Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shameless Family Promotion

The first CBC Newscast I watched on my return from Europe this week was the usual, The National on Thursday night - it seemed almost half the hour-long show was devoted to Lebanese war evacuees bitching that they had not been on a cruise provided at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, and that there were no stewardesses! I am exaggerating a bit, but a lot of time was given to complaints that seemed to me, in the circumstances, to be silly - the trip was uncomfortable, and it reflected the fact that it had been hastily put together by what was surely an Embassy staff that had not been designed to handle anything of the magnitude involved (nor should it have been designed for this). It was clear why the reporters involved took the idiotic stance they took, and it was painful. It would be nice if some of them could take some time to do other than just emote in the moment, but it seems that is the current definition of journalism at the CBC.

I had spent previous days watching Austrian news, and Austrians were being evacuated as well. This went bumpily as well, but the news shows spent maybe a minute or two on the subject. Austrians remember wars still. Getting home at all is a triumph.

Another issue of course is that there are pretty few Austrians in Lebanon, but enough that on the day of my flight home, there were still Austrian flights trying to leave, one of which, to the delight of the most populist newspaper in the country, had been denied by Turkey the right to use their air space to bring evacuees home.

The largest issue is that it seems Canada has more 'visitors' to Lebanon who need evacuation than any other country in the world! I have seen estimates as high as 50,000 - the Toronto Sun this morning said under 10,000 of them need to leave. It would be insanity to staff an embassy to service these numbers. And I continue to wonder what they mean. My guess is - 48,000 Lebanese permanent residents with Canadian passports, and 2,000 others. There is a lot of welcome discussion going on in Canada about what this means.

In any case, to get to the subject - my sister has a column in the Star today and I agree with most of what she has to say.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Allan said...

I don't know about the Turkish refusal for airspace
I do know that there was a plan
to send ships from Famagusta in Northern Cyprus
to pick up evacuees
but the Greek government in the south refused
to let them cross to the international airport
so the ships were diverted to Mersin, Turkey
from whence, via Istanbul, they returned home.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Allan said...

in particular, the Canadian Government signed a contract
with shipping companies in Northern Cyprus
to evacuate Canadians via ships from Northern Cyprus
(which had to unload them at Mersin,
for the reason I stated above)
I believe 5 ships already have sailed.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

The Turkish issue, if I recall it correctly from the Kronen Zeitung, had to do with Cyprus being the target destination for the Austrian flights (and Turkey, of course, still having unresolved claims on parts of Cyprus). In any case, Austria, with surely much smaller demands than Canada, seemed to have its evacuation more or less in order.


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