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Hockey Served with War
April 18, 2003
By Jason Berry

It is springtime in this part of the world and you can certainly feel it in the winds. A time of life, renewal, and perhaps even hope. Even far to the north in the country of Canada we can feel the spring winds. Even as we huddle inside our homes, around our TV sets to watch playoff hockey…

You see spring and hockey go hand in hand for us Canucks. It's what we talk about at work, its what we watch as we eat our suppers, its what we dream about in our sleep.

This spring not only brings us our annual dose of playoff hockey but sadly brings us war as well. A war most of you know the majority of Canadians do not support. A war that many of us find morally and legally wrong. A war that we cannot in good conscience support.

Do not let that make you think that we do not support you though America. Those of you that live as our good neighbours to the south. Those of you stand against this war and that speak out against this war. Those of you that remember the Constitution and its grand ideals that built the foundations of your nation. Those of you who view this war with scepticism. Those of you that wish for peace. Yes it is those same people that I wish to share something with.

Last night Canadians across the nation received a wake up call watching CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. As the games regulation time came to a close and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers prepared for overtime. The nation was brought the latest from Iraq…

Before I continue I should explain that the CBC is also Canada's main media outlet. It is the same outlet that American Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci demanded that our Prime Minister Jean Chretien "put a muzzle on", or control if you will. It's the same media outlet that attempts to bring Canadians the harsh reality of this war on terrorism, and sadly enough its victims.

The latest from Iraq brought us news of one of those said victims. Little Ali Ismail Abbas Hamza is a 12 year old boy who lost both his arms when a cruise missile landed near his home. Burned and in terrible pain he suffered with limited healthcare for nearly 15 days before he could be flown to Kuwait City for proper medical attention.

You can see the video Canadians watched. You can hear his moans of pain, you can see the tears of anguish in his eyes. One of my friends exclaimed they'd be better served showing that to the Americans and turned away. I however could not take my eyes away. For whatever reason I feel I owe it to Ali, so symbolic of all the children who've suffered for this war. To remember his pain and his loss, and to place it in my heart should I ever sway on my stance against this or any war.

Another friend of mine could not bear to watch it anymore. He simply couldn't take the long pauses of nothing but the sound of Ali's moans of torment… But can't he see that those moans are the cries of freedom? That those tears are that of liberation? I wonder if that's what President Bush would say had he seen that story and been asked to comment. Likely he would say it was unfortunate and move on. Possibly receive briefings on war plans for Syria. What else could he say?

I can't help and turn to see my little boy sound asleep. I can't imagine the horror of seeing him torn apart by a bomb. Losing his arms and being horribly burned. Seeing him lie inert in a bed moaning in pain, the tears of anguish in his eyes. Unable too ever again to give his mother a hug, or wrap his arms around his future wife, or to hold a child of his own in his arms. Never again able to do something as simple as let me show him how to properly hold a hockey stick...

Yes with springtime comes hockey, and with this years serving of hockey comes war. For Ali this war for "freedom" has brought terror. For those fellow countrymen of Ali this liberation has brought death, and while they cheer the demise of Saddam and smile at the passing by of brave marines of the coalition. They remember the deaths and sufferings of kin like Ali Ismail Abbas Hamza and their hearts grow cold.

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