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Memo to the Khadrs: It Isn’t Going To Work

Fed up with what they consider negative and unfair attacks by the press, the infamous Khadr family has launched their own website in order to rebuild their reputations and get son Omar out of Guantanamo Bay.
The Khadrs, as you may know, have been vilified for their ties to Al-Qaeda and for having, what many Canadians consider, only a convenient citizenship in Canada.

So they’ve launched in hopes that it will help sway public opinion in their favour.  They’re also hoping to make it an issue in the current Federal election: Omar’s sister Zaynab states in a press release that “Our brother is being held in Guantanamo Bay based on the lies told by both the American and Canadian governments. (A)n election is the perfect opportunity to tell those politicians that we are not going to be their bogeyman any longer.”
Unfortunately for the Khadrs, the general public has made them their bogeyman as well.  And, judging by the website, they don’t seem to have realized that.
Throughout the website’s vignettes of the Khadrs as a normal, happy family and pleas of sympathy for Omar’s plight, there’s a general tone of disgust with Canadian values and morals.
If you’re launching your own public relations campaign, it’s generally not a good idea attack the people whose opinions you are desperately trying to sway.
The irony of the website is the first voices against come from Omar Khadr’s U.S. military lawyers. The official line from U.S. Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler is”I share the extreme displeasure of most Canadians with  (Omar’s mother) Maha and Zaynab Khadr. Omar has specifically and repeatedly asked them to stop making public statements on his behalf – they don’t represent him or his views,”
Since the website is only hurting the one person it is supposed to save, and insulting to the people it wants support from, I have to wonder what the Khadrs’ real point is.
If they just felt like ranting, then maybe they should have just gotten an account at Blogspot.  It would have been cheaper at least.
Because the longer they leave TheKhadrLegacy up and running,  the more it will solidify their woeful reputations in Canada.


Heh, I didn’t hear about this until now – although I was plenty amused to think what could be going through the family’s minds; clearly they don’t understand how mass media works. But I read over the website, and though you’re right – there’s some barely-concealed disgust for the Canadian government; I don’t see what you’re talking about “disgust with Canadian values and morals”. I mean, assuming that “War with Afghanistan” isn’t a “Canadian value and moral”, they seem to be bitching about political choices the country has made in the last seven years – not about how much it bothers them to be represented by fundamentalist Christian lawyers, or how much they hate skinny white girls…I’m just not seeing anything insulting towards their audience (assuming their audience isn’t politically-minded).

Can you offer an example? There may be something I missed.

Christie Adams

Hey, thanks for your feedback. I think in this case it’s difficult to separate “Canadian Values and Morals” with the family’s opinion of the Canadian government. The general True, the site is void of disgust for Canadian popular culture and family values. consensus I got from reading the site is that the Khadrs believe every Canadian citizen has been brainwashed by the Canadian media and government.

True, the site is void of disgust for Canadian popular culture and family values. But since, in the website’s opinion, the belief of the people and the belief of the government goes hand-in-hand, the Khadr’s disgust with the government morals is taken by me as disgust with Canadian morals as well.


Aren’t you just…guilty of exactly what they claim then? You’re sensationalising their disgust for say, political decisions, and blowing it out of proporition saying they hate Canadian values? It would be like saying that early critics of the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay or Warrantless Wiretapping were “spewing their hatred of American values and morals”, it seems dishonest in a fashion. They definitely have some passive-aggressive issues with the handful of Canadian politicians who do seem to be responsible for a large part of their family’s disunity (though of course, they should shoulder their own share of the blame as well), but I don’t think they’re insulting Canada or Canadians at all. At worst, they’re one of those Michael Moore-ish types; “Wake up people, your government is oppressing you and tricking you into hating us!”; it definitely doesn’t seem like there is any reason for them to be some bogeyman.

To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed in you – not that I suppose the opinions of a random reader of your blog matters too much. But it’s disheartening to see you tell your readers “there’s a general tone of disgust with Canadian values and morals”, when I don’t think there is one. Because 90% of your readers aren’t going to look at the website themselves and judge for themselves, they’re going to take your word for it, just like they take Stockwell Day’s word for it that these are people who want to kill Canadian citizens on the streets of Toronto or something. If you’re going to be the only exposure ten, fifty, five hundred people have to the website — you owe it to your readers to not misrepresent anything. And saying “there’s a general tone of disgust with Canadian values and morals” definitely seems like a misrepresentation to me. “There’s a general tone of being fed up with the Prime Minister and blaming politicians in general – without acknowledging they may have contributed in some small way to their own situation” would seem like such a better summary…but perhaps that’s why I should get my own blog.

Christie Adams

We’ll have to agree that “disgust” is in the eye of the beholder, then. What makes the site ineffective is the family is assuming that everyone feels the same way about the government as they do, and so rather than focus on creating sympathy for their situation, they’ve wasted space attacking Canadian policy without giving us compelling reasons to believe these policies are wrong.

That, combined with no (as you pointed out) acknowledgment of the role they might have played in their plight, makes their arguments ineffective.

You said earlier you don’t think the family understands how the mass media works-what are the obvious signs to you that shows that to be true?


If they want to make the media like them, they should just write a gigantic "I'm sorry, you are right, we are wrong" letter; not try to "justify" themselves like this.

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