Not tortured, merely insulted -

Not tortured, merely insulted


Laurie Hawn, amateur anthropologist, talking last night on CTV’s Power Play about the abuse of a detainee in 2006.

We’re talking about an issue of somebody being hit with a shoe, which is, frankly, in Islam, is an insult. If they wanted to torture the guy and beat the guy, they’d have beat him with the stocks of their AK-47s, they wouldn’t have been hitting him with shoes.

This sort of thing came up a year ago when an Iraqi journalist removed one of his shoes and proceeded to throw it in the direction of George W. Bush’s head. A reporter with U.S. News & World Report went to the trouble of trying to sort out the actual significance of the shoe.

Omid Safi, an Islamic studies professor at the University of North Carolina, says that the meaning of the recent shoe incident is probably more universal than has been acknowledged. “We saw on CNN and BBC a ton of articles offering instant ‘anthropological insights’ on how the shoe touches the earth, and is the lowest part of the body,” he wrote in an E-mail message. “What if in an American context someone had thrown a shoe at Bush? Would we see that as a sign of great love for the President?”

Of course, the use of a shoe to beat another man has deep roots in North American culture too. Here, for instance, is video of Boston Bruins defenceman Mike Milbury personally insulting a New York  Rangers fan.


Not tortured, merely insulted

  1. Wow. Afghani "insults" must be much more powerful than us soft moderate Canadians are used to if "insults" are enough to draw blood.

    As was noted in Power Play and ignored by Hawn, there are several allegations in play now, not just the one single bloody incident Hawn refers to and that two weeks ago the Conservatives denied had even ever happened.

  2. forget the shoe

    follow the gourd

  3. Who throws a shoe, I mean really.

  4. "We're talking about an issue of somebody being hit with a shoe…"

    Yeah, that's really all this fuss is over…a shoe. Hawn's a moron,or misdirecting.

    • Can't it be both?

    • That is the incident that the opps/media are using as their 'proof of torture of Cdn Afghan detainees'…..
      That is the incident that the opps/media have gone ballistic on calling it a game changer.

      They are right. It was a game changer.

      • If you really believe that this incident "proves" there was no detainee torture, then i'm sorry to say you're either wilfully blind or as simple minded as Hawn.

        • Never said that,
          said that the media all think that this incident is the 'proof of torture' they have been waiting for.

          A smack across the nose with a shoe is not torture, by any stretch of the imagination.
          The protestors in Copenhagen are getting roughed up worse by Danish police right now.

          • "the media all think that this incident is the 'proof of torture' they have been waiting for."

            And now they're not just speaking for regular Canadians but "all the media."

          • "the media all think that this incident is the 'proof of torture' they have been waiting for."

            Don't they just think it's the proof that sometimes Minister MacKay's version of events doesn't always quite jibe with the more truthful, less secretive version?

      • It must pain you to see something that the Conservatives could have handled so easily, now growing such legs. The government has only one response to challenges – in your face smear/stonewall/deny and, most importantly, never admit a mistake was made.
        This ingrained response is now on the radar of so many nore Canadians then say, a month ago. Will they now start to look at little closer at the accountability issue? I think they will – the free ride is coming to an end. Then what?

        • Can't tell here if you are responding to me….are you?

        • Chretien would have said, "We f%&ked up! We tried our best and we have learned. Let's move on!" Unfortunately Harpo is unable to admit failure and that is his greatest failing. This started as a non-issue and the CPC gave it life and it went vitrol. Thank you Stephen Harper. Another minority parliament assured!

  5. Hit with a shoe or tied up and beaten with a shoe? Was he hit in the thigh with the shoe? Or was it stuffed in his mouth or up his bum or both back and forth?

    Oh Edmontonians, I know the Liberals are directionless, crooked mess, but did you really have to vote out McLellan for this?

    • He will get in again too, now that the NDP have put in a strong candidate to syphon off the votes.

  6. Aaron, did you change "use of a shoe to beat another man has deep roots in North American culture too" from "Canadian culture?"

    I was sure that's what it read at first and I was going to point out that Mike Milbury is American and Pete McNab, while born in B.C., grew up in the States.

    But then you went and changed it to North American so now it's covered.

  7. We could use a leader with the courage of Paul Martin right about now. I think a lot of people are quickly losing trust not only in this government, but the institutions they are stalling and disrespecting as well.

    • Paul Martin had courage? if that's courage, i'm not sure it's what we need right now. Given that Paul Martin was voted out of office is a sign that a lot of people had lost trust in his government.

      • Either courage or lacking the stomach to hold Parliament in contempt. Each can parade as the other, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

      • He had the courage to call an inquiry.

    • Paul Marin was a lot of things, but a couragous leader is not one of them. Stephane Dion was couragous with the Green Shift and Clarity Act.

      • My (spin spin spin) answer to that would be ;

        One doesn't need to lead courageously to perform a courageous act and those who act courageously lead by example. Therefore, Paul Martin was a courageous leader.

        • Don't know if you would call it courage, but Paul Martin was the leader that began the process of pulling the military out of the Liberal Decade of Darkness.

          Paul Martin was the Lib answer to the country starting to swing to the right.
          You Libs just didn't keep up with the times, too stuck in Trudeaupia,
          so you turfed the Lib version of Harper,
          gave the lefties a whirl at winning, failed miserably,
          and now are back to the right leaning Iffy.

          Yah should have stuck with Martin.

          • Wilson found a homeless person ranting about too much government. His thought: "yeah! this country is swinging to the right!"

  8. Getting hit with a shoe – surly just an Afghan-college-prank, eh Laurie?

    And from The Star here are two of the talking points for why the Con MPs on the torture committee did not sure up for work:
    "Conservative committee members are back in their ridings this week meeting with constituents.
    They are dealing with the issues that matter to their constituents such as the economy, which remains our government's top priority."

    So Laurie's comment above and this talking-point clearly shows off the latest twist in the Cons defense of their failure to act and their ultimate complicity in torture (the Cons NOT the troops are complicit in torture):
    No one cares….

    It hasn't occurred to any of them as yet as to how they are going to torpedo their own logic for the Afghan mission. If no one cares about the Afghans cause it is not one of the "issues that matter" then just what the heck are we doing there in the first place spending Canadian blood, honour and money?????

    • No one cares about Aghans smacking around Afghans with a shoe.

      Sure you want to scream cover up.
      cover up what?
      That our soldiers and military and government would conspire or be complicite in Afghan National Policy torturing Afghan detainees?
      And that is what the opps and the media is trying to sell.

      • That our government would be complicit, yes. Not our soldiers. Stop trying to tar them with the same brush, wilson. Why do you hate our soldiers?

        • How in the h do you keep soldiers out of you 'war crimes' theme,
          when they are the ones making the decisions on the ground?

          They follow the rule book, interpret the situation, and act accordingly.

          You are trying to paint a picture of orders coming from the Harper government to
          'ignore the evidence, just keep tossing the scumbags at the ANP'
          That did NOT happen.

          NO soldier would do that.

      • "No one cares about Aghans smacking around Afghans with a shoe."

        If you say it enough times, it magically becomes true.

        The people who care about this issue know this is more than someone being "smacked" with a shoe. No amount of claiming otherwise is going to change that.

    • 'It hasn't occurred to any of them as yet as to how they are going to torpedo their own logic for the Afghan mission. If no one cares about the Afghans cause it is not one of the "issues that matter" then just what the heck are we doing there in the first place spending Canadian blood, honour and money????? '

      very well put. I'd love to hear them sell tis on the dorrstep of someone who does have a son or a daughter over there.

  9. I the shoe beating was so minor, why did the soldiers take the suspect back into their custody?

    • To make the Afghan an official Cdn detainee, which he wasn't at the time,
      The detainee was 'allowed' to take a 15 minute ride with the Afghan police to the prison
      because this all happened ON THE BATTLE FIELD and the Cdn soldiers were a wee bit busy at the time.

      • Um, Wilson, you may want to check inbox.

        Those are last week's talking points.

        This week's talking points are that, yes we admit he was in fact a detainee and our soldiers did the right thing and oh, by the way, Liberals hate our soldiers.

        Which is not to be mistaken with the talking points from two weeks ago which were that no detainee was ever tortured and oh, by the way, Liberals hate our soldiers.

        Stay tuned for next week's talking points to address Colvin's statements today, the statements by other nations saying they were worried about how Canada was handling and supervising detainees, and the new evidence that the government knew about many more reports of torture.

        I can see why you are so confused on the subject. Or at least on what the Conservative's position is currently.

        • Stay tuned for next week's talking…

          …And Colvin and the Liberals hate our soldiers

        • I don't think, I know Liberals do not hate our soldiers.

          I think Liberals hate being in opposition, and will use what ever issue presents as a way to hammer the government, even at the expense of our soldiers.
          Liberals take care of #1 first and foremost (with the aid of a media that is equally intent on smearing the govt)

          Like the panic created over the H1N1 flu, Bob Rae saying Harper has to take the blame for deaths,
          10%ers with bodybags…..all b.s. at the publics expense.

          • Only it is the government using the soldiers for their own benefit.

      • General Natynczyk's version of events is that the man was in the custody of Canadian soldiers and that the Afghan police force assumed custody from those Canadians.

        Why can't you take our soldiers at their word? Having been an infanteer in my younger days I find your suggestion that the CDS deliberately lied to us last week offensive.

        • Why can't you take our soldiers at their word?

          Evidence to the contrary.

          And Natynczyk wasn't there. At this point, he's more bureaucrat than soldier.

  10. Let's see the pictures and read the reports then. How is it a matter of national security if it's just about shoes? Are these nuclear shoes? Secret Agent shoes?

    It's insulting that these petty usurpers actually think we will just accept their verison of events when they've been caught lying and forced to correct themselves over and over going back to 2006.

    • lol Boy you guys are sharp this morning. If it's just about shoes…what's all the fuss about…show us the money!

    • If a cuff upside the head with a shoe is the evidence of abuse and torture the opps and media are hanging their hats on,
      they have just lost the pr war for the hearts and minds of Canadians.

      The Danish police are handling Greenpeacers rougher,
      and none of them are responsible for the deaths of anyone of our brave soldiers.

  11. I've never seen Jack Bauer use a shoe in an interogation, therefore it can't be that bad.

    • Or maybe it's so bad that even Jack wouldn't use it!

      • A spikey heel could be deadly.

        • I saw that on one CSI or another. You really have to be careful.

  12. In Islam, it is considered an insult to when a male MP uses a woman's name.

    • But to who?

      • I don't seem to be able to find any other Laurie Hawns, male or female. Some hoary lawns, but that's about it.

        • My lawn used to be hoary, but then I fertilized it with some Peat Van Loam.

  13. "In the case of the transferred and subsequently rescued detainee, Canadian soldiers intervened to take an Afghan from a room where he was surrounded by five or six Afghan police who were beating the handcuffed man with shoes or boots."

    Sounds like more than playground taunts to me.

    • Wars are like that.

  14. Hawn's a much travelled man obviously. All that oil in his province has convinced him that he knows about such things.
    My two years living in Saudi Arabia tell ME two things about Mr. Hawn.
    1) He's learnt so much from his middle east counterparts I swear you'll see him walking along hand in hand with a Saudi male before very long – like and embarassed Dubya with King Abdullah in the White House Rose Garden – NOT! and
    2) He and his boss learnt the rule of absolute monarchy and the technique of blacking out communications (oh sorry – I meant redacting) from the Ministry of the Interior in Saudi Arabia – pretty soon they'll have laid off oil workers sitting on the floor in magazine stores – blacking out (darn – redacting) the lingerie ads in Vogue and the like….DUH!

  15. Reminds me of the Republicans who said waterboarding was no worse than a college prank.

    • What was Ignatieffs stand on waterboarding, was that one of his acceptable 'inhanced interrogation ' methods?

      • No, Ignatieff support for torture involves tying dissidents to the Stornoway couch and forcing them to listen to him speak in his slow dull voice about his vision for the country.

        Stephen Harper on the other hand has showed strong support for having dissidents electrocuted or their toes cut off. I can't wait for the day when Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper are tried for war crimes!

      • Where did you get your inhanced English skills?

  16. Well, if it was only a shoe issue, Harper is going to extremes to cover something up.

    • First, I don't disagree.

      The behavioural response to this, as well as the Conservatives response to anything, is so obsessively consistent that I might begin to think it may be more an issue of personality than – dare I say this, an actual knowledge-driven coverup.

      I suggest that they – well, Harper, who is undeniably the brains behind the present Conservative party – have so constructed a certain sense of themselves as people – a small lie here and there that works in a self-affirming way, a manipulative tactic now and then that works to get what one wants, developing an attachment to an ideology that confirms who they think they are…

      This constructed ego attracts and is attracted to others of the same type, who both can manipulate and be manipulated to self-affirming ends. Think of the Defcon steps, the denials, the attacks, the smears. All these deny or denigrate others to what end? to protect and build up the self.

      Did Mackay know? Does Harper know? No information that does not confirm, or that threatens the sense of self ever gets past the defenses.

      • So if somebody finds a tutu in Harper's closet then Wilson here, without consultation or meditation, will end up saying: "There is no tutu, and it's for ceremonial purposes, and what do you have against ballerinas anyway!"


  17. LOL if I ever vote Liberal maybe I will consider myself a supporter.

    Just because I speak against a corrupt government doesn't mean I cheer for their chief opponent. There are still Canadians who decide not to be the cheerleaders that have replaced responsible citizens.

  18. Okay, so then you agree that the coverup is not over our soldiers honourable behavior, but over our government's dishonourable behavior in trying to cover-up their orders that our soldiers had to go against.

    • heh, nice trap.

  19. Check out the detailed letter from Colvin to the Afghanistan committee at Kady's blog. Strong stuff. Credible evidence of torture abounds, all well before the 2007 MOU.

    • Well there yah go.
      MPs in committee can have a wonderful Xmas now, knowing their 'war crimes' case against the government is in good hands.

  20. Maybe Edmonton Centre can do what Edmonton Strathcona did and vote for the strong candidate.

    • Nope. The riding is not that left wing. There is a strong core of liberal support there that will not swing to the NDP.

      Besides, they feel burned by the NDP because in the last election, while the NDP encouraged strategic voting in Strathcona (and the liberal candidate really was not that visible), they worked just as hard to syphon off votes from Wachowich in Edmonton Centre in order to ensure Hawn won his seat back.

      It actually caused a fair amount of bitterness amongst the NDP grass roots as well.