Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guilty. Every damn one of them.

Good news from Kingston: the jury verdict in the Shafia mass-murder honour killing trial is in, and all three defendants are guilty of first degree murder. Thank goodness, the system worked and the murderers are headed for jail; 25 years with no chance of parole, then I guess we'll see. Christie Blatchford's reports have been terrific; I hope she writes a book about this case.

There was one thing she reported early on in the trial, when the court was hearing testimony from the teachers and social workers who could easily see that these girls were living in hellish abuse yet were too cowed by political correctness to intervene and save them.

One of the girls didn't want to go on a sugarbush field trip with her class, and the teacher told her firmly that she had to go, because this was "part of our culture" and it was important she learn about it. I was struck by the firmness and certainty about Canadian culture when it was a rather trivial, picturesque novelty in question. Why were these people never told with equal firmness about the other aspects of our culture they had to accept?

And not just the usual "human rights" blather that everyone piously intones at times like this. I mean something as simple as the way our laws work and what happens to people who try to defy them? I think making the Shafia adults watch a season of "CSI" would have been a more valuable introduction to our culture than a whole seminar on maple sugaring, snowshoeing, hockey, and how to bake butter tarts. Why didn't anyone ever say to Shafia "Do you know what we can do to you if you put a foot wrong? We have machines that can make the stones talk to us. We can overhear your whispers ten miles away. We can see what you do without even opening our eyes. We will find out everything and you can't hide from us."

Instead, this Afghan mini-tyrant was flattered and deferred to - at every turn, he was encouraged to believe that his foreign culture was a sort of magical cloak of invincibility that could deflect every presumptuous attempt by the infidel to interfere with him. No wonder when Shafia and his two accomplices finally turned their mind to committing murder, they figured the same threadbare little bag of tricks that thwarted the Montreal social workers would defeat the Kingston police.

"We'll just haughtily deny everything! We'll tell bald lies! We'll get on our high horse and act offended! We'll claim we can't understand! We'll throw ourselves on the ground and sob hysterically! What could go wrong? It's always worked before!"

It was like watching a spoiled 5-year old who thinks he can buy the CN Tower with the contents of his piggy bank. These three simply had no idea how a police investigation works or what sort of tools a modern Western criminal investigator has at his disposal. If someone had managed to get through their bumptious conceit and really teach them how this culture they were inhabiting worked, maybe they wouldn't have felt that murder was an option for dealing with disappointments.

But no, we didn't want to hurt their feelings by pointing out that they were backward hillbillies; we covered it up and ignored it so they sailed along confidently in their bubble of error, until they crossed a line we wouldn't ignore. I'm sure all 3 are bewildered at finding themselves in jail; they thought they'd figured us out and knew the magic formula for passing unscathed among us. And we let them think they had, until it was too late.


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7:50 pm  

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