Sunday, 29 September 2013




Oct. 9, 2013

So, a little update here. Tarek Loubani and John Greyson were thankfully and unexpectedly freed from prison early Sunday, October 6, 2013 and planned to leave soon after a bit of recuperation in a Cairo Hotel. Upon attempting to leave, however, the idiot Egyptian government had placed them on a stop-list and they were not allowed to board their plane. No need to go into the moronic details as to why they must stay in Egypt, but frankly, these are not free men until the backwards military-controlled government lets them leave - as they should. News of their release from prison has been acclaimed by Canadians across the country, though a couple of mentally defective "journalists" (if one wants to call them that - one of them's a plagiarist, the other a right wing simpleton) did their best to slag them publicly. As only knuckle-dragging Tea-Party wannabes take either "journalist" seriously, it's of no matter. The Egyptian government is still criminally investigating the two Canadian heroes who, in the case of Loubani offered medical aid, and in the case of Greyson, documented the brutal murder of those protesting military takeover of a government that was democratically elected. In a public statement, the two were thankful for both the support they received at home, Egypt and the world. Also thankful for their release, they expressed deep concern for all the other innocent Egyptian citizens being held in prison without charge.

Again, I can only ask:

What, Mr. Harper, are you doing about this?

Oct. 1, 2013
So, Mr. Harper, we now know that Egypt has a whole grocery list of spurious charges again Tarek and John including:
(Suggestions below in open letter)

Sept. 30, 2013
“In the absence of charges, Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson should be released immediately." - Statement Released Late in the Evening of September 29, 2013 from the Canadian Prime Minister's Office (PMO)

This is good, but not good enough. If you haven't already, Mr. Harper, feel free to read the following open letter which offers some suggestions as to what you need to do.

All others who read this, feel free to forward this link to Prime Minister Harper via email at or tweet it to his official Twitter account @pmharper.

Sept. 29, 2013

To Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the matter of Egypt, Dr. Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson By Greg Klymkiw

Dear Mr. Harper: Two Canadians, Emergency Room Doctor Tarek Loubani and Film Director/York University Professor John Greyson, have been detained without charges in Egypt since August 16, 2013. You know they are innocent. You know they witnessed over 50 people mercilessly cut down in the streets of Cairo while Dr. Loubani compassionately sprung into healing mode to save lives while Mr. Greyson sprung into filmmaking mode and shot footage of the horrific carnage unfolding. You know they were "arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist’, slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries" and continue to be held in a prison in a country presided over by a government that staged a military coup to depose a democratically elected President. You know Egypt is currently led by Adly Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt. You have, as the democratically elected leader of our nation, allowed your fine Foreign Affairs officials and consular staff do their jobs to work through this regrettable situation via diplomatic means. You have even spoken out publicly about the arrest of these innocent Canadians. Now, Mr. Prime Minister, you must do what's right! You must muster all your powers of leadership and as the democratically elected head of our country, intercede personally on behalf of two Canadians who you should be proud of. When people were being cut down in the street like animals in a slaughterhouse, YOU, MR. PRIME MINISTER, YOU KNOW that one great Canadian bravely applied his skills and compassion as a Healer, while the other great Canadian bravely applied his skills and compassion as an both an artist and filmmaker to capture a visual record of this carnage.

Bravery, skill and compassion are attributes that have always made this country GREAT. You yourself have displayed these traits on a number of occasions. Now, however, is not the time to sit back and lightly take this egregious action against your citizens who ventured out beyond our soil to do what Canadians do best and were caught in a horrifying situation where they, as Canadians, continued to do what Canadians do best.

You, Mr. Prime Minister, must act. You must display bravery, skill and compassion.

You must pick up the telephone, sir. If necessary, you must board a plane, sir.

You must personally speak to Mr. Adly Mansour. You must remind him that these great Canadians have been treated worse than common criminals for displaying the attributes of great Canadians. To do less, sir, is an insult to all Canadians and besmirches the memory of so many of our brave Canadians who, in harm's way, have suffered or even died to do what was right. Mr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson were armed only with all the necessary paperwork and tools of their respective trades - no matter what their personal politics are, no matter that they might have, naively to some, travelled through a dangerous part of the world to get to another country altogether - I know, you know, Egypt knows, as does the world, that these men are innocent and have been held in horrendous conditions without charges.

You know all this and more, Mr. Prime Minister.

You also know that Canada has bestowed and continues with plans to bestow millions upon millions of dollars in aid to Egypt and in spite of this, said country is treating two brave Canadians with contempt and utter disregard for our (and their) country's generosity to Egypt.

You, Mr. Prime Minister are holding the cards.

These two Canadians need you to show personal leadership here and play your cards.

Let me tell you, something I know about these two great Canadians, Mr. Prime Minister.

I have never met Dr. Loubani, but because of a recent health scare, I encountered something that moved me deeply and made me feel as if I did know him. On the advice of my family doctor, I checked myself into an Emergency Room in a small town in Southern Ontario. I was treated with skill and compassion by a terrific doctor who found herself far from her home base to fill a need for a tiny country hospital. As I was lying on an emergency room bed, I spotted a button on her hospital garb. The button read: "FREE TAREK AND JOHN". As I saw that button, those words, I cannot even begin to describe the wave of emotion that coursed through me and caused my eyes to fill with tears. I managed to choke out the words: "You're wearing a 'Free Tarek and John Button.'" We spoke at length about the aforementioned situation in Egypt and I found out during the course of our conversation that Dr. Christine Richardson, the wearer of this button, the skilled, compassionate ER doctor who had just tended to me, was in fact a close colleague and friend of Dr. Tarek Loubani in London, Ontario. Dr. Richardson, the head of Department of Emergency Medicine and ER colleague of Dr. Loubani at the LHSC-Victoria Hospital spoke at length to me about his dedication to his patients and profession. I even appreciated the sort of humour reminiscent of the book, movie and TV series M*A*S*H that she displayed with respect to Mr. Loubani returning soon and safely so all his dedicated colleagues didn't have to keep filling in his missed shifts. Dr. Richardson kindly presented me with a mock hospital I.D. with Tarek and John's photos and the words "Free Tarek and John" emblazoned upon it. I will keep proudly wearing this badge along with the button I received from film director Sarah Polley.

I'm hoping I can soon remove both once you do the right thing.

As for Mr. Greyson, I do know him. As a human being, he is kind, gentle, sweet, good humoured and intelligent. As a teacher, I have known a myriad of students who worship the ground he walks on. As a filmmaker, Canada has few equals. Mr. Harper, I will share the following note I left on Mr. Greyson's Facebook page after hearing of his incarceration in Egypt: "My dear John: I will still never forget my first screening of ZERO PATIENCE so many years ago - stumbling (the only word to describe it) out of the cinema into the bright light of day - trembling, yet charged with elation; emitting streams of tears that wildly alternated between sadness and joy; profoundly and deeply moved by the content of the film whilst also getting that delicious goose flesh that overtakes me when I experience the work of genuine artistry that comes from someone who is so clearly the Real Thing. You've continued to provide a commitment to expanding the boundaries of an art and a medium that often feels more important to me than life itself. You continued to never suffer fools or foolish actions. You continued to place humanity at the forefront of your work and actions. You are a heroic figure to me. As you are now in the company of another true hero, your dear friend Tarek, in this horrendous situation, I can only offer my thanks to you for being YOU and my deepest prayers that both of you will be out of the clutches of these insidious powers so you can both continue your important and utterly selfless work. My love, admiration and energy is with you both."

Mr. Harper, two great Canadians are being detained in Egypt. Our foreign minister, Mr. John Baird claims to have had a "good meeting" with Egypt's foreign minister and Béatrice Fénelon from the Foreign Affairs department claims that "Canada continues to press at all levels, including directly with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, for a timely and positive resolution to this situation and in the absence of confirmation of the charges continues to call for the release of Dr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson."

Mr. Harper, we are long past the point of a timely resolution.

According to a Toronto Star news article dated September 28, 2013, Badr Abdelatty from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry claims “there is a solid basis, according to the attorney general’s office, to charge them in the near future [and that the prosecutor] will continue the investigation, and the extension of (the men’s) arrest every two weeks will continue until they finish.”

As of this morning, September 29, 2013, John and Tarek have been ordered to spend 45 more days in prison.

You must take a genuine leadership position.

Messrs. Loubani and Greyson are waiting for you to take a genuine leadership position.

Canada is waiting for you to take a genuine leadership position.

Mr. Harper: Be a leader, be a hero, be a Great Canadian. Pick up the phone. Hop a plane.

Do what you MUST do.

I'm sure Mr. Adly Mansour appreciates Canada's benevolence.

I'm sure Mr. Adly Mansour respects you and your leadership.

Do the right thing, Mr. Harper.