Jul 03 2009
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.