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zahra kazemi

The Zahra Kazemi story continues to get media attention, as her son pressures the Canadian government to keep fighting for justice:

The son of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi is “totally unhappy” about the way Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew has responded to his call for a government commitment to get to the bottom of his mother’s murder case.

Stephan Hachemi had been calling on Pettigrew to impose diplomatic sanctions against Iran for failing to find the person responsible for his mother’s murder.

“The Iranian ambassador has nothing to do in Canada right now,” Hachemi told a news conference Tuesday. “He should be expelled. The embassy should be closed.”

It’s understandable that the son of a murdered woman is grieving and lashing out. And the government seems to be paying attention.

But what really bothers me about this whole affair is not so much that Canadians are angry about the lack of justice in this case, but that nobody is nearly angry enough about the lack of justice in every other case in Iran. Canada spends years appeasing a brutal dictatorship that has suppressed virtually every human right we take for granted. Those Iranians don’t count. But when an Iranian who happens to have Canadian citizenship is the victim, she counts. We shrug off thousands of unexplained murders, but when Zahra Kazemi is the victim, suddenly everyone is expecting the kind of fair and transparent justice system that lives up to Canadian standards.

It’s not unusual for countries to react much more strongly when their own citizens are victimized. But the hypocrisy gets to me. Iran is not a democracy. It’s not a very nice place to live, especially if you happen to be, say, female, or non-Muslim. And it’s in danger of acquiring nuclear weapons, in which case it might be too late to curb the threat.

And while Canadians continue to issue a “tsk tsk” about the Zahra Kazemi case, we are simultaneously following the Europeans, not the Americans, in softpedalling this new nuclear threat and refusing to take a hard line. This is but one of a long list of the things that the Canadian government just doesn’t get.

Israel gets it, however:

Iran’s ability for nuclear armament should not worry just us but the entire free world and moderate Arabic countries as well, according to Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen Moshe Ya’alon.

And of course, if and when Israel takes matters into its own hands, and the United Nations issues a routine condemnation of Israel for having the courage to do so, Canada will likely be right there on the General Assembly floor, loudly… abstaining.

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The agent on trial for the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi has been acquitted:

The trial ended abruptly last Sunday after three court sessions. Only for one day, on Saturday, were foreign diplomats were allowed into the courtroom.

By Sunday, however, all foreign observers were barred from the trial, prompting Canada to recall the ambassador to Iran for a second time.

Kazemi’s family has long suspected that the wrong man was on trial.

Ebadi has said there was no strong evidence against Ahmadi. She believes those responsible for Kazemi’s death have been set free.

She says the Iranian court wouldn’t allow her to present witnesses that would prove another prison official was behind Kazemi’s death.

It frequently surprised me, when following the trial and the Canadian reaction, how many people assumed that the Iranian justice system would be like the Canadian one. They assumed for some reason that the same transparent justice that murder victims expect here would be carried out in a theocratic dictatorship. Which is especially surprising, considering how much Canada loves to engage in moral relativism. I guess we shouldn’t impose our standards on other countries… except when it’s convenient. Or something.

Whether or not the right person was on trial, and whatever the truth was, we’ll probably never know. Anyone expecting true justice one way or the other was either incredibly naive or incredibly stupid.

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Let the eye-rolling begin…

03.09.2004

Why does this somehow not surprise me? This year, The Link would like to dedicate the International Women’s Day Issue to the memory of Zahra Kazemi and Rachel Corrie. While various Link members and staff may or may not have disagreed with the politics these two women held dear, we all agree the violent deaths […]

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Reality check for Canada?

07.24.2003

After our long collective denial about the menace of the totalitarian Islamist states, could our current spat with Iran finally be a reality check for Canada? The death of photo journalist Zahra Kazemi from a blow to the head while in police custody in Iran is suspicious, to say the least. I’d go further and […]

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