The Reaction After the Ceasefire

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Written by Adam A. Donaldson

A little more than 24 hours after it went into effect, the shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah seems to be holding. The month long conflict ended after the United Nations, led by the US and France, (finally) brokered an agreement between all sides.

A few weeks ago I asked Cannon readers to end in their thoughts and although we only got a few respondents, I think it important to share what they had to say.

With regards to the current situation in the Middle East, there are two main issues that stand out in my mind.

To begin with, I have found myself very disappointed by the large amount of griping and whining shown towards our efforts as a nation to get people out of Lebanon. Our government put a tremendous amount of effort/money into moving citizens out of the country, which was very difficult because (a) we had so many people over there and (b) we really have no military to speak of. I sympathize with the people who were in Lebanon, but to hear some of them complaining about ‘dirty washrooms’ on the ships we sent, a lack of ‘comfortable pillows’ on Stephen Harper’s plane, and other rather insignificant details, makes me very disappointed as a Canadian.

Similarly, when I read press gallery pundits attacking the government effort and blindly attributing it to Harper’s ‘micromanagement’ (re: Globe and Mail), I feel equally disappointed. These claims are incredibly insulting to the people working round the clock to get people out, most of whom are not Conservative lackeys, but rather everyday government employees with no partisan affiliation who have been doing their best (albeit making some mistakes) to deal with a chaotic situation. The press, who have publicly been battling Harper for months, clearly took advantage of this situation to try to get even with him. I think most Canadians saw through that strategy, which is why despite their gratuitous spin doctoring, most Canadians appear to be satisfied with our national rescue efforts, based on poll results.

Having said all that, I do believe that Harper is open to criticism for the comments he made at the beginning of the conflict, particularly when he called the Israeli response ‘measured’. In my opinion, the best side to take when discussing the Middle East is no side, primarily because the situation is too complicated to merit taking one side over the other. While Israel’s response is certainly a severe one, it’s also one, which has been made under very difficult circumstances. Hezbollah has made it pretty clear in the past that they don’t believe Israel has a right to even exist, as has Hamas. Such claims certainly don’t bode well for diplomacy, and instead suggest – at least to me – that the current troubles are only a small part of a much larger vicious circle. We as a global society stand to gain nothing by asking questions like who is to blame, as in reality those questions only make things worse. Harper shouldn’t take sides, but then again, neither should those groups who use their institutional power to attack the Israeli ‘terrorist state’ (CUPE stands out in this regard).

  • Jesse Scott

I consider myself a fairly well educated, rather opinionated, average citizen. I occasionally pick up the newspaper and flip though to glance at the events, which surround the world, but rarely stop to read a full article as I find many of the stories very dry and drawn on.

The war? I place a question mark at the end of this because I feel very strongly that the average population has globally overlooked this. To me it's 'just another war', a measure of my ignorance on the situation to be blunt. From my limited knowledge of the situations oversees over the last few years I view all of it as one, continuous, pointless, causality filled abomination that will probably never end.

I was very interested over a year ago when the fighting begun, I would lock myself at my desk reading and analyzing each piece as it came out, eagerly awaiting news to feed my curiosity. But it got lost in the shuffle, and so I think this war has to.

This was is an important one, and no doubt will alter the future for whoever becomes victorious when it concludes (or will it conclude?). But where are my facts, facts that are not altered by the religious beliefs of parties involved, facts that show me what's going on in laymen terms.

So I leave you the reader with this, give me good, unbiased, unreligious, unaltered information and I would be more than happy to give you an opinion... but your probably not going to like it... because I don't give a fuck about oil, and I would much rather see our troops at home patrolling the streets of Toronto then wandering around overseas and driving over the occasional landmine.

  • Colton Downs

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