Skip to main content

Getting good news at Christmastime, the 21st Century way

This weekend The Black Rod got a terrific Christmas present.

It was an e-mail telling us of the latest news about Mohammed Niaz, an interpreter with the Canadian forces in Afghanistan who we had written about six months ago.

At that time, life looked grim for the young man.

He had been horribly wounded in an ambush on Canadian troops. He was in the hospital at the Kandahar air base where both his legs had been amputed below the knee.

He was depressed and feeling abandoned as he watched others who had been wounded in combat flown to Germany and Canada for treatment. He was begging Canada for help.

Our e-mailer brought us up to date.

Niaz is out of hospital and back working as an interpreter with Canadian forces.

His home has been rebuilt by Canadian troops to make it wheelchair friendly.

And he was standing on his new prosthetic legs when he received a medal from Commander CEFCOM, (Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command) Lieutenant-General J.C.M. Gauthier as his proud father looked on.What a terrific turnaround.

And it stands as testament to how influential the Blogosphere has become in the 21st Century, how a blog in Winnipeg, Canada, can have an impact on the life of a man in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 4000 miles away.

We first learned about Niaz's existence while researching a story on the first stage of Canada's military commitment in Kandahar. Published news reports told of the Canadians wounded in the ambush. Some of them mentioned that an Afghan interpreter had also been injured. Only a few said his injuries were severe. None of them identified the man.The Black Rod was the first to put a name and a face to the injured translator. (

We had come across a story on National Public Radio (URL is in our story) about a man named Mohammed Niaz in the military hospital in Kandahar. His story about an ambush sounded familiar. We did some more digging, and confirmed that he was the translator in the G-wagon with Canadian troops in Panjwayi District on May 24, 2006, when they got ambushed.

We wrote his story. But we felt it deserved more exposure, so we sent our story to Small Dead Animals, which then provided a link to us.

Soon SDA readers joined ours in e-mailing the defence department to insist that Canada had an obligation to Niaz and to his fellow translators should they, too, be injured on duty.

We also sent our story to national columnists Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star and Christie Blatchford of the Globe and Mail. They had both been in Afghanistan and we thought they might remember Niaz.

DiManno picked up on the story and began making calls to defence department officials. She also wrote a column about Niaz.
DiManno: Canada owes maimed Afghan <20060613/dimanno_canada_owes_maimed_afghan>

Over the months the interest in Niaz's fate didn't diminish, and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor himself wrote to one of the Canadians who was pressing the military establishment to tell him that Canada was committed to doing everything it could for the injured Afghan.

And then, days ago, we got this e-mail.

Subject: Afghan interpreter follow up
You two (The Black Rod and SDA - ed) both followed the story of Niaz Mohammed Hussaini, the Afghan interpreter whose legs were taken from him by a Taliban RPG in the spring of this year. I've gathered some additional information on his current situation, and put it up here:

On his blog, Damian Brooks wrote:

Since the fateful day Mr. Hossaini had his legs taken from him by a Taliban RPG, Canadians have been diligently but quietly working to help this man. After his medical treatment and recovery at the Coalition medical facility at KAF, the Canadian mission commanders struggled with how best to come to his aid. A cash payment would have simply made him a target in Kandahar, so instead, they decided to make some changes to both his home and his workplace at Camp Nathan Smith, and bring him back to work full-time as an interpreter and translator at the camp.

This entailed buying him a wheelchair, pouring concrete sidewalks and ramps around the camp, and making sure he can properly access the medical station, the kitchen, the washroom, and his office without trouble.

Some might say we owe Mr. Hussaini more than that, and they're certainly entitled to that opinion. The truth is that the CF has not had to deal with this situation before, and is currently reviewing options and developing standards that could be applied to compensate foreign employees such as Mr. Hussaini who are injured in the service of the CF. In the meantime, the fellow has received medical care and full-time employment, which is a lot more than many Afghans can say. For now, it will have to be enough.We found yet another story about Niaz in an official government publication The Maple Leaf.

It contains Niaz Hussaini's (for that appears to be the true rendering of his name) own account of the ambush where he lost his legs, as well as some nice photos of him receiving his award from Lt. Gen J.C.M. Gauthier.

And Christie Blatchford, who is back in Afghanistan, mentioned Niaz Hussaini in her Saturday column:

"Similarly, inspired by Mohammed Niaz, a PRT interpreter who lost both legs in a May 24 battle and who is back at work at the compound, the cobbler program is about to get started.
A cobbler paid by the PRT will come to Kandahar from Kabul, teach amputees how to make custom dress shoes on equipment bought by the PRT, and the amputees will set up shop at markets at the PRT and perhaps later at the much-bigger air field at Kandahar, with their captive audiences of foreigners looking for bargains."

We're proud to say that we had a small part to play with our fellow bloggers and members of the MSM, in reaching a happier conclusion for Niaz and his family.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers across the globe.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another five ga

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police