Friday, July 21, 2006

I'll take You Home again, Kathle......,er , Zagoub!

"Across the oceans wet and wild, to where your heart has ever been, since first you were my blushing bride...."

The words of the old Irish tear-jerker came to mind as I watched the Lebanese Canadian refugees get off the boat in Turkey. They have probably been through an experience we would not want to dream about, but to be frank, they were a darn good-looking bunch of refugees!

You say that word and you conjure up images of some Kosovan farm cart, piled high with belongings and family members, being pulled down a dirt road by a tractor. Probably right into that mistaken coalition airstrike that killed a bridge-full of them.

Not like the Darfur refugees, walking miles for water and covered in flies. No, these guys looked like they'd had a bad night in some hotel lobby. And weren't some of them griping about it? If the worst thing that ever happens to them is a dirty toilet they should be very grateful. What no sandwiches? These refugees left home without food or water (most of them) but they had their cell phone and could call Canada to grouse. They probably had what loose wealth was lying around, as well, but ya can't eat the jewels.

Canada jumped into action, four tour boats rented and a shuttle service started. The PM not to be outdone - dumped his entourage in Paris and flew to Cyprus in 'Govermint 1' to rescue the first group to arrive. Given the fact that they had undergone an ordeal on the way, in a pig-boat, I'll bet he was wishing he'd just sent the jet! But then Steve's always been a good listener, and I'm sure, if there were any Jihadis on board, by the time they get to Ottawa, they'd think he's on their side. Never pass up a potential vote.

I'll bet the drinks were free on the jet home - bar nuts too!

The other thing I found surprising was the large number of Canadians living in Lebanon - 50 000. Now you can't tell me that's the annual family holiday home crowd.
They looked fairly affluent, so they're probably not depending on any Canadian social service cheques to get by. Lebanon is a fairly pricey place to live. It's not the health plan. I saw one guy, on the news, who had just had heart surgery, with his kids brushing the flies away from the deveining incisions on his legs. I hope he's OK after a recuperation like that, hope he's on Govermint 1. I imagine a lot were refugees to Canada during the 70's & 80's from the civil war, but a lot of them looked younger than that.

I think that if they can afford it, they should pay a symbolic fee, like $1000 per family - $500 per individual. If embassies help you with emergency funds, or a ticket home, you have to repay it. Why not now? I know they hadn't planned on being in a war zone. Just like most people who need help hadn't planned on needing it. Neither had the rest of us, but we organized help for them. I think payback is important here. Lebanon will be back, and so, thanks to Canada, will the refugees.

"I'll take you home again Zargoub! Across the oceans wet and.....", blubber! weep!

No comments: