Saturday, February 26, 2005

Maher Arar and Ernst Zundel

You would probably not often see those two names in the same context, and indeed they have nothing in common with one another. Except that they were both kicked out of the United States, but with completely different considerations.

I was just reading this excellent article by Bob Hebert at the New York Times. He interviews Maher Arar about his ordeal in Syria. Its really heartbreaking to read in detail about what happened. The man is lucky to be alive.

Around the same time the story broke that Ernst Zundel was being punted across the pond, back to Germany. But it is not the romanticized neo-nazi paradize that Zundel yells about, but rather it is the Germany that is going to throw him in jail. Here, he was our #1 promoter of racial hatred. Over there he'll just be just another neo-nazi that no one cares about. Germans have a much more refined understanding of the nuances of white supremacy rhetoric and will deal with Zundel under their laws. Is'nt that ironic?

I hesitate to even write about Ernst Zundel because it is a pointless conversation. Merely acknowledging that he exists is extending too much attention. But it did strike me as a major contradiction in the different ways Zundel and Arar were treated. Arar transfers planes in a U.S. airport and is essentially kidnapped and shipped to Syria. Zundel, spends years tying up the courts in both the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. decides after a long while to throw him out and sends him back to Ontario not Syria. But not after extending the maximum amount of due process possible. Meanwhile, the National Post et al fixates themselves to death on a Romanian Stripper and a low-level con artist Pizza maker.

The policy as I understand it: When dealing with white supremacist neo-nazi hate mongers, extend them all the due process you can, and if you must deport them deport them to Toronto. Brown people with funny names should go straight to Syria.

With Maher Arar we will never ever know what happened and who made what mistake. Due process and transparency do not apply. You might as well be arguing with the East German government in 1960.

I've been thinking a lot lately about alternative universes. Somewhere there is an alternative universe where Ernst Zundel steps off a plane, gets kidnapped by the INS/CIA/FBI/DHS who then drop ship him to Tel Aviv. For some strange reason the Mossad thinks Zundel knows something they need to know and tortures him for a few years. Every once in while, but not often, someone says, hey, whatever happened to that guy in the hardhat.

Please recommend this post

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