Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Fool for Love?

Tuesday, 21 January 2003 (Day 39)

Living in Melbourne, I haven't been personally affected by the Canberra fires and offhand I can't think of anyone in Canberra that I dislike intensely enough to wish their homes had burnt down. Even if there were, there's something a little tacky in finding that sort of consolation in major catastrophes and people tend to be unimpressed when you make such sentiments public (link via Tim Dunlop).

So I spent this morning trolling the news sites looking for something else to write about and, two days behind the times, I found this report from the Sunday Herald Sun at News.com. It's about Jack Thomas, the Al-Qaeda "suspect" and loser who was arrested recently in Pakistan. Thomas has been helping the Pakistani authorities with their enquiries: under Pakistani law he can be held without trial for up to a year so he may be doing so for some time yet.

The report provides a lot of background on Thomas that's been missing from most of the coverage so far, including the fact that he was arrested while boarding a plane for Melbourne. Once there no doubt he planned to give our lads in trenchcoats the slip once again just as he did when he left Australia in 2001. According to family friends, he first converted to Islam for much the same reason that some people convert to Catholicism: so that the love of his life would consent to marry him. Perhaps now he is feeling that this was about as wise as it would be to make scurrilous allegations about the character and behaviour of dingoes while camped at Uluru.

Today's good news, for Thomas anyway, is that the Australian High Commission in Pakistan has been granted consular access to Thomas so he might not end taking the magical mystery tour to Guantanamo Bay, unlike Mamdouh Habib. This isn't going to please anybody who believes that this is the best place for Australian converts to Islam but I say stuff 'em: it's the only way to make a good straw man.

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