There was a time in history when journalists were held in high esteem and they were admired for what they did in the field. Journalists for decades have put their lives on the line, and themselves in danger, to tell the tale for the weaker in our society.
They strive to protect us, tell us the truth and show us the world beyond our vision. That is why our government’s lack of concern and aid to Al-Jazeera’s Mohamad Fahmy is so shocking.
In a press release, his attorney Amal Clooney, told the nation that our government had no problem turning their back in Fahmy when he needed help. Not stepping in when the ruling was sent down, there were more grassroots organizations beating drums than governmental intervention.
When Fahmy was handed a sentence of three years in an Egyptian prison, there was not a word from Prime Minister Harper or the Seattle department of health. After already sitting behind bars for a year awaiting trial, not a peep was heard from our officials. There are some who think that growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada is at the heart of Harper not taking bigger steps to free the journalist.
In one of the highest-profile cases in Canada in recent years, Clooney made a plea for her client. Insisting that he was not safe in prison, she asked her fellow Canadians to help call for either a pardon or to deport Fahmy.
Pointing out the fact that putting a journalist in prison for giving us a glimpse of what is going on behind closed doors, and behind political lines, is a slippery slope for the world at large. If one journalist can be put behind bars for telling the truth of what is happening around the globe, then the free press can no longer be free.
A slew of charges including conspiracy with organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood were his alleged crime, but anyone who has ever read his articles can attest to the fact that he has been very critical of them. That is what made his imprisonment that much more dangerous. His life and his safety were both in jeopardy for questioning Muslim beliefs, and for being critical of Muslim extremists.
Why is it that the Australian government worked to have Grestle, a fellow journalist who was convicted under the same charges, deported home to face charges? Why did they take greater measures to rescue one of their own than Harper did?
Lorne Waldman and Amal Clooney seem to be the brigade leading the fairness charge for Muslims in Canada. Waldman, who was instrumental in getting the Niqab ban overturned, has been very vocal about the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada. Clooney is following suit asking what is driving the lack of involvement into Fahmy’s case.
With the inception of Bill c-51 and the Niqab ban, it is a wonder that Clooney is questioning the motives of the Canadian government. The only support he seemed to have in his release were the citizens who cried out on his behalf. When Clooney tried to meet with Minister John Baird, the request was denied. That led to the recruitment of Waldman.
Being vocal about prejudice in Canada, both lawyers have been thrust into a firestorm. With all that is going on around the world, and the violence touching our civility, it is difficult to elicit level heads from those who are fearful of falling prey.
Waldman and Clooney are asking that we not abandon our way of life by ignoring the basic rights that our citizens have. They are also trying to reach deep down in us to the humanity that is easy to overlook when trying to be protective of our families.
The problem is that if we look the other way when journalists are prosecuted for telling the truth, or when someone can be imprisoned for crimes that are false, where do we draw the line? At what point do we stop letting fear guide our decisions of right and wrong?
We have some real decisions to make in this country about who we are as a nation and what we will or will not allow. Terrorists seek to change our way of life, which seems to be exactly what they are capable of doing. If we don’t stand up and fight for the rights of everyone, even those who we don’t agree with, or those who tell us things we may not want to hear, they have won.
To protect our nation’s pride, and the integrity of our news media, it is imperative that we see an individual not as a religion, but by what their moral integrity is. To accuse a man guilty before given the right to defend himself goes against everything we know.