Who Cares for Omar Khadr?

He was a child, aged 15. He is now 21 years. He was in Afghanistan because his parents took him there. His father and mother are militant Muslims.

He was in a building that US commandos suddenly attacked. When people in the building shot back, they bombed the building and blew it to bits. Then they approached the building, and a US soldier got killed by a hand grenade thrown from the ruins of the building. When they entered the ruins Omar Khadr was still alive; but others were too. In a revised report, they made him the only one left alive. He has been charged with murder. He was shot at close range by bullets (plural). The case is insane for several reasons:

a. He is a child soldier, which means he is a victim of war not a war criminal

b. Evidence was changed to make him the only person by inference who might have thrown a hand grenade. There is no witness that he did.

c. Soldiers killed while attacking a house in a foreign country cannot be victims of murder. They are casualties of war.

d. People in a house being attacked by foreigners are engaged in self-defence.

The US has made a category that a person is not a soldier and is not a civilian: unlawful enemy combatant. So laws of war and POW treatment do not apply and criminal laws also do not apply.

There is not much evidence against him and there is lack of jurisdiction in the US law related to “child soldiers”.

The only reason he is still in Guantanamo Bay is because the government is afraid they have turned him into a radical. But, he is young and can be rehabilitated. Everyone, even the Canadian officials who came to console him, have done nothing and he continues to be persecuted. A young girl named Zainab, wrote in asking: “Who cares for this boy?”

It is not that no one cares… Zainab cares… I care… Moazzem Begg cares… there are probably others, even his captors, who may care. The problem is, none of us who care are in any position or hold any power to do anything for him. We are not even voters in America and do not even have the stilled voice of constituency, or a representative to write to, which would be futile anyway.

The editors are not interested in him because this is not the kind of story which sells time and space in the mainstream corporate media. And, no one else is paid to care!

Omar is probably the greatest shame on Canada, because two governments, the Liberals under Paul Martin and the Conservatives under Harper have both made the overt decision to leave him in prison. The case against him is insane.

Omar has been tortured in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.

Yes, they have destroyed his soul and if they released him they would either have a new and dedicated enemy warrior on their hands, or a “poster boy” to inspire and recruit many more. It is more than likely that they simply consider that they have a problem, and the longer they have kept him the more difficult it has become to release him.

Think of the “Missing in Action POWs” whom US presidential candidate John McCain and his government left behind in Vietnam. The longer they denied their existence, the harder it became to bring them back in from the cold and, eventually, they had to write them off because it would have been too embarrassing to save them. This is what is happening in Gitmo. This is the reality of the world we live in.

The kid has no chance. Unless some colonel, general, or someone with sufficient authority, if even for a moment, should step in, risk his neck, and sign a paper which gets the boy free long enough for him to make it back home to cover. This is extremely unlikely! There must be some reason why this lad did not die from his wounds. A shotgun blast to the back with sufficient force to exit the chest is a pretty fatal event. Perhaps the Power that kept him alive this long will reveal His purpose in time. Yeah, I know that is even more rhetorical crap, but then, that is my stock in trade!

The Army which destroyed his soul consists of a few hundred thousand others whose souls have also and already been destroyed. He is just another one of many for whom the “coalition of the willing” are going to have to answer, someday.

Wars produce even worse things and casualties. He is one of them. What is the current dead, maimed, and homeless count this morning? 1,273,378! Who cares about them? How many American youths have they sent to be killed? 4,180. Who cares about them? It has been seven years and counting. Do not expect the Americans to care. Very little, I can assure you! Prayers may help…I’m not sure.

Debbie Menon is a Dubai-based writer. She can be reached at: debbie.menon@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Debbie, or visit Debbie's website.

2 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. John Hatch said on October 20th, 2008 at 2:08pm #

    I wrote an article regarding Omar Khadr which was coincidentally published on the same day the video regarding him became available. You can see both here: http://www.orato.com/podium/2008/07/14/bring-omar-khadr-home

  2. Ali Mallah said on October 22nd, 2008 at 10:16pm #

    Excellent article by Debbie Menon.
    I have exchanged some emails with Debbie and told her that many of us here in Canada do care about Omar Khadr and his Human rights. that’s why we have formed the Khadr Coalition to pressure Harper to act.
    However, Am afraid that it appears we are suffering from an overwhelming obedience. We must challenge ourselves and need to re-charge our energy and be willing to be inconvenient when necessary.
    PLEASE, don’t wait to be invited, take the suggestion to your group and get in touch with us here:

    Also, Here is another excellent article by Dr. Monia Mazigh:
    Human Rights still matter