Monday, March 30, 2009

Are the Borders going Bananas!

A lot of political border decisions have been made recently that defy logic.

George Bush entered Canada a couple weeks ago to give his first post-presidency speech. Protests and indignation about his war criminal past abounded. His questionable record and presidency aside, if he was denied entry, the only pleasure I would derive from it would be the humiliation factor. I'd probably disagree with the decision, solely based on the fact that I'd want to hear what he has to say about all of his mistakes and the mess he left behind. I'd also disagree with a refusal of Bush based on principals of free speech, not rocking the boat, and keeping our ties sane with the USA.

It seems the Canadian border officials have a double standard however. It has no problems slapping another ally in the face by rejecting one of their ministers. British Minister George Galloway has been denied entry into Canada because he helped deliver humanitarian aid to dying, suffering and starving Palestinians during the Israeli invasion.

I don't know where this decision is coming from. It's easy enough to blame Stephen Harper. The free speech stifling is in line with his Bush-style rule and Israel-can-do-no-wrong political stance, but I'm painfully aware of the rigidity and questionable decision making processes of Canada's Immigration officials, as well as the Canadian government's inability to get involved. In immigration matters, the Canadian government has a hands-off approach like one would expect in high-profile police investigations or criminal court proceedings.

I do however think this should be a rallying cry for Liberals and New Democrats. If they can't organize a true coalition, then at least unite in some of your criticisms. This is one of a dozen potential overthrow issues, get down to it and start criticizing.

Surprisingly, the madness is not just restricted to Canada. The British minister may be getting denied for sympathizing with a suffering group of people, but it's not the worst immigration decision made in the past weeks.

South Africa, Africa's shining beacon of fairness, equality and human rights, denied entrance to the Dalai Lama last week! I'm shaking my head right now. It defies logic! I might at least understand denying entrance to, say, Winnie Mandela. Or even the Pope into an African country hard hit by the HIV epidemic. But the Dalai Lama? The man whose country was invaded by China, and has for years preached a peaceful resolution. A man who more than any other, and perhaps only seconded by Nelson Mandela himself, symbolizes peace and forgiveness and everything that's good about the world.

Who made that decision?

Qatar, meanwhile, is hosting none other than the man recently indicted for War Crimes by the ICC, Omar Al Bashir.

Are the borders going bananas?

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