For the best part of a month, I’ve been following the news of arrest and subsequent release of Dr Mohamed Haneef. I can’t begin to tell you how angry Haneef‘s arrest and detention makes me – never mind my government’s continued refusal to reinstate his visa, although why he would ever want to return to Australia is beyond me, given the way he was treated while he was there. I do, however, understand his desire to have his name cleared completely. The “protected police information” the government promises to provide in the next couple of days had better be good, although, given their current track record, this seems unlikely. It is beyond me that giving one’s cell phone SIM card to anyone could be construed as “recklessly aiding a terrorist organization”. The good news is that, for the most part, common sense has prevailed (perhaps unlike the Tampa dispute). The press, public, and politicians from all political parties have demanded a fair and transparent trail for Dr Haneef, and this pressure seems to have had some effect. Unfortunately, this is not enough to prevent the rest of the world from seeing the Australian government’s poor behavior.
Aside from the constant stewing over the Haneef case, I’ve had a pretty good weekend. I spent Friday night at a barbecue at Anna’s place, where my break from vegetarianism continued: I had beef for the first time in 6 years. My decision to start eating meat on occasion (basically, when other people cook it for me, or when there’s no vegetarian option available) feels a little strange, not least because when I’m eating meat, it seems completely normal, and it tastes quite delicious. Perhaps we are meant to be omnivores, after all! That said, I don’t think I’ll increase my meat eating much from where it is right now – I certainly can’t imagine buying it and cooking it for myself. I’m actually a very happy vegetarian (and I don’t find myself craving or missing meat), but there’s an element of my up-bringing that makes it very difficult for me to ask people to take my vegetarianism into account when they’re preparing a meal for me or choosing a restaurant. This current arrangement is actually what I planned when I first started eating less meat six years ago, it just turned out that, at the time, I’d keep forgetting that I was going to cut back my meat consumption. In any case, I’m sure that my current diet change will make my beef-cattle-producing father happy!