Jul 03 2009

Mr. “F**k Canada Day” Goes On the Attack

He’s been disowned by a panicked Canadian Arab Federation in damage-control mode, threatened with grievous bodily harm by a predictable slew of blog-trolling rednecks and was presumably pressured to resign his executive position yesterday. But the unrepentant Omar Shaban, who has cursed his adopted country, is not hiding in a cave somewhere near Vancouver or leaving for some distant shore where both radical propagandists and narcissistic idiots are more welcome (Britain, perhaps?). He’s actually trying to defend his words.

According to Mr. Shaban’s blog from “Occupied Canada”:

My facebook status did read “F*** Canada Day”, and it was followed by a few other comments in response to some of the questions that people posted. Some consider that taking this position is disgraceful and shameful but I tend to disagree.

Canadian citizens may not be given to showy displays of patriotism (well, except maybe on Canada Day), but cursing the land where you were born, where your parents came to give you a better life (at least until they decided to go back to Lebanon and raise him in the Nahr El-Barid refugee camp) – is certainly disgraceful. No doubt, Mr. Shaban relishes the infamy that has come unto his reputation. He breathes in the contempt of his fellow citizens. He feels no shame. Perhaps he even feels a sense of moral superiority. In any case, as he says, he tends to disagree with the prevailing view that he’s a vile and irredeemable embarrassment.

Moving on, Mr. Shaban claims that:

First of all, my statement clearly did not reflect CAF’s position; it was my own personal opinion.

Clearly? How does this statement “clearly” not reflect CAF’s position? CAF has been describes as making decidedly un-Canadian statements including “the promotion of hatred, anti-Semitism and support for the banned terrorist organizations” (NP). Why should Canadians expect that the rest of the executive of the CAF has done anything more with their tepid and uninformative press release (CAF Disassociates Itself from Recent Comments) than stop the bleeding after one of their own said what they were all thinking?

But now we get to Omar’s rationalization for his actions:

Secondly, I said “F*** Canada Day” and I regret the dark history that this country has. On our silent government’s behalf, I apologize to the indigenous people for this, and sincerely wish it had not happened to you. I apologize to the indigenous people of Canada because their feelings are not taken into consideration at “Canada Day” celebrations.

Of course! Mr. Shaban isn’t a tactless slimeball! He’s practically a hero. Oh, wait a second…

Omar never bothered to actually see what First Nations people might have to say about Canada Day before he decided to speak for them. For instance, here we have Mike Pinay, an elder from the Peepeekisis First Nation, talking about how Canada Day is a time for everyone to celebrate being a Canadian:

“We acknowledge what our forefathers have said, that we agreed to share the land with all the newcomers,” Pinay explained. “So we acknowledge that today on Canada Day. I look at it as a commemoration of all the good things that have happened.”

And then we have the words of Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, following Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology for the terrible abuse of Natives at the residential schools (Edmonton Journal):

But it signifies something even more important: a respectful and, therefore, liberating relationship between us and the rest of Canada. Together we can achieve the greatness our country deserves.

The apology today is founded upon, more than anything else, the recognition that we all own our own lives and destinies, the only true foundation for a society where peoples can flourish.

First Nations people have not forgotten their history. And both aboriginals and non-First Nations Canadians are also well aware that the state of Canada’s aboriginals is a national disgrace. The clear message here is that Canadians of all backgrounds want to see positive change come to aboriginal communities. Remember the past. Build a future – together.

Yet on the day when Omar took his “stand”, his supposed allies failed to show. There were no mass protests against the “occupier”. The Native artists and musicians in the Aboriginal Village at Major’s Hill Park and elsewhere were not forcibly conscripted into performing at Canada Day celebrations. Funny, that.

Omar’s statement that he would not celebrate Canada Day “until it is accepted as legitimate by the indigenous people” is a red herring that might be seen as akin to Brad Pitt’s forgotten declaration that he would not get married until all Americans – gay, straight, whatever – could get married.

But there may be a more nefarious motive at work in Mr. Shaban’s latest meandering yet defiant declaration; his explanation of his actions – which attempts to weave in Gaza and Afghanistan with the issues on Canadian reserves into a confusing diatribe – could make more sense if we see them as part of the standard tactic of Islamist fundamentalist propagandists, what Ed Hussain describes in the Islamist as the linking of a myriad of issues in the hopes of radicalizing an anti-imperialist, anti-democratic mass of permanent radicals. Burning his bridges, perhaps Mr. Shaban has decided exactly where he wants his “career” to go.

One can only hope that one day this poor deluded soul will understand what he has done and ask forgiveness. Canadians may not want to give it. But that’s not the point.

A little humility here, Mr. Shaban. A little shame.

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Mr. “F**k Canada Day” Goes On the Attack”

  1. Kurskon 03 Jul 2009 at 9:15 am

    Why does one have to be a troll or a red neck if they vehemently disagree with this man?

    I don’t consider myself either but also feel that this man needs a good ass kicking.

  2. jnarveyon 03 Jul 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hey Kursk. Let’s be clear.

    There’s a difference between vehemently disagreeing with Omar (as I’m sure the vast majority of Canadians like myself do) and contributing the following opinion which showed up on his blog:

    “I ever see you on the street im draging you behind my truck”.

    It was left by an anonymous commenter, though presumably Omar can get the RCMP to check the ISP and try to locate the guy who left the not-so-veiled threat. Several similar comments showed up in mainstream media comment forums about this story.

    As far as I’m concerned, Omar is an embarrassment to our country. But the idiots posting threatening messages only turn this walking disgrace into a kind of martyr.

  3. ianon 03 Jul 2009 at 9:48 am

    Probably someone from the HRC posting to help things along

  4. VanGrungyon 03 Jul 2009 at 10:09 am

    I can’t seem to get one comment onto TheStar.com’s story with keywords like CHRC, OHRC, Jennifer Lynch, Barbra Hall…I threw out something about Natives and that was released…I have to wonder if TheStar.com likes to race bait and censor legitimate questions about the uneven investigation and enforcement of hate communication laws.

  5. blaffergasstedon 03 Jul 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Shaban is not alone. After a wonderful Canada Day at Wreck Beach, I hopped onto the 99 B-Line and found a seat at the back near a clean-cut young man who decided to impress everyone else with bon mots.

    “I hate Canada,” the curly-haired 20-something male said to nobody in particular, before going on a diatribe about our nation’s imagined ‘imperialist occupation’ of Afghanistan.

    I asked if he thought Canada was an empire, and he just looked at me kind of funny. (Sort of like I was looking at him, eh?) I then asked if there might be a good reason to be in Afghanistan, and he said no way, let them handle their own affairs.

    That’s when I stated my long held belief that Canada is helping to avert a nuclear war.

    Well golly gee. To my surprise, three other people spoke up in agreement with me, and the poor sap slinked back into his seat, and kept his yaw shut for the rest of the trip.

    Score one for the good guys!

  6. jnarveyon 05 Jul 2009 at 7:16 pm


    I’ve already deleted a number of comments. Violent fantasies concerning Omar Shaban are not welcome here. This site is not an appropriate venue for psycho posturing.

    Civilized comments are welcome. Cheers.

  7. Susanon 06 Jul 2009 at 6:45 am

    Canada Day in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast was really amazing. The parade was easily as long and hilarious as anything we had ever seen in the burbs of Vancouver. First Nations, who are an integral part of this community were in fact very involved in the Canada Day festivities. In the parade, at the fair, the food, the crafts, the music, the history and even at (gasp) the beer garden. A lot of pride, a healthy kind of pride, on display all through the day from truly everyone. Hey Canada, we may have a ways to go but I think we are doing pretty good and it feels fine.

  8. Terry Glavinon 06 Jul 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I’ve been meaning to drop you a note about this wee essay, Jonathon, and was very pleased to see it picked up by the National Post’s “Full Comment.” It’s a fine piece.

    I especially appreciated that you were unafraid to point out the fact that Omar was hiding behind aboriginal grievances in his cynicism and insult. I’ve spent quite some years writing from and about Indian country, and I am constantly reminded by the most uncompromising of tribal leaders that the doctrine of aboriginal rights is a function of British and Canadian constitutional law, and in their assertion of those rights it is that law they demand be upheld. For all the sins committed in the name of the Crown in Canada, I still know of no other country in the “New World” with a better record of its treatment of aboriginal peoples.

    I also appreciated Susan’s comment here about Canada Day up in Sechelt, and blaffergasted’s note about his encounter on the B Line. One thing everybody over here in Victoria has noticed as an unabashed and happy sort of patriotism at large among kids these days. There are some auld bastids who complain about teenage girls in skimpy hot-weather Maple Leaf skirts, but apart from that, the wholesome pride expressed by younger people, everywhere we went on July 1, was a thing I hadn’t been expecting.

    On Guard for all that etc.,


  9. jnarveyon 06 Jul 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks so much, Terry. The more I thought about it, the more upset I was at Omar for trying to confuse the issues by wrapping his defense in a false solidarity with Canada’s aboriginals. I’m glad more people have seen through this and am comforted to think that my essay helped do that.

    Anyway, I’ve calmed down these last few days. Summertime and the living is easy, eh? This is definitely a better week.

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