghanistan from 1880-1901, was the first monarch to allow his wife to be seen without a veil. This and his quest to bring progressive changes to Afghanistan sparked a rebellion that eventually cost him his crown. Any time reforms are initiated too quickly, or directly oppose traditions, Afghans tend to respond ruthlessly – as they did when the Soviets tried to impose progressive decrees that changed women’s status. What followed was the comprehensive suppression of women’s rights during the Mujahedeen and Taliban eras.
So anyway, where are those cons on Mohamud's plight?
<Crickets chirp. Frogs ribbit.>