(To fully understand this post, start at the bottom and read up. The debate started when an email from a Winnipegger by the name of"Mike Crawford" [see below] was sent around my workplace - subsequently causing this discussion.)
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 12:48 PM
To: Vanessa; David; Pamela; Sahadev; Jared; Stacy; Jeff; Drew
I think David’s right – not all Lebanese Canadians are complaining. As well, those who are just came though what was probably the most frightening experience of their lives. Maybe they were terrified that we would leave them there – in Lebanon – and their ingratitude is just a side-effect of that fear! Who knows.
However, even if they were complaining, I think David made a good point when he said ‘what if they were British?’ If I had dual citizenship and was visiting Britain when a war broke out and if I had to sit around for days while bombs were going off while I watched the Americans and Europeans hastily pulling out their people while reading in the news that my Prime Minister - Steven Harper - had decided that evacuations of Canadian citizens were totally unnecessary (which he initially did!), I might be slightly pissed off at the Canadian government, too. Would there be nasty emails being sent around about my complaints were I a British-Canadian? Don’t I have the right to complain about my government no matter which other country I also may hold citizenship with?
I think that the climate of our world – politically – is currently such that we feel we can get away with attacking and ranting about (to put it mildly) certain people from certain cultures without any kind of repercussions. Without anyone thinking we’re racist bigots – which Mike most certainly is, whether he honey-coats his prejudices with rationalizations or not. I think that’s sad. I think it’s pathetic that some of us feel the need to write to our MPs about… what exactly? Our annoyances? Our pet peeves? What comes down to our own racial issues with people we think don’t ‘belong’ in Canada because we feel they’re not grateful enough for our charity? What do you think your MP (who for all you know came over as a new immigrant to Canada) should do about this? Should they pass a motion in Parliament to leave all of those ungrateful Lebanese-Canadians there in the Middle East to die because we don’t deem them worthy to be rescued? Should we penalize them for complaining? If it were up to the oh-so-tolerant Mike, we'd simply ship them back to Lebanon!
What exactly makes us so worthy of living in Canada and reaping all of the benefits? Is it because we’re taxpayers? Is it because we were born here? To Mike I would say this – perhaps your fathers and forefathers went through a lot to get to Canada, but what exactly did YOU do to get here? What benefits are you taking advantage of each and every day just because you were privileged enough to happen to be born in a wealthy country? And if you were stuck in Lebanon, frightened out of your wits, watching others be evacuated, and having to sit around with your fingers crossed, I would bet anything that you’d come back absolutely furious and write a letter to your MP of quite a different tone. And you would feel extremely entitled to do so – and so you would be.
Overall, my opinion is this: anyone who was evacuated – be they from whatever country – should feel exceedingly lucky to be alive and exceedingly fortunate to have the protection of a wealthy country’s citizenship. Instead of bitching about who got evacuated first, we should be praying (or hoping or writing letters – whatever) for all of those Lebanese people who are simply LEBANESE and NOTHING MORE. They are stuck in a country under attack with no Prime Minister flying over to rescue them from their plight.
And meanwhile we are having to listen to the likes of Mike.
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Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:34 AM
Well, here’s my 2 cents……
When my father came to Canada, he was only a (still growing) boy of 17, and was forced to work construction up North. He did grueling work,
and was underfed, but was so grateful for an opportunity in a new country that he put up with the hardships, and discrimination (yes, at the time,
people thought Italians were “dirty immigrants”). We won’t even talk about the permanent damage his back suffered due to the strenuous work…
What really fries my butt about the current situation in the Middle East is the apparent ingratitude at the efforts. Maybe we could be doing more, but…
IF YOU GOT TO A WAR ZONE, EXPECT A BLOODY WAR TO BREAK OUT. It’s not the fault of the Prime Minister or Canadians that Lebanon is
finding itself in a war / imminent war situation. It is pretty much the MOST dangerous place on the planet. If you choose to go there, then I guess
you roll the dice with your personal safety!!!
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From: Haynes, David
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 11:17 AM
Typical “white” response. What, are you afraid Mikey-boy that these Lebanese are some terrorists in disguise? Yeah yeah yeah, “they all” look alike don’t they? Why don’t you get off your tractor in Alonsa, travel the world, eat something more savory than a boiled potato, and get some culture. While you’re at it, get your head out of your ass and realize that despite what the MEDIA says, not all of the Lebanese Canadians were dismayed at the Canadian response; a majority were very grateful. Also realize that members of our own government were sickened by the slow response of the government when the Swedes, French, and Germans were whisking their nationals out of the war torn country in a way that epitomized efficiency. Sweet deal Canadian government; ask the Americans to chopper lift Canadians out of Lebanon.
What’s appalling, is the fact that no one makes a fuss about Canadians who hold dual citizenship with the US or England. NOOOOO!! People who do that are so cultured and they NEVER complain about anything now do they? The people who live in Lebanon and have dual citizenship enjoy the benefits of BOTH countries. I guess the average person whose never left their farm wouldn’t see it that way. Oh yeah, and since they are from a country where English isn’t the native language and they have an accent, I guess that means automatically that they have no grasp of “our” language and are in dire need of ESL. Not every person from a foreign country refuses to assimilate and/or speak English.
“Reverse discrimination” is a worthless name as is “white trash”. Being white, doesn’t exclude you from being discriminated against. ‘Reverse’ discrimination is like saying “what? How dare they hate us for our colour” and white trash is like saying it’s a “special kind” of garbage because as a rule, ‘we whites aren’t garbage…that’s “the others”’. You may indeed be a bigot, Mike, you may just be another educated white male who smiles and works with “a few of them” but thinks that they are all inferior. Whatever you are, you are staining things for people, white people, who believe in equality across the board. I’m sure in the olive faces that were shown on CBC (which just happens to be the bastion of fair reporting) there were a few tanned white faces; vacationing faces who were just as disgruntled as “the other” Canadians who happened to catch your ire.
Yeah, I said it, issues with it. . bring it on I say. I welcome debate in any way, shape or form.
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Email from Mike Crawford (Please note: I have no idea who this Mike actually is - this was forwarded to me by someone at work who knows him)
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 9:45 AM
I just had to write this to get it off my chest. You may or may not agree with my sentiments however they are my opinions.
I was watching CBC news coverage this morning of the events concerning the returns of Lebanese-canadians. You'll note I did not capitalize the word Canadians when referring to these people as it was evident by their comments that they consider themselves to be Lebanese first and Canadians second. The more I watched the madder I got and I ended up turning off the television.
A host of the returnees to Canada were complaining about the Canadian Governments and it's slow response. Some of the returnees commented that Canada should be ashamed of itself for it's slow response in getting them out. One person complained about taking 11 hours to get to Cyrpress and also complained about the sandwiches that they were given. I was stunned at the ingratitude of the people being interviewed.
Considering the logistics involved in getting thousands of people out of Lebanon I think the Canadian Government and other governments did well. I got to thinking about the situation and came to the conclusion that Canada now seems to be a land of opportunists, not opportunity. The only two people in my family who got a free trip to Europe were my dad and my uncle Charlie who were shipped overseas to serve in World War 11.
No-one asked most of these people to go to Lebanon so a free trip back with minor inconveniences is a good deal. Better than being dead I suppose.
Here is the deal. I will arrange to pay for a trip back to war torn Lebanon for any Lebanese- Canadian ingrate who agrees to the following. If you feel ashamed of Canada and it's response you should renounce your Canadian Citizenship, pay back the government of Canada for the free services you received when you came here such as medical, dental, education, job start programs, housing, ESL classes, business venture
grants etc. and for those going back to live in Lebanon give up your CPP benefits ( a great many Canadians are ignorant about the programs your tax dollar is paying for). As I stated earlier Canada seems to be the
land of opportunists. I wonder what the percentage would be of these ingrates serving in our Armed Forces?
Now, you might view me as a radical and a bigot. That is your opinion. The above is mine. I am one of many CANADIANS who are just fed up with the ingratitude of some and the milking of our government by
others. It's about time that people stood up and said enough is enough. Political correctness is a way to stifle people from speaking how they feel and in some cases speaking what is the truth. Affirmative action is nothing
more than reverse discrimination. As I stated earlier I am fed up with the hyphenation of Canadian citizenship. You are either a Canadian or you are not one.
I intend on sending this letter to my M.P. and anyone else I can think of. If you agree with me please pass this on, if not, then press delete.
A Canadian from Winnipeg Mb.