Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I am a Canadian...

I am a Canadian, born and raised in Ottawa. Over a year ago I packed up my family with baby and moved to Doha, Qatar to work for Al Jazeera. To be clear, I am not overtly political, though I have sympathies that you can probably guess given I have chosen to live in an Arab country. Nor did I come to Al Jazeera to make any grand statement or to perform aggressive acts against the West. Toronto is my home, I like it and I expect to return in a few years. I came to Al Jazeera for more mundane reasons: no taxes, easy winters and to get out of Canada's stagnating television industry. As such, you can imagine my total surprise when the news broke last week about Bush's alleged plan to bomb my place of work. That Bush would so cavalierly send up a "test balloon" on potentially turning me and/or any of my co-workers into collateral damage is truly outrageous.

When I first heard it, I did not believe it true - no Head of State, even one no longer held to the high standard of previous President's, would so openly muse with another Head of State about such a reprehensible act. But given Downings' cover up, I can only presume that this wasn't even an embarrasing case of gallows humour gone awry - he was and is deadly serious. To compound my concern, given he has not bombed yet, and given the leak is probably not a sufficient deterrent for a man so bent on destruction - I believe the threat is still real . So I am writing this post to let people outside of Al Jazeera know that the employees here are the same as employees everywhere: Canadian, Asian, African, European, American - wherever.

Like many of my fellow employees, I spend my days basically pushing paper and making a few decisions when necessary. We have families, we have people who rely on us to provide a home and we work in small ways for something better for ourselves and the people we love. Nothing more. So if we can be bombed here, thousands of miles from any battlezone, just like in Madrid...just like in London, then it makes me wonder if there really is any difference between Bush and the enemies he seems unable or maybe unwilling to identify.

Al Jazeera Channel, Doha

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