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Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin

February 21, 2012

In February there was a reprise of the fundraiser event for Hassan Diab titled “J’Accuse”. This recent performance was different because Diab and his partner were in attendance and Diab read his own poems. The effect of hearing him reading his own writing about his jailing and subsequent house arrest was quite poignant and chilling at the same time.

Also at this event was attorney Barbara Jackman who specializes in immigration and refugee law with particular emphasis on cases involving national security and human rights issues. She spoke on measures that Canada has taken in this post-9/11 climate of Islamphobia to target Muslims and people of Arab descent. Barbara Jackman was also the attorney in the case between the Canadian Arab Federation and Jason Kenney, and was able to speak from this experience and from the understanding of Canada as a security state complicit and guilty when it comes to human rights abuses.

The statement “J’Accuse” has become a generic statement of outrage and accusation since French writer Emile Zola used the term to title his open letter to the French government in 1894, accusing the government of anti-Semitism and unlawfully jailing Jewish French soldier Alfred Dreyfus.

Like Dreyfus, the case of Diab rests on fraudulent, discredited handwriting analysis. Dreyfus was convicted in a climate of anti-Semitism and Diab one of Islamophobia. Though there is nothing linking Diab to the bombing of a synagogue in Paris in 1980, France has asked Canada to extradite Diab for the crime, where he faces an unfair trial that could land him in jail for life.

The performance in February comprised music, and readings from Diab, Zola, and others who have spoken out about the injustices they face. Since Diab must pay for his own GPS anklet at over two thousand dollars a month, the event raised funds towards this.

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