Bits of Tid

Mysterious lights appear over Norway. Clearly, an alien space ship opened a hyperspace jump gate in the upper Earth atmosphere. Judge for yourself:

In unrelated news:

In even more unrelated news, a student who shall remain unnamed has honured me (I hope it was an honour) by naming her pet mouse somewhat after me. Introducing…. “Rayrat”:

Apparently, Rayrat lives in a cage with three lovely lady mice. It’s important to me that my namesake is, as the kids say, gettin’ some.

Lastly, D-Mack sends us the Top 10 Science Fiction Disappointments of the decade. The article is retarded. Yeah, I said it.

Today’s Real Topic

Now, in today’s serious bit of news, I just came from the press conference for the unveiling of my artist friend Jenn Farr‘s newest project, a very important depiction of the cell in which Canada’s recent “extraordinary extradition” victims were kept and tortured while being held in Syria. The endeavour is spearheaded by Kerry Pither, author of Dark Days.

It’s one thing to read about modern torture and to have polite, fashionable discussions of it at cocktail parties and on the Internet. It’s another to physically experience the actual conditions. If you can get a chance, visit the installation. Here are a couple of quick pics snapped on my Treo:

The installation is called “El Abbar”, which means “the grave”, and is a precise recreation of the cell in which several Muslim Canadians were held and tortured by Syria, with collaboration (as concluded by the Iacobucci Inquiry) by Canadian agencies. Those held include Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and, of course, Maher Arar.

The cell is tiny and dank. The walls are thin enough to overhear the torture of those held in adjacent cells. Sometimes so many would be stuffed into a single cell that they would take turns sleeping. I’m told that cats would pee on the prisoners from the grate above, and of course the odours of filth and decay were ubiquitous. One of the artist’s intents was to re-create the smell of the place, as well, but that was eventually not pursued.

It’s ironic that the press conference for the unveiling of this object was coincident with one by Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter McKay, someone I would charge as complicit in the abuse of the men held in these cells.

I think it’s important for all Canadians to recognize firstly the horror of these conditions, and the fact that innocent men were held there against their will and tortured repeatedly; and secondly the extent to which Canadian authorities were –and continue to be– complicit in these ongoing abuses.