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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lasagne recipe

So I was asked to make lasagne for some family friends who were coming over today, and I thought I would take this opportunity to give my lasagne recipe. I have another one that I use for only vegetable lasagne, but this one was a meat one. I shall post the vegetable recipe next time I make it.


One medium sized onion chopped

Six cloves garlic (at least!) – side note: I love the taste and smell of garlic, so I add this many, but cutting down the garlic to two cloves is fine too

Two pounds of lean ground beef

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes if you want the sauce to be a bit more chunky)

1 can tomato paste mixed in with half a cup water

2 cups tomato sauce (or pasta sauce, whichever one you prefer)

4 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoon of white sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (the fresh one really makes a difference!)

8 – 12 lasagne noodles (follow the cooking instructions on the box depending on the type of noodles)

23 ounces ricotta cheese

¾ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1 egg

3 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

1)In a large pot, warm ground beef and start breaking with the back of a wooden or plastic stirring spoon

2)When the beef starts to brown, add the chopped onion and garlic and mix with the beef until it has changed to a brown colour and the onions are translucent


3)Stir in the can tomatoes, the mixture of tomato paste and water and the two cups of tomato sauce

4)Add the sugar, the fennel seeds, the 4 tablespoon parsley, the salt, Italian seasoning, and basil to the beef and tomato sauce mixture. Stir well. **note: Since I am Pakistani, I add some chilli powder to my lasagne mixture just to give it a bit of a kick. If you want to do this as well, add only a teaspoon to the beef and sauce mixture with the rest of the seasonings.

5)Simmer on medium-low heat for an hour and a half at least. At this point, you can refrigerate the sauce and make the lasagne the next day if you desire.

beef tomato sauce

6)Mix the ricotta, egg, parsley and nutmeg in a bowl.

7)Cook lasagne noodles according to the box’s instructions

8)And now onto assembly!

9)Put some of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish that you are using

10)Next, add a layer of noodles

11)Then add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture

12)Then add mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese

13)Then add another meat sauce layer

14)Lay down noodles once more

15)Note: always put noodles on top of the meat sauce layer. I find that if they are on top of cheese, they get hard in the oven and are impossible to eat

16)The top layers should be meat and mozzarella cheese

finished lasagne

17)Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees

18)Remove the foil and bake for another 20 – 25 minutes

19)Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 15 min before eating

Sookie and Bill: A future in sight?

Now, I know there are those on team Eric and there are those on team Bill. I am definitely on team Bill. I feel as if Bill truly does love Sookie, and that’s why he wants her to be with him. She was the first one to truly welcome him to town with open arms, and he has always been there for her, even risking his own life in order to save her. I thought that one of the most tender moments between Sookie and Bill was when he rushed into her room after having a dream she was being choked and woke her up from fear that he was unable to protect her.

bill and sookie's cousin

Now although I am quite sentimental about Bill and his actions, he may have some hidden motives as to why he wants Sookie for himself. I mean, does Bill only love Sookie because it allows him to be able to express emotions the way that he thinks he ought to if he were a human being? Bill seems to be the only vampire with the ability to feel so strongly about a human being. I use the lines that Isabel said to Eric in season two when she claimed that humans felt much more deeply about things than vampires.

Does Bill only pretend to feel deeply for Sookie? Or are his feelings real? I’m betting on the side of real, but there are others who disagree.

You can contrast Isabel and Hugo’s relationship with Bill and Sookie’s. Although there weren’t many instances where Hugo and Isabel were together, I think it’s safe to assume that both Isabel and Hugo did not share the same sense of love that Bill and Sookie shared. Hugo was willing to betray Isabel because he was unable to match her abilities; her strength and lifestyle. Isabel was willing to get Hugo be destroyed by Godric because of his betrayal; hardly something that Bill would allow. Although I’m sure Sookie is much more useful to vampires then Hugo is because of her abilities.

Question of the day is, do you think that Bill is using Sookie in order to feel human, or for some other purpose? Or does he really love her? Or a combination of both? Do you think Maryann is right about Bill being able to walk away so easily from Sookie?

And then there are the questions about Bill’s past with and without Lorena. First of all, I HATED how the writers portrayed Bill as first of all being a savage monster killing people with Lorena, and then having him just suddenly have a change of heart and blaming her for all his actions. I know that Lorena is able to exert a lot of control over Bill because she is his maker, but come on; having Bill just blaming Lorena for his years of brutality is hardly justifiable. Vampire or human, some decisions are your own to make. I thought it was such a cop out for the writers to have Bill blame his entire lifestyle on Lorena, and I hope they explore how he actually came to the realization that his way of life (or death) was completely immoral and savage.

bill and lorena

bill and lorena kill

Actually, do you think that Bill’s lifestyle before was immoral and savage, or was he just simply doing what was in his nature to do? Back then there was never any true blood, so vampires did need to feed on humans in order to survive. And humans justify wars and killing all the time in the name of survival, so are vampires really any different from humans?

bill and lorena

On a hilarious side note: I loved when Bill told Sookie to shut up in episode two of season two! I love a man in charge!

sookie scared

bill mad episode two

Friday, September 4, 2009

True Blood

Call it nerdy, but I love dissecting the characters on True Blood and just having hours of endless discussions about it with my sister and whoever else watches the show. Growing up, I was such an avid fan of anime, and stories like Buffy and Angel, but when I heard of True Blood I was afraid to get on the bandwagon fearing it would be like Twilight. I know Twilight fans will try to burn me at the stake for saying this; but the story just feels so immature and contrived to me. But True Blood did not disappoint me one bit. Alan Ball has a way of writing characters that are completely believable. They are seldom one dimensional, and often tread the line between good and evil in ways that we ourselves do every day. This is what makes True Blood so appealing to me; it has that element that Six Feet Under had (still my number one favourite show of all time). Nate and all the other characters were so utterly human in their exploration of death and life, as are Sookie, Bill and Eric in True Blood. Each character has to battle their own demons, as Lettie Mae puts it and find their way in the grey areas of morality, love, life and death. After all, vampires themselves exist in that grey area of life and death.

But the first character I will focus on is my favourite; Bill Compton. I watched True Blood with fresh eyes; I knew nothing about the series or the books, and so viewing Bill as he in the series (I know he is quite different in the books) just made me fall in love with him. Tortured by the cruelty that he is so easily able to inflict on others (as graphically demonstrated by killing uncle Bartlet and in his flashbacks in season two), Bill straddles the lines between control and impulse and love and hatred.

Now, it goes without saying that first season Bill is very different from second season Bill, and I have my theories as to why that is. As I’ve never read the books (but I do know the book spoilers and how Bill is portrayed in the books), I will focus only on the Bill that is presented in the series. I found first season Bill to have many more layers than second season Bill. I think the writers were trying to pit him and Eric against one another in the second season, so they presented Bill as the do-gooder, but it didn’t do him any justice to deny the extremely dark tendencies he had in season one.


For example, Bill had no qualms killing uncle Bartlet, having a mass orgy with his three vampire friends, or killing Long-shadow. I think that beneath all the layers of goodness that he puts up for Sookie in season two, Bill has a very dark side that I hope will present itself in season three again. Unlike Eric, who is not afraid to be what he is, Bill tries to straddle who he is with who he thinks he ought to be. I think that’s what makes Bill accessible though; that even after almost 200 years he still doesn’t have a good grasp on who he actually is.

bill saving sookie

I found it disturbing that he would willingly associate with those three vampires that he knew were willing to inflict evil just to appease his own loneliness. I understand that the line between human and vampire are not easy to walk, but Bill makes choices which are clearly immoral and so far removed from the person he wishes he could be.


There are also those words from Maryanne which haunt the future of Bill and Sookie: “though I dare say there is nothing stopping him from one day leaving you, cold”.

...I will continue Bill's discussion on my next post...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moskovskiy Metropoliten

I have studied Russia since the start of my academic career. It still amazes me as to how many people do not know the beauty that Russia has to offer, especially architecturally. There is St. Basil's, which is probably the most famous architectural monument in Russia, but one thing that really makes me squeal in delight is the Moscow Metro. Designed during the reign of Stalin, the metro stations were supposed to be a highlight of the sophistication and opulence enjoyed by the Russian people (although this may not have been the case factually, these metro stations still truly scream luxury).

The Komsomol'skaya Station
Designed by Shchusev

The Novoslobodskaya Station

Other Stations along the metro:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Detail. Opulence. Around the world.






Thursday, April 16, 2009

I <3 Moorish Architecture

So inspiring!
I want these to be an inspiration for my own house (when I get one!)

All images from Architectural Digest

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Exam Treats!

Its exam time! And everyone I know is either super stressed or super busy. I always find during exam time my craving for sweets goes WAY up, so I try to curb this by making my own baked goods. I try to eat somewhat healthy when I’m stressed or not stressed, and I love to bake and cook. These banana muffins are a perfect study pick me up and always make me feel super good.

2-3 very ripe bananas (I like to wait until mine are black!)
2 eggs (or 1 if you want to make it really low fat)
2 tablespoon of oil (for moistness)
½ cup of sugar
1 ¼ cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1) Mix the flour, sugar and baking soda together in a large bowl
2) In another bowl, put the banana, oil and eggs into the blender until completely smooth
3) Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
4) Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ͦ

5) Enjoy!

You could add a table spoon or so of chocolate chips if you wanted banana chocolate chip muffins, but I find these to be perfect!
For those of you that have exams as well, GOOD LUCK!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sad Story

I read the saddest article that says that due to the recession, pet owners are choosing to give up their beloved dogs and cats or put them down in order to save on medical costs for pets. Since most people do not have pet insurance, the thousands that it costs to take care of an animal is just not affordable on any level. I feel so horrible for these pets, as I do for the owners that have to give them up. I have a wonderful sweet cat and I could not imagine giving him up for any reason, especially financial, so my heart really breaks for those owners who have to give up something they love so they are able to afford a place to live. I know the only way to really make a difference here is to give more to local animal shelters that are being overworked due to the large amount of pets that no longer have homes. Or if you can afford it and want a pet, please go and adopt one of those pets in need from your local humane society. Pets are a wonderful, loving addition to your household and provide the best unconditional love that you can ever imagine!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Angry Side Note: Greedy Universities

I was appalled, no, make that disgusted when I heard of UofT’s flat-rate tuition fee program that the university would like to start in 2011. All I can say is that thank god that I am graduating from UofT in 2010 (hopefully), and that I won’t have to deal with the horrible ill-planned mess that the university is about to introduce for students. Any student who is taking less than four credits would be downgraded to part-time student status, meaning they cannot have access to interest free OSAP or any of the other benefits of full time student status (like child care on campus). Those who chose to take four courses will have to pay around $1200 more for something they are not even getting a benefit out of. The only people that will be getting a ‘fair deal’ from this are the students taking six courses a year, and honestly, that is tough on any student who also wants to work and go to school at the same time. I hope that UofT will come to their senses and keep tuition fees as they are now. Or a better novel idea: lower the tuition fees for students like we’ve been lobbying for!

And this is just a side note: I don’t personally know where all my tuition dollars are going to now! My campus constantly looks like hell. This is not a joke. The moral of the place is constantly low. And despite our new library and our wonderful “communications” building which looks like a supped-up prison cell, there hasn’t even been a slight improvement in campus food, or recreation space for the students. There aren’t even backs on half the chairs at the meeting place!

I love what I study, but I cannot support a program that will disenfranchise so many students and leave so many more without an education. Honestly, I thought that in the recession, the goal was to educate as many young minds as possible to create new jobs in the future to get us out of this mess, not introduce a bogus policy that would keep talented people out of a post secondary education!

For those interested here is the article outlining the policy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I just read a quote today that made me yearn for my boyfriend. I haven’t been able to spend enough time with him outside of school lately as exams are coming up, but when I read this, it just hit the right note:

'Listen, what you guys really have to do is be kinder to each other.' It's such a simple concept but it's a really important concept with a relationship...when you're in a relationship; it's really not just about you anymore...'People throw away relationships too easily -- marriages especially in this town... not only in this town, but in this world.'
-David Arquette

Agreed. Life is rough enough, and relationships are one place where you should be able to escape to a safe place for a while.

image: deviantART

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Great Canadian Site!!

I hate shipping things from the US. The duties and customs are just a killer and not to mention that the price conversion and shipping costs just make most online 'deals' not worth it. BUT I have GREAT news for my fellow Canadian shoppers. I just stumbled upon and wow. The site is amazing for designer goods. They are Canadian, so everything is in Canadian dollars and they ship to Ontario FREE!!! :D I feel like I'm in heaven!
Here are two cute things I wanna order:

These Juicy sandals are perfect for dressing up a cute little black summer dress!

I want this Miss Sixty dress (and ONLY $113C on sale!!) but its not in my size *sigh*

Happy Shopping!

Cheap vs Steep

Don't these Aldo versions look just like the Balmain ones? There is definitely an uncanny resemblance! But the Aldo ones are only $125 Canadian! Now that's a steal.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pretty Things!

In light of spring being right around the corner, I wanted to share some things that I thought were nice spring staples. As you can see, my style is very simple and basic, and that's the way I like it!

Dresses: I love dresses, especially easy unfussy pieces that you can throw on and walk out the door in.

from left to right:,,

Shoes!! I love shoes (who doesn't?) but unfortunatly after a back accident I can no longer wear high heels. I still sneak them in sometimes, but I'm usually in pain right after so I have to avoid them!

black tahari driver flat, Red juicy couture flats, white Kate Spade Puka flat.

Shirts - I love an easy summer shirt. The ae shirt has the perfect easy fit and a light material, which is essential in warmer weather.

blue button down:, Tbags geometric print shirt, tank

I Want You to Want Something Else...

I recently read an article “I Want You to Want Me”. After finishing it, I had incredibly mixed feelings towards it. The article is about a woman who wants to experience what it would be like to be sexy. After countless hours spent wondering why certain women exude a sexuality that is completely foreign to her, she tries to emulate those women who are able to capture men and women’s attention through just being themselves. However, in this article, she cannot just be herself to be sexy; her image of sexiness is only complete through butt-hugging pencil skirts and false eye lash extensions. Although the message of the article was not incredibly well founded, it left me with mixed emotions towards this women’s dilemma with her image.

I think the part that really got to me was that she was basing her “sexiness” on what men would want from her, and what women would get jealous of. It was never so much for her. She wanted to evoke jealousy, the kind that she felt that every woman should feel when she looks at other women who she finds beautiful. Of course it’s true that other women stare at other women, sometimes in admiration and sometimes in jealousy and contempt. I see these stares all the time (not towards me, mine you, I’m not that narcissistic), but just observing other people within the confines of the university common area, you can see girls check out other girls like they’re either comparing themselves to them or they are pieces of meat that are in need of grading. What bugged me about this article was that she could not stop sizing herself up to other women. To become “sexy” she even dressed in the clichéd notion of what is sexy, tight skirt, high heels, push-up bra, and then struts her stuff only to find that a majority of people aren’t turning heads with their jaws dropping to the floor. ...Perhaps it is because she didn’t look confident and comfortable, feeling like a caricature of something she longed to be. Not feeling like herself and trying to emulate an image of what she thought others found sexy was probably downright exhausting. On a side note, the notion of women on women jealousy wasn’t particularly inspiring. I felt that instead of appreciating herself, she could only appreciate the beauty in others. The only time it felt that she felt good about herself in the article was in the end when she got the stares of waiters when her “sexy” friends did not. Validating your own looks through ogling waiters is not my idea of sexy.

At the same time, the article evoked some sympathy from me as well. I can understand her frustration. Sometimes you just want to be noticed and feel that tiny bit of admiration from others. I can agree with that, whether it’s through your looks, your work, or something else, everyone feels the need for that little bit of acknowledgement. I just think she goes to the extreme and says that it’s just the physical that matters. There are lots of reasons why guys and girls are attracted to someone, and it’s not always their physical appearance that comes first. Plus, if someone finds someone attractive, there are many people who do not share the same sense of aesthetic and beauty ideal. What is sexy comes in many shapes and forms and is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Ps, the picture is of the women I find that exude sexiness without trying too hard: Marion Cotillard, Leighton Meester, and Eva Mendes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I saw the top of this dress and I instantly fell in love. While never being a fan of the colour yellow, I must say that it looks stunning on Eva Mendes who wears the heck out of this dress. What I truly find exquisite is the jeweled bodice.

I must say, the skirt is not my style, but the dual textures within the dress itself are incredible. I love how the sharpness of the jewels contrasts with the strait, smooth texture of the skirt. Overall, I love this look!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I dream of you!

There are only a very few things in life that really spark my savings fund into overdrive. For the past two years I had been saving for this laptop, which was a huge necessity for me, especially in university. Prior to this, I had never really felt the urge to save a lot for one item of anything really. I just save for the future, just in case I go dirt broke and can’t afford my daily Tim Horton’s fix anymore (yes, I am an ubiquitous Canadian Timhoe!). However, lately, my mind has been focused on one thing and one thing alone. It is this precise coach bag that entices me, tickles my fancy, makes me want to run to the coach store and just spend, spend, spend! I dream of this bag at night before I sleep, hoping that it’ll magically be in arms reach by the time I wake up. When I drink my Tim’s fix, I dream of the $10 000 prize, not for necessity’s sake, but for the sake of owning this bag. I almost feel guilty, a bit dirty even, to jump on the coach bag bandwagon. As far as bags go, Coach is ok. I already own a coach that I got as a gift a year ago, and I have no complaints, its built really well and it feels really good. But there is something about this bag that makes me not care that I’m buying into the hype. As a staunch non-conformist, that is huge break from my beliefs! But the design, the colour, everything about this bag screams “Marz” to me! I’m going to try my best to save, although I know this is a hopeless feat. With grad school application fees just around the corner and this ailing economy where nothing is certain anymore, I guess my bag fund will have to wait. ... how depressing!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Heart Toronto

Though I am not a hopeless romantic, I have been blessed with the most romantic boyfriend on the planet. Valentine’s Day was a surprise as we went downtown to see Dirty Dancing, the musical. Let me just say that I had the “time of my life”. More than the play, we ended up dining at Aroma Fine Indian Cuisine which was a quiet and nice little romantic Indian restaurant very close to the theatre. It was such a perfect evening, and the chicken there was to die for! Although I believe that Valentine’s Day is a corporate shill of a holiday, it really is the special little moments in each relationship that make everything worth it in the end. It wasn’t the outrageous romantic gestures or the candlelit dinner that made that day incredibly special though, it was the chance to reconnect in a different setting that truly set the day apart. Sometimes, your actual physical surroundings can really make such a difference in your mentality. My suburban town outside of Toronto is an example of the monotony of everyday life. There are only franchises and movie theatres, but nothing that truly screams originality anywhere. I know it’s a cliché to categorize suburbia in this way, but the excitement of a place that has no spark the way a city does, does nothing to ignite the imagination. Toronto was a saviour not because it has overtly romantic facets the way Paris does, but because it is lively and such a change of pace from the suburban lifestyle experience. I honestly believe in places giving people energy, and Toronto gave me the energy and the realization that igniting the creativity in my own relationship through my own means is the only way to keep myself happy. I know relationships are a two person team, but if one person isn’t happy, it affects both people’s outlook, and making yourself happy is the first step in keeping the relationship alive.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Pressure to Worry

I have been plagued by a case of worrying. Not that I worry about everything incessantly, but that I have specific nagging fears that envelop my thoughts throughout the day. Lately, they have been worries about my future. The troubled economy, my apathy towards school and most recently, my Indian mother giving me longwinded speeches about the importance of marriage in my future. These all contribute to the silent messages that seem to take up more and more brain space.

My mother, being from a society where marriage defined you as a woman, has been insisting that I find a husband or I will end up alone. Ending up alone wasn’t really on my list of things to do, but the option of diving into a permanent relationship just to not end up alone is a scary thought. Despite the high ratings of approval arranged marriages get, the data does not speak the everywoman’s language. The divorce rates in arranged marriages are lower, but that is due in part to the pressure put on couples to not get divorced. If love does not bloom between a couple, then living with the unhappiness is the duty of the woman and the man. Infidelity on part of the man in the relationship is also not frowned upon as highly as it is from the woman’s side. The ideals that are promoted in the rigid patriarchical society from India are brought to Canada as well, complicating the social structure that exists here. Although my mother means well, she has no idea that these issues will not and have not been addressed in the Indian community, and nor in any other immigrant community stretching from the Middle Eastern to various South Asian communities. It is because these ideals are so transfixed into the minds of those children who grow up in Canada that it sometimes takes generations to break away from them.

Nonetheless, I digress. Being from this mentality of thinking it is hard to know where you stand as a woman in between Canadian society and Indian communal culture. On the one hand, the family pressure to find someone to get married to is extremely tense. It makes it more problematic that I find myself committed to someone already, and therefore, the meetings with these individuals can get rather uncomfortable. As I am a true believer in emotional fidelity, it is hard when a stranger is asking you personal questions and you cannot find it in your heart to answer them. Is it emotional cheating if I give away so much of myself to a stranger, who technically wants to get into my pants later in life? And does having the family pressure make this ok? The situation can get incredibly murky, especially due to the fact that my parents do not know about my relationship. I always feel guilty when I am forced into these situations, and I feel queasy when my partner is forced into similar situations.

On a brighter note, having someone who goes though the same experiences as you, and still remains committed to your relationship can bring you closer together as well. There is nothing like a shared experience of humiliation and awkwardness to strengthen your bond. However, the flip side to this could be that you meet someone you really like, who is already pre-approved by your parents and it causes you to rethink the relationship that is kept in the dark from your parents. There is also an element of unfairness to those others involved, who do not know that you are in a relationship and may feel truly bad that they are breaking up a union just for the sake of their parent’s happiness.

In my books, when it comes to arranged marriage, no is the better answer. There is no reason why a couple who is in love should have to break a union just to please their parents. If pleasing the parents is the number one thing on your partners mind, then it may be time to rethink the relationship altogether. In a marriage of any kind, it is you that’s supposed to come first for your partner, and not the parents. If it is obvious that they are not respectful of this key ingredient of a successful marriage, then it is better to withdraw before you get in too deep. Commitment is hard to find, but finding the right person who will be respectful to you because of who you are, and not because their parents like you, is a gem worth keeping!

As for my worrying sessions, they’ll cool down until I graduate and the pressure is on to either find a job or run away from it all 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Symbolizing Reality: The Humanity of Guantanamo Bay

The War on Terror has left some lasting international impressions about the United States’ foreign policy which liberals are hoping to reverse in order to gain favour in the international community. There is the ever present hope that President Barack Obama is able to alter the negative perception of US hard power in the international arena and replace it with an image of an America that abides by international laws and global democratic principles. In an effort to reign in positive international as well as domestic opinion, Obama has decided to execute an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. Although on the surface this seems like a step in the right direction, one has to question the humanity of shutting down a glaring symbol of US cruelty.

Guantanamo stands for the anti-democratic principles which marked the Bush era from the get-go. Without a popular vote to get him into office, and a complete violation of international treaties that the US signed upon, the US had no right to market itself as a viable form of democracy. Violating the Geneva Conventions and then justifying those violations by manipulating the fear of the public is not democratic. It is downright Soviet. But democracy be damned, Bush era US foreign policy was borderline illegitimate. By closing down Guantanamo, the hope is that American foreign policy is able to project their influence into regions of the world without using the symbols that characterized the hard power era of Bush’s foreign policy.

However, closing Guantanamo Bay right away without a concrete and visible plan as to how the detainees will be handled was irresponsible of Obama. Of course it was an incredibly political decision. To market yourself as the anti-Bush will win you votes, but to act as the anti-Bush will win you international and domestic love. And Obama is soaking in that right now. But life for the Guantanamo detainee just got much harder. Without the constant public attention that they are getting, their plight as prisoners without fair access to the US legal system will go completely ignored. The fear is that these prisoners will be left in some other hole to die. But some things never change. If Obama gives the public the perception that he has moved away from Bush’s foreign policy, then that is all that matters to the American public. The detainees and those whose lives Guantanamo actually effects is left completely out of the picture. Those issues are not discussed by the public or the media, because closing the symbol of American cruelty, which at one point the American public sanctioned as necessary, will finally bring the American public the catharsis it so desperately craves. Out of sight and out of mind they say.

The situation on the home front is equally as bleak. Canadian foreign policy needs to address the issue of Omar Khadr, the Afghan-Canadian boy who is being detained because he allegedly threw a grenade that killed an American soldier on Afghani soil. With Obama’s upcoming visit to Canada, it will be interesting to see how this contentious issue will play out. The Canadian public elected Steven Harper because he was more in tune with Bush’s policies (albeit, he was elected when Bush was more favourable in the public eye). However, with the return of a more liberal-minded president, it will be vital to see as to whether Canadian public opinion of Harper will change, especially since Harper has been incredibly cautious as to how he approaches the issue of Omar Khadr. Canadian public opinion also seems to be split on this matter. Khadr has humanitarian support on the grounds that he is a Canadian citizen and should therefore be returned to Canadian soil. Many also believe that Khadr should not be able to return to Canada because of the suspicious circumstances of the Khadr’s residency in Canada. The Khadr’s were able to gain refugee status in Canada despite Mr. Khadr, Omar’s father, being linked to both Al Qaeda and having personal ties to Osama bin Laden. It is quite understandable for public opinion on the Khadr’s to be negative. Abusing the immigration system in Canada is sadly incredibly common, and I will be writing a post later on addressing this issue. Nonetheless, the Khadr case is a prime example of when politics fails the individual. Omar was just 15 at the time of his alleged killing of the American soldier. At 15, Omar would have been a child soldier, which effectively makes him a victim of circumstance under international law. Moreover, Canada is the only country to not bring home its nationals. I understand that Harper cannot afford politically to be coy with the press about the Khadr issue since a large contingent that votes for Harper feels that the Khadrs should not be in Canada. Despite these political barriers, Omar was just a boy. To take this political issue out on a 15 year old boy is a galling example that politics and humanity are distinctly separated and reconciling them is not only difficult, but sometimes downright impossible.

Foreign policy debates do not only focus on resources and abstract land masses known as states, but on individual human lives. Omar Khadr’s family may have immigrated under false pretences to Canada, but abandoning a 15 year old boy to punish the downfall of our lax immigration system is incredibly harsh. Furthermore, the circumstances in which he is getting charged for a war crime is ridiculous are well. American soldiers are inside Afghanistan to fight a war. American soldiers are going to come into contact with enemy combatants all the time, hence the war. When an enemy combatant inevitably strikes at you, as my professor so eloquently put it, “shit happens”.