Two Canadian citizens — acclaimed Toronto filmmaker John Greyson and medical doctor Tarek Loubani — have been jailed for more than a month and a half in Egypt without charge after witnessing a massacre by state forces on August 16 in Cairo. The two were traveling through Egypt en route to visit Gaza, where Greyson was to film Loubani as he trained emergency room doctors.
In a communiqué smuggled out of a Cairo jail the pair said, “We were arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist,’ slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries.”
Loubani ,a prof at Western, a member of the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care. was on his way to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where he trains doctors and nurses in emergency critical care procedures.
Wow, going to Gaza, not a real Canadian to the Harperites, the hopelessly pro-Israel government.
Note “en route to visit Gaza”. This may be the key to understand the pathetically tepid response of the Harper government to vigorously defend these brave innocent Canadians, held on trumped up charges.
Greyson is a wonderfully engaged teacher-filmmaker. He is also active in Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, the gay group which dares speak out against Israeli apartheid.
Canadians well know the embarrassing and blinkered approach of the Harper government o Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian land.
Naomi Klein phrased this well, both praising Canadian embassy officials who always are professional with the Controller in Chief Stephen Harper.
But there has been concern, and it’s expressed very openly in the Canadian press and online, that at the highest levels, certainly at the level of the prime minister, there has not been enough pressure. As far as we know, our prime minister has yet to call his Egyptian counterpart personally and demand the men’s release. He waited until last Sunday to issue a statement calling for their release publicly, but that was, you know, a statement made to the Canadian media. Whether he has relayed that directly and explained that there are consequences, real consequences, to the Egyptian government, is another matter entirely.