Decade of grief for Khadr victims
Last week was the 10-year anniversary of the murder of Christopher Speer.
You don’t know who he is? Never heard of his widow Tabitha or their two kids, Taryn and Tanner? That’s not surprising. He has been ignored.
In the past 10 years, for example, the Globe and Mail has mentioned Christopher Speer’s name just 60 times. Tabitha was mentioned in just eight stories.
Compare that to one million Google hits for Speer’s murderer, the man who made Tabitha a widow and took the father away from their two kids.
That murderer is an unrepentant al-Qaida terrorist named Omar Khadr. The Globe has 629 stories about him.
The countless stories about Omar Khadr are not to detail his cruelty, his al-Qaida training, his remorselessness, his aggressive conduct while in Guantanamo Bay. It’s a PR whitewash by the Media Party to rebrand him as a little lamb, an innocent child — to turn the terrorist into the victim.
Even the standard media photo of him is a con job — it was a junior high school yearbook photo of him, given to the media by Khadr’s al-Qaida mother and republished unquestioningly. Its purpose is to pretend that’s what Khadr looked like when he committed a murder, to pretend he was a child.
How many thousands of times have you seen that misleading photo of Khadr? Compared to, say, the al-Qaida propaganda picture of an older Khadr in Afghanistan, posing in front of an AK-47 machine gun.
It’s why the Media Party is apoplectic about Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ request to see videotaped interviews of Omar Khadr in prison, videos that were not disclosed to the Canadian government when President Barack Obama asked us to put Khadr back onto our streets, videos that Khadr’s own lawyers asked to be sealed in secret.
Just for a moment can we remember the man who was murdered? Just for a moment can we talk about the real victims?
Here is an excerpt from a heart-wrenching statement written by Tabitha Speer about her husband.
“I first met Christopher James Speer at a social gathering in Southern Pines, North Carolina after a Christmas party on Dec. 14, 1996. Christopher later told me he knew the minute we met he was going to marry me.
“I will never forget how during our ceremony, Christopher tearfully proclaimed that I was the love of his life.
“In July 2002, Christopher was deployed to Afghanistan. Christopher explained to our daughter, Taryn, that he had to go to work in the desert. To this, Taryn exclaimed, ‘You will be riding camels.’ Christopher laughed and gave her a hug and agreed.
“After bath time, Christopher took Taryn and Tanner into Taryn’s room and spoke to them about his having to leave. He wanted them to know he loved them more than anything. I overheard him tell our children he would have to go away for work and may not return.
“I know that was a devastating thought for him. I was so proud of the way he faced responsibility and embraced his duty. Neither Taryn or Tanner made a peep while Christopher spoke to them. They both sat and listened intently. After telling the children of his imminent departure, he tucked them into bed. I still refuse to believe it was the last time.
“I have remained strong for our children. Every year we celebrate Christopher’s birthday, Sept. 9. Any time the children wish to talk to Daddy we send helium balloons into the sky.
The children talk to their Daddy each night before they go to bed, while gazing up at the stars.”
Omar Khadr isn’t the victim. The Speers are. Khadr is a cold-blooded murderer, and he should spend the rest of his life in jail.
This column appeared in The Sun News Chain July 28 2012.