Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hung out to Dry

I'll try to keep this short-ish but you need the background cause most of y'all ain't up on Canadian news.

One of the big stories in Toronto lately has been about Somalian born Canadian Suuad Hagi Mohamud who was detained in Kenya while on a trip to Africa a few months ago. Ms Mohamud was detained at the airport in Kenya because the claim was that her Canadian passport did not look like her. Something about the lips not matching but whatever, apparently its common for airport authorities there to seek bribes to let you get on your plane.

Anyway, the Canadian High Commission there agreed with the airport people's claims, took Ms Mohamud's passport voided it, deemed her imposer and sent her to Kenyan authorities who sent her to jail for some time. It was only finally after the rejection of reams of documentation that DNA evidence proving that she was who she said she was was accepted by the authorities and sometime later Ms Mohamud was allowed to return to Canada.

This whole ordeal took over three months and Ms Mohamud on her arrival back in Toronto a few days ago is now sick having to be taken to hospital a day after her return.

The Canadian government meanwhile refuses to issue an apology for leaving a citizen stranded in such a situation.

Now I know I rushed though the story but it should be clear that Ms Mohamud got screwed and was also let down by the agencies that should be working on her behalf. Canadian citizens get into trouble worldwide and are dependent on Canadian consulates and embassies to stand up for them not invalidate them as a citizen and throw them to the wolves. In the past few years we've seen Canadian citizens in jail or accused of crimes in foreign lands quickly whisked away by Canadian authorities, flown back to the the relative safety of their homeland. Why couldn't an innocent individual like Ms Mohamed get such treatment?

Well the general feeling is she got the crap end of the stick because she's an African (read black) immigrant, ie even though she's got her Canadian citizenship she wasn't born here so she's still a second class citizen subject to second class treatment. The evidence is there to lead one to that conclusion but that's not what I want to talk about here.

My thing is about this story in today's Toronto Star.

The Canadian diplomat who officially disowned Suaad Hagi Mohamud as an "impostor" has been recalled from Kenya.

Liliane Khadour has "concluded" her posting, a consular official at the Canadian High Commission said yesterday from the capital, Nairobi..........

Khadour is now in Ottawa.

Although she owns a condominium apartment there with her partner, Jason Joyce, the two are staying at a downtown hotel. Both had been working at the commission in Nairobi as first secretaries.

When reached by cellphone yesterday, Joyce hung up almost immediately. Neither answered the phone in their hotel room or returned messages.

Ok now Ms Mohamud suffered because Khadour screwed up but still this is such a B**** move.

I'm sorry but how does knowing the name of the official who screwed up help anything and who released the name? The only reason this has been released is to make her a real tangible target for the public fury and to get some of the heat off the elected officials and the government apparatus who knew what was happening but refused to even make a statement saying they were investigating even weeks later when it was clear that they had screwed up. This is just a move to avoid a real apology and cool some of the heat off the dudes who need votes.

I mean I'm from the school that says the top should let employees who do well get the praise but if they screw up you don't hang them out to dry the top absorbs the criticisms as much as possible. That's not how it is 100% of the time but to some extent it should work that way to keep folk happy/ Plus in this situation finger pointing at a lower level diplomat just isn't the way to go. Man up and say sorry Government of Canada don't try to focus anger on one individual. I mean she screwed up and deserves to be punished, fired even but don't name names, don't hang a target on her back. I'm sure she had supervisors who had supervisors who could have overruled her. Are their names going to be published too?

This is so unprofessional and uncalled for. Way to try to deflect criticism Government of Canada.


Jacqueline Smith said...

I've just moved to Canada and I've been following the story. Haroon Siddui remarked in his Toronto Star column Thursday that Harper shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. He didn't say what should be done though. How do you hold the Canadian Prime Minister accountable in a case like this? I guess we've got to wait and see what Mohamud's lawyer does. I suppose making khadour's head roll is a preemptive move on the govt's part.

Anyways, give me a welcome to Canada shout over here

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