Last week, I wrote about Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death by Judge Abbas Mohammed al-Khalifa in Khartoum for the crime of "apostasy". Before she dies, she'll receive a bonus 100 lashes for "adultery". Being a merciful man, His Honor announced he would let the convicted criminal give birth to her child before he hanged her.
Today, in a filthy, disease-ridden Sudanese prison Meriam was delivered of a baby girl, whom she has named Maya.
I have described Meriam as, de facto, an "American-in-waiting". That's to say, the grant of citizenship to the spouse of an American is essentially non-discretionary - notwithstanding that the sclerotic US bureaucracy takes years to process it. And Meriam's husband is a US citizen, resident in my state: Daniel Wani of Manchester, New Hampshire has been an American since 2005. As I've said, all the President has to do is take five minutes out of his busy schedule to call the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and instruct them to make Mrs Wani a US citizen now. And then he can pose with a #BringBackOurGirl hashtag, and it will be legally binding.
But what of this latest member of the unfortunate Wani family? Maya, like her 20-month old brother Martin, is the child of a US citizen, and therefore a US citizen, too. That's to say, they are as American as Barack Obama, who, like Maya and Martin, is the child of one American parent and one African parent. Or - if you want to be bipartisan about it - as American as Ted Cruz.
Yet these two American infants are currently walled up in that Sudanese prison - in dirty, unsanitary and health-endangering conditions. In Mitchel P Roth's Prisons And Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia, it's described as follows:
Omdurman Women's Prison was beset with overcrowding, poor sanitation, disease, and the deaths of many children living with their mothers.
Let us hope that Martin and Maya Wani do not join their ranks. But right now that's where they're living. I doubt even Sudan shackles newborns to the wall, but that's how baby Maya's mother and brother spend their days. Judge Abbas Mohammed al-Khalifa has declared that Meriam's children are Sudanese Muslims and therefore can never be returned to their American father.
So we live in a world where a US citizen's children can be stolen from him by a barbarous basket-case. When will the "Leader of the Free World" speak up for these young innocents who are owed the protection of his somnolent bureaucracy?
~It could have gone worse for Meriam. In Pakistan a few months ago, Farzana Parveen of Faisalabad married Mohammad Iqbal of Jaranwala because she loved him. Most Pakistani marriages are arranged, so her decision did not sit well with her family. They accused Mr Iqbal of kidnapping her. Today Mr and Mrs Iqbal arrived at the High Court in Lahore to testify that this was not so and that Farzana had entered into the marriage voluntarily.
Outside the courthouse, her family were waiting. Nearly twenty of them attacked the couple, and then stoned Farzana Parveen to death.
She was pregnant with their grandchild, nephew, cousin... But that's all the more reason to kill her.
And to do it at the doors of the oldest High Court in the land, established by letters patent of George V, rex et imperator, in 1919 to ensure that English justice would be done even in the Punjab, presumably made it even more piquant.
That's all the more reason for Obama to demand Meriam Ibrahim and her children be handed over to US custody. In Khartoum, as in Lahore, it is the woman's family that wants her dead.
~A quick programming note: Tomorrow morning I'll be joining Toronto's #1 morning man John Oakley on AM 640 live at 8.30am Eastern.