Jeremy Hinzman, the first Iraq war resister to go public with his fight to stay in Canada, today won a stay of deportation, along with his wife, Nga, and their two children (one of whom was born here recently). The War Resisters Campaign held a meeting to discuss the decision this evening, and the mood was jubilant, although there is still a tough fight ahead. With Harper ignoring his obligations to the Canadian people (Parliament voted on June 3 to allow the resisters to stay; Harper's refusal to honour the vote smacks of dictatorship), we are now possibly looking at a political game for the next couple of weeks; the government will try to dodge the issue and consider how to continue to refrain from taking action while simultaneously avoiding any moves that will result in negative press. For today, all that matters is that the Hinzmans' deportation order for tomorrow is void.
Harper's refusal to have a heart is not surprising - I don't know if there was a time when I didn't think he was an asshole - but it's been discouraging. I rushed home from work today and then turned around and rushed out to the 6:00 meeting. Although the news broke some time after 4:00, I knew nothing until I walked in the door. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting good news, so to be told "they got a stay" was more than a little overwhelming. I was unable to talk for a couple of minutes.
In this tough and ongoing campaign, time out to show some appreciation. Huge thanks to:
• Alyssa Manning, Jeremy Hinzman's lawyer, who was brilliant in court today
• Michelle Robidoux and Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign, who never seem to stop going...
• The Quakers, who have been so kind and welcoming, and who have provided continuous support for the resisters - especially when they are arriving and getting settled - and also for the campaign workers (they provided a lovely dinner tonight)
• Alex Lisman, who has been documenting the campaign and providing video, including the film Let Them Stay as well as video clips on YouTube
• Laura of wmtc, who reports every development on her blog, including when and where to take action to aid the campaign
• Olivia Chow, who introduced the motion in Parliament, and continues to speak out on the issue
• The International Socialists, who have been non-stop supporters and proponents in the fight to keep the war resisters in Canada
• All of the other supporters who have come out to meetings and demos. Every one of you is significant in helping to show the complacent, unaware, mainstream public that this is an important issue
• The war resisters themselves - some of the most courageous and wonderful people I've met. They have suffered enough; they deserve to get all this shit behind them, and to live peaceful and happy lives
As was stated more than once in the meeting: we have the law on our side, and we have the facts on our side. (Not to beat a dead horse, but we also have a majority.) The opposition results in repeating the same, tired, shallow arguments. They are beating their fists. Unfortunately, some of them hold the power to effect change. It is up to us to keep up the fight, and keep this in the spotlight. Don't let them get away with injustice. People want the war resisters to stay in Canada.
2 days ago