Pat Blythe – Ruthless Ones, Omar and Music……

I have been, how you say…laying low this past week or so. Gearing up for a busy July and August and trying to wrap up couple of projects as well. I did manage to make it out to see a couple of bands but I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my backyard and around the house. As an AirBnB host, I’ve also had a few guests. I now have my “daughter” Colleen staying with me for the next three weeks, a visit I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. …..and I yes, I have another bee in my bonnet.

L – Evgeni Varakin R – Murry Robe

Before I get into what’s buzzing in my brain, a quick mention of a young band I have now seen for the second time. Ruthless Ones. First at the Smiling Buddha (which they seem to play frequently) and last Wednesday at Cherry Cola’s. Direct from their FB page, Ruthless Ones play delinquent rock & roll; a proto-punk sound all their own by experimenting with garage rock tones and west indie nuance and texture.” Together since 2010, the band members include Murry Robe (guitar/vox), Evgeni Varakin (guitar/vox), Curtis Crook (bass/vox) and Nik Robe (drums). With two independent albums under their belt, they are now seeking label representation/management.

Nik Robe

With a folks on the dance floor rockin’ out, Ruthless Ones put on an extremely high energy show. With a rock-a-billy look (Murry Robe) and feel, heavily influenced by ska, hip hop, punk, 50’s rock and everything else you can throw at them, they are a melange of all that has gone before, offering their own blend of what I would classify as new-age punk rock….but it’s really so much more. Find out more about these guys here and check them out.  Download their EP, That Static, for free here 

The Boardwalk, Tonight – Ruthless Ones

That Static -Ruthless Ones


Omar Khadr Interrogation

Canada Abandoned Omar Khadr Twice. He Was Owed An Apology. Within this piece, published by The Huffington Post, the Canadian government announces the LEGAL settlement for Omar Khadr.

An item that’s been storming its way through social media and one which even the Angus Reid people felt compelled to poll. The issue, or focus of emotional battering….Omar Khadr and the unconfirmed $10.5 million awarded by the court. Seems like a lot of money. It’s not and his lawyers will take a huge chunk of it. I’ve commented on this ‘burning’ issue a couple of times on FB and some saner heads have prevailed although they are few and far between. So, what, or where, is the story? Most of it we will never be privy too. Much of it has been blown way out of proportion by addle-brained idiots who react on pure emotion without checking the facts. Knee-jerk reactions, much of which is pure garbage and thoughtless, inane bile that is spewing all over the internet while being exacerbated and fueled by the media and companies like Angus Reid. Click here to read. In reality, the story is really quite heartbreaking. Why? Because it’s happening in places like Africa and the Middle East and I’m sure many other places in the world. Children are turned into mini weapons and war machines. They are dispensable. Some are kidnapped and forced to fight. Some of them grow up on a diet of hate and prejudice and don’t know any different because that’s how they’ve been raised. It’s a form of brainwashing abuse and it happens all over the world, even in our own backyards. Based on his father’s standing in the Taliban and the vitriol that has spewed forth from his mother and sisters mouths, I believe that’s what happened to Omar.

War – Edwin Starr

First and foremost, human beings are emotional creatures. Our primary instinct is to react with an emotion. Unfortunately, there is no reasoning or logic behind emotion. (Think of what’s happening south of the border) It’s also an adrenaline thing. In many ways, emotion is more physical than intellectual. As children in the sandbox we would react with fists or words or we would simply take our toys and go home. As we grew up (at least in my generation and back) we were taught how to control or keep our emotions in check. As adults, our brains are fully formed giving us the added advantage of compassion, empathy and consideration of “other”. The hormones have settled down just enough to allow us to think things through logically and rationally. Apparently, many have not yet reached the “adult stage” of development and are still playing in the sandbox.

Omar Khadr responds to $10.5M settlement and government apology

One thing Chris taught me was to take a step back and look at all the angles, then seek out the root cause or reason. Don’t focus on the obvious and simply react to the onslaught or the aftershock. Now, I don’t profess to be a fly on the wall during Khadr’s life. I (and all of us) can only go by the what the media has cherry picked to share with us and I realize that’s risky, but that’s all any of us have to go on. However, some investigation would be prudent as there is much information to sift through and disseminate. Through all this I have formulated my own opinion based on what I have read and understand about the situation and I have to say, I vehemently disagree with 71% of Canadians. Here’s why…..

  1. Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen. He is NOT Afghan. He is of Palestinian and Egyptian decent and both his parents were Canadian citizens at the time of his birth. As such, he, and anyone else born here as well as those who have earned Canadian citizenship, have rights, freedoms and protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights, particularly when in Canada. Although those rights do not extend to foreign countries, Canada has a duty to get her embassies involved outside our borders to ensure that basic human rights are still respected when one of her citizens is in trouble. We’ve done that for other Canadians (and even Americans). Does anyone remember Iran. Why not Khadr?

Where Have All The Flowers Gone – Peter, Paul and Mary

  1. Khadr was 15-years-old at the time of his capture. A child soldier. Shot in the back….twice. If he had been ten or twelve instead of 15, would that have made a difference?
  2. He wasn’t formally charged for two years. My question is why? Did it look better to charge someone because they looked more “adult like”?
  3. Other than a confession agreed to under duress, just to get the hell out of Dodge (as Khadr has since confirmed), there is no absolute proof or evidence that he lobbed the grenade. None has been provided by either the U.S. or Canadian governments. In fact, according to a Pentagon report printed in the Toronto Star, ” …after the firefight interviewing the soldier who shot Khadr, identified only as OC-1, raises the possibility that someone else was alive in the compound when the grenade that ultimately killed Speer was thrown. “He heard moaning coming from the back of the compound. The dust rose up from the ground and began to clear. He then saw a man facing him lying on his right side,” the report states. “The man had an AK-47 on the ground beside him and the man was moving. OC-1 fired one round striking the man in the head and the movement ceased. Dust was again stirred by this rifle shot. When the dust rose, he saw a second man sitting up facing away from him leaning against the brush. This man, later identified as Khadr, was moving . . . . OC-1 fired two rounds both of which struck Khadr in the back.” This report was later “revised” by the commanding officer who wrote the original report.

*Masters of War – Ed Sheeran

As for Khadr, he simply doesn’t remember. I’m sure, in the heat of battle, there are many things one wouldn’t remember….and certainly not clearly. Events are happening far too quickly and the brain is running in hyper drive trying to process everything. See the full Toronto Star article here

  1. The Canadian government interrogated an under-age child, twice, without parents, guardians or legal representation while fully aware he had been tortured, in full violation of his rights, and the Supreme Court agreed, seven years ago!!

According to a piece in the Globe and Mail “Canada was complicit. The Supreme Court of Canada has made that abundantly – in fact unanimously – clear; most compellingly in its 2010 ruling condemning the willingness of Canadian intelligence officers to interview a teenager who had been subjected to days of sleep deprivation, an agonizing and insidious form of torture.” Read the full article here

Blowin’ In The Wind – Peter, Paul and Mary

  1. Our esteemed Prime Minister does not control the Supreme Court. That’s one of our checks and balances. Justin Trudeau now has to deal with, and clean up, somebody else’s mess. At least he recognizes this. Our government was found guilty. If you’re guilty, you pay up. What the Canadian government did or didn’t do deserves far more than a hand-slap. The government has already spent approximately $5 million fighting the lawsuit. I personally don’t want my tax dollars paying for a losing battle. It could go on for years. Cough it up.

Zombie – The Cranberries

What has all this demonstrated? My government DOES NOT have my back and can and will become complicit in underhanded, illegal and nefarious dealings if it suits them….against me or any other Canadian citizen. The biggest surprise and probably the most serious….my fellow Canadians apparently don’t have my back either.

In an interview with Edmonton Journal senior reporter Sheila Pratt, who has been covering the Omar Khadr story since 2004,  she had this to say, And one of the themes that came out following this legal odyssey was the Canadian court system, right up to the Supreme Court, right up to that final decision, was very supportive of the rule of law and didn’t bow down to American pressure. I’m not saying there was pressure, but they remained true to Canadian standards of justice all the way through. That was a very encouraging thing for everybody because the reason the Khadr case was so important was that if Khadr doesn’t have his rights, none of us do.” Read the full interview here 

The Walrus sums Khadr’s living hell nicely. with our government’s full support.

The nut of all this….the Canadian government made some truly contemptible, immoral and (and I’ll say this again) illegal decisions, not once, but twice. They fucked up. No argument. Now, with a clear head ask yourself this. “What if that was me or somebody dear to me who had their rights and freedoms stomped on, no charges laid yet tortured and locked away for years with no access to any help or legal recourse AND my government either turns a blind eye or is complicit (I love that word) in the entire situation. What would you do? What does that say about our elected leaders? What does that say about us?

Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young

Maybe I’m altruistic, maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m just sick to death of the faceless verbal violence that spews and spreads like molten lava all over the internet. Maybe I’m tired of all the lies and hatred, the “alternative facts”, the fear mongering and the thoughtless and selfish cruelties we inflict on each other.

Maybe I just expect better of my fellow man.

Imagine – John Lennon

*Based on an old folk song, this was originally written and sung by Bob Dylan in 1963. The lyrics still ring true today. Ed Sheeran is relevant for the times and I like his voice.


Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, The Walrus, CBC, 680News, the internet, Edmonton Journal


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Ruthless Ones, Omar and Music……”

  1. John Tait Says:

    Thanks, nice piece.

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