Janet’s post is in reaction to a snarky article written by a member of the right-wing Canada Free Press questioning Maher Arar’s status as a Canadian citizen. Author Dick Field works hard to figure out if Arar is, in fact, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen, but by the wording you can tell that Dick Field has an axe to grind:
First, and exceedingly strange, is the fact that our media has persuaded the public that Mr. Arar is an ordinary immigrant Canadian of Syrian descent. No, he is not an ordinary Canadian like most of us. He is a citizen of Canada and a citizen of Syria. For months this writer has tried verify this fact by listening to every newscast and reading every newspaper possible in order to find out if Mr. Arar was indeed a dual citizen but no luck, nary a mention. Why the silence? Why the mystery? Apparently, the fact was discussed early in the O’Connor Inquiry and then dropped, so there is no excuse for the media.
The big question I have is, so what? The fact remains that Arar is a Canadian citizen, and by obtaining Canadian citizenship, he deserves all the rights and privileges other Canadian citizens enjoy. Including, one would think, the right not to be arrested without just cause, and then shipped off to Syria to be tortured. Indeed, I find it particularly loathsome that Dick Field feels that, by virtue of his Syrian citizenship, Arar somehow brought his problems onto himself:
Mr. Arar knew the torture practises in his own country, so we should ask Mr. Arar why he risked keeping his Syrian citizenship. Certainly by retaining his Syrian citizenship, Mr. Arar must be partly responsible for his own misfortunes, even if he is totally innocent.
News flash, Mr. Field: Arar is innocent. If you have no problem with innocent civilians being taken into custody and tortured, then maybe you’d have no problem if you got picked up and sent off to a despotic country for a little waterboarding.
Janet goes further, doing her research and calling out Mr. Field for his own sloppy work in decrying the media’s so-called sloppy research:
While Field castigates the media for not doing their homework, he (un)studiously neglected doing his own. So I did it for him. And sent Canada Free Press the results.
Syria makes it very difficult for expats to renounce their citizenship. http://www.opm.gov/extra/investigate/IS-01.pdf
LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP:
VOLUNTARY: Though voluntary renunciation of Syrian citizenship is permitted by law, the Syrian Information Office stated that it is so complicated that it is best not to attempt the process. In effect, according to that Office, the process is complicated in order to discourage renunciation of Syrian citizenship. Former citizens of Syria probably maintain an unofficial dual citizenship status and would be subject to Syrian law as citizens should they return to Syria.
Therefore your rant on Maher Arar (http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/field100406.htm) is highly inaccurate. Are you going to publish a retraction?
Two days later, no answer, no acknowledgement of receipt, no posting of my letter on their “letter blog” (about one letter a week, none negative), no apology to Arar, and of course, no retraction.
I can handle highly partisan media if they stick to truthful reporting. Canada Free Press does not seem to feel obliged to live by those standards.
Well said, Janet!