Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Disturbing notes about Canadians in Lebanon.

Another article about the Canadian evacuation in Lebanon. Two points catch my attention:
But it was clear that the number of Canadians desperate to escape through Beirut was dwindling. Fewer than 1,200 people boarded Canadian ships leaving Lebanon yesterday, down substantially from the 2,415 who left Sunday. "We are putting out a call to all remaining Canadians who wish to leave," one senior government official told a briefing yesterday. They should "report to Beirut or Tyre so they can be put on boats." Those leaving through Beirut were asked to arrive by 9 a.m. today.
In essence, those Canadians who are trapped under bombing should try to travel across non-existent roads in order to reach Beirut or Tyre. If not, the Canadian government will wash its hands of them. Marvellous. I guess if they aren't willing to put their lives at even more risk, then they're not good enough for Canada?
Conservative MP Garth Turner said last week that he believed people travelling to Lebanon as tourists should get precedence on the boats over Canadians who now live in that country. He also questioned whether the government was responsible for the costs of evacuating the people who no longer make their homes in Canada. Those comments have prompted hundreds of calls and e-mails to his office. "I would say we are probably nine out of 10 supportive if not more," he said yesterday.
This is fucking scary. In essence, the man has declared -- entirely contrary to the Constitution and simple basic morality -- that there are two classes of citizens in Canada. Those who live in the country get to go first for everything, and those who don't have to be second. If they get to go at all. And, while I don't believe the 9/10 number (unless there's some heavy self-selection bias going on), I find it hard not to believe that at least a significant minority support his bullshit. That's the scary part.

If I were living in England, and England were under attack such that the British government could not provide aid, and I appealed to Canada -- would there be this reaction? I wonder, in other words, how much is due to the fact that this involves brown Muslim people, rather than WASPy dual citizens like me.

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