Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Canadians in Lebanon

All the international news coverage lately has focussed on the escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon. Here in Canada, one of the big news topics is how soon our government can get those 50 000 Canadians who are in Lebanon out. Many Canadians are frustrated that other (mostly European) countries seem to have started to get their citizens out almost right away, while the ships leased by Canada won't be able to start transporting Canadians to Cyprus until tomorrow - and then only if it's safe. Another problem is that some Canadians are trapped in smaller communities in Lebanon (especially in the south) and will have no way to reach these ships. A couple of things strike me about all this:

1. We are so focussed on getting the expats out, and yet most Lebanese people have no option to leave. Although I suppose it's not feasible for us to get all the Lebanese people out of harm's way, it makes me feel like we consider them and their safety to be less important than that of Canadians'. There's an inequality about this "save your own skin" attitude that makes me feel uncomfortable.

2. 50 000 people is a lot of people and the south end of Lebanon is essentially a war zone. The conflict seems to have escalated very quickly and Canada is so far away. I understand why the Canadians want to get out but I wonder what actions could have been possible to rescue people any faster. How realistic are our expectations?

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Added to the complication is the fact that many (most?) of Canadians who have signed up to be evacuated to Canada are actually permanent residents of Lebanon.