Reflecting on the Week That Was
Something didn’t sit right in my news-junkie tummy last week when a Canadian-American family was freed from Taliban custody after five years.
Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American-born wife Caitlan Coleman and their three kids – all born in captivity – were freed after a firefight by Pakistani army forces, who killed their Taliban-linked captors. The way the story was told, the couple had been backpacking five years ago in Central Asia, crossed into Afghanistan, and were captured. As more journalists probed, more details emerged. In 2012, Boyle and his then-pregnant wife, described by their families as idealists and naive, went into Afghanistan without telling their families back home, and ran into a shitstorm. Boyle was previously married for a year to one of infamous child-soldier Omar Khadr’s sisters, whom he met while taking up Khadr’s cause to get out of Guantanamo. (That’s the incarceration that recently earned Khadr a court-imposed, federal government payday.) In addition to the child Caitlan arrived carrying, three more babies were born during their five years in custody, but Boyle says an infant daughter was murdered and his wife was raped. After their release, Boyle refused to fly home on a US transport plane because it was scheduled to land in Afghanistan and he felt authorities would flag him due to his previous marriage. Instead they flew directly to North America on a commercial jet.
The couple isn’t wanted for any crimes. Their children have only known life as hostages and the family have been through a terrible ordeal. It’s welcome news that they’re free, but something still doesn’t sit quite right with the link between this story and my tummy.
I didn’t join in the #WomenBoycottTwitter on Friday, not because I don’t support actress Rose McGowan in her fight for the truth about disgraced predator/producer Harvey Weinstein, but because I didn’t support diminishing women’s voices. McGowan had tweeted a private phone number and that violates Twitter’s policy. She was suspended and then reinstated. No one stopped her from calling different men liars or rapists or levelling any other accusations. Shutting up isn’t going to get us heard more clearly. I would have supported a #WomenDominateTwitter day. I’d rather see us bombard the site than withdraw from it, even for 24 hours. Today that’s what we’re doing with the #metoo hashtag. You might be amazed at how many women are taking part.
As far as news goes, I’ve buried the lead: London is getting a full-sized IKEA! The success of the Pick-Up order point finally proved to the retail giant that we are worthy. By late 2019, London will be the Ontario store that’s furthest west. It will draw customers from Sarnia, Windsor, Chatham and maybe ease the load on the overburdened Burlington store. Bring on the Poangs, Expedits and Malms!