Why are Egypt’s Crimes Stephen Harper’s Fault?

This morning we learned that an Egyptian court – a kangaroo court, if ever there was one – after what can only be characterized as a farce of a trial, had convicted  Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera reporter, on “terrorism-related” charges and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.  That the conviction was preordained is undeniable.   This can probably be taken for granted anywhere in the Arab world, but even by the low standards of the region, this trial was a joke.   Apparently, Egypt defines “terrorism” as saying unflattering, if accurate, things about its shit-hole government (that the current shit-hole government isn’t much worse (or better) than its predecessor shit-hole government, is really neither here nor there).  Still, Mr. Fahmy’s conviction  in itself, isn’t all that interesting – after all, did anyone really expect a fair trial? 

What’s more interesting has been the response of some of Mr. Fahmy’s family and supporters, who have been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Fahmy’s brother’s, Sherif, tweeted Stephen Harper:

I hold you responsible for leaving my brother to rotten in Egyptian prison. Was a call or a public statement that difficult?

Or Tony Burman, columnist for the Toronto Star who said:

The absence of the highest level of intervention, on behalf of the Canadian government has been lamentable. But, there is a chance for reversal…It’s now time for Canada’s prime minister to indicate to Egypt that enough is enough.

More in this vein can be seen here.

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World’s Crappiest Countries – Cuba Edition

This is only indirectly a post about Cuba.  I actually like Cuba, and feel quite bad for its citizens.  This post is really about Jagrup Brar, the BC NDP’s Small Business Critic (“critic” being the operative word), and apparently one of the last remaining slobbering admirers of Castro’s Cuba.    In a Radio India interview, he is reported to have said about Cuba:

“[T]he gap between rich and poor is not there or very minimal. Nor is there an individual who doesn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat. Nor is there a child who goes to bed hungry.”

He went on at length about Cuba’s “free” education system, and its peerless “free” public health care network, where, he claimed, doctors are available at any hour and will dispense “any medication you need”.

There is no crime in Cuba, declared Mr. Brar. At least, he didn’t see any. And that’s what his Cuban “guide” said.

“He told me that the ‘rat race’ that exists in our society doesn’t take place there. He said they enjoy their lives and live their lives to the fullest. That’s the type of life there,” said Mr. Brar. “People roam free in the streets whether in the cities or the villages. I witnessed young women in the streets catching rides or waiting for the bus.”

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World’s Crappiest Countries – Pakistan Edition

Part of me wants to feel bad for picking on Pakistan.  It is, after all, one of the world’s crappiest countries.  It probably doesn’t need to be reminded of that fact.  But then I read this story and, yeah, it needs to be reminded of the fact.

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