Arar was being honored for his courage by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, a mainstream advocacy organization. The audience gave him a heartfelt standing ovation, but there was fear mixed in with the celebration. Many of the prominent community leaders kept their distance from Arar, responding to him only tentatively. Some speakers were unable even to mention the honored guest by name, as if he had something they could catch. And perhaps they were right: The tenuous "evidence"--later discredited--that landed Arar in a rat-infested cell was guilt by association. And if that could happen to Arar, a successful software engineer and family man, who is safe?It's a very good column; read more here.
In a rare public speech, Arar addressed this fear directly.
Naomi Klein recently attended an event honoring Maher Arar, the Canadian man who became the most famous victim of the US torture "renditions". She observed some interesting things about torture - especially what an effective political tool it is.