On this website and on our Facebook-page we have been posting some of the letters of support we receive. This one, from a very thoughtful young Canadian, expresses so succinctly what many are feeling.
Dear Mr. Khadr
My name is Mathieu Rozier I am student hailing from Nova Scotia, a quiet rural community outside the university town of Wolfville. I was born and raised in this community and though the values and ideologies of myself and my neighbours differed, I was able to form deep and lasting friendships with them, whether it be with Winston, and old gentlemen with whom I pick corn for Dave, a local farmer, or Wesley, my dearest childhood friend. When I became older, I attended a more diverse school, meeting people with perspectives and values closer to my own, but I still retained my old friendships, because those people took the time to know me and judge me for what I did, not what was said about me. I believe you should be afforded the same opportunity.
I was fortunate. I was never discriminated against or humiliated for my identity. I’m not a minority and I have never faced poverty, or any great adversity for that matter. Unfortunately there are too many that do, and undeservedly so. I believe every person should be given a chance, and that before we judge an individual, we should take the time to know them, and unfortunately anger, suffering, and most of all fear interrupt this.
I grew up watching your story, and every time it broke my heart. I’m 18 now, but even 14 or 15 is a blur to me, and while my friends and I played war, it became a reality for you. I cannot imagine how I would’ve reacted in your position, a child caught in the middle of a terrible situation completely out of my control and dragged off to a reality worse than hell. I would have lost all my happiness, desire for life, and most importantly, my compassion.
But somehow you persevered, and look at the man you’ve become! I cannot claim to know you, as I’ve never met you, but watching you speak about your life I’ve been given such a strong impression. If I were in your position I would only feel anger, hatred, and contempt, but you’re filled with forgiveness, humility, and compassion, even for those that wish you ill. Your fortitude is more than admirable, you’re actions and demeanour are those which few in the world can claim, though most strive for. You’re a good person, never let anybody convince you otherwise.
I felt compelled to write you on this occasion because I feel I have a responsibility as a Canadian and a fellow human being to give you my support in this trying time. It seems you have undeservedly become the centre of a hateful ideological battle which no person deserves to bear. The world is filled with so much anger and fear, and those that attack you and your character are filled with these things. Frankly it breaks my heart. For they judge you not by your actions, but by propaganda and raw, misdirected emotion. If they would only get to know you, they would realize their error. What happened to you was a violation of Canadian and international law, as well as a violation of the Geneva conventions, and what happened is reprehensible. I just hope that it becomes a lesson to governments in the future.
The most important thing is that through all you’ve faced, you have miraculously, and thankfully survived. Though it may seem the whole world is against you, this is not so. Although those that oppose you are vocal, they are in the minority. Most people I have spoken with support you and believe in you, and though you seem to be a man of unparalleled fortitude, such hatred and negativity does get to a person, and I would like you remember that we believe in you.
I will not offer you my pity, as I know you would not want it, but I offer you this; my admiration, support, and most importantly my faith in you.
Remember: All things pass with time. It is exhausting to hate, and easy to love. A lesson that, from what I understand, you know well. In time you will find your own community, if you haven’t already. You’ll become friends with all sorts of people, and they will value you, for who you truly are; a kind, compassionate, and friendly person. In time your notoriety will fade and people will either forgive you or forget you, and you’ll be able to go about your life, truly free for the first time.
Good fortune and happiness to you, I can think of no one more deserving.
Hoping you are well