Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hope, Reconcilliation & Renewal

I have not been unaware of the excitement around the inauguration of President Barak Obama this week. In this photo, sent to me by a friend, I was stunned by the incredible numbers of people who trekked to Washington and braved the cold to watch this historic occasion. Some of these people didn't make it close enough to even glimpse the President and First Lady in person. Yet there was jubilation on their faces and hope in their eyes.

As a Canadian watching the occasion and listening to a very different speech than that of former President Bush - it gave me hope. Hope that I would on feel that my brothers to the south were once again my friends. Hope that there would be reconciliation around the world that the Amercians that I know and love will again feel proud that they are reaching out and trying to bring peace through their actions and words instead of sowing discontent and malice with words and actions of aggression. However, it was the actions of the new President that has begun to renew my faith in mankind. In his first week President Obama has closed Gitmo, shut down the CIA's network of secret overseas prisons and order the cessation of torture interrogation techniques. He also invoked the Geneva Convention for the treatment of the prisoners left at Gitmo and has allowed the international Red Cross access to the inmates.

For eight years I have watch my American friends struggle with the pain of feeling like they had lost the moral high ground that their country was founded on. Finally they can lift their heads and move forward with pride once again.

As a Canadian President Obama's actions this week have given me hope for a more peaceful world and better cross border relations. However, after the things I have seen and the pain that has been brought to fellow Canadians such as Maher Arar over the last eight years I am cautious. I will wait, with hope in my heart, for more good things from this new president.

Congratulations America - I think - I HOPE - you may be on to better times!

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