Last night I met Abousfian Abdelrazik and heard him tell his story from the early CSIS harrassment in Canada, to the torture and imprisonment he faced in Sudan at the behest of the Canadian government, and his current woes in having himself removed from the United Nations 1267 list. I then had the deep privilege of dining with him and his Edmonton entourage.
I'm not sure how to convey the depth of the occassion other than to say that sometimes we might be beyond fortunate enough meet these rare people, who despite unimaginable hardships, still radiate an intense and kind light of uncomprimising grace, humility, courage, and conviction. These Abousfians are living evidence what an individual human being is capable of when faced with deep injustice and the worst excesses of the small and wicked men who wield big states.
Things are shifting in this country. The audience last night was full of people who came to Canada in fleeing oppressive regimes in their homelands, and it is not the first time I've heard new arrivals speak in fear of what they see emerging here under Harper.
Regardless of whatever dark turn our politicians might take us in the coming months and years, an unassuming man with an infectious smile and iron will is living proof that we can beat them, even at their worst excesses. This is power of a class that cannot be matched.
He'll be visiting Calgary tonight and Vancouver on Sunday. If you can, please make the effort to go (dates and locations below). If not, consider helping to remove him from the UN 1267 list by contributing to Project Fly Home (see last link). In Abousfian's words last night, he is in a prison with out walls because he cannot work, open bank accounts, or otherwise support himself without the government stopping him.
Sunday, 21 November, 7pm
The Unitarian Church, 1703 1st St NW
(just off 16th Ave; enter from 1st St)
More info: tel. 403 246 8246
Tuesday, 23 November, 6pm
Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street
(south of Powell Street, west of Victoria Drive; Bus #20, 10 or 16)